The 17th of February 1997 – Cape Cod, Massachusetts

(found on the beach where it was listening to the waves)

Roxanne –

Roxanne, please. Roxanne, just relax for a moment. It’s a more complicated issue than you’re letting it be. It isn’t just love. It isn’t just saying a word, Roxanne, and letting everything lay around it. There’s more to it than that.

In my estimation, there are four levels of love, at least when it comes to romance. There may be more than that – and there are other species of love than the romantic type, of course – but these are the ones that I’ve discovered.

There’s the first, at the bottom, but still incredibly valuable. It is – only, simply and magnificently – love.

It’s that beautiful opening of the heart between two individuals. The realization that two lowly beings can come together and, through an incomprehensible experience of emotion, become a greater whole than just the mere sum of their parts.

There’s the second, greater and more intense in its feeling. It is Love.

It is all that love is, but more important, maybe even more desperate. While love exults, Love heals. It cools and satiates the mind and the heart. It unlocks the intuition and instills an indescribable sense of understanding in the mind.

There’s the third, a volcanic eruption of expression. It is LOVE.

LOVE is the same as Love and very much similar to love, except that it demands a lot more noise. Whispered expressions into ticklish ears is sufficient, but – more often than not – LOVE is shouted about from rooftops and mountainsides. It is screamed out through poems being recited by once-lonely souls standing on chairs and tables. The exhortations of LOVE shake roofs and rafters. They scare birds out of trees and snow down from the mountains. This experience, the experience of LOVE, leaves many more than just one or two people trembling from exhaustion, glee and fright.

Then there is the fourth. I am not yet sure if it has a name.

It is a feeling found only in fleeting moments, times of peace and clarity when the mind calms and the heart relaxes almost to the point where it stops beating. Every breath, every exhale becomes a release of tension and anxiety, the kind that’s held in the gut for longer than we realize, for long enough that it becomes a part of us.

If you pressed me, Roxanne, to name this feeling, I would at first refuse. But then I would tell you that this fourth level of love can be understood as the desire to accompany that special someone to the beach and sit on the shore and watch the sun set below the water. That’s this feeling. It’s me, there next to you, and with only the waves talking.

That’s how I’d describe it.

So I’m dreaming of the beach,

Harold

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