On Love: The One Certainty


“I’m uncertain about many things in this life, but I am absolutely sure about one thing: I love you.”

We’re sitting aboard a “first class” train heading across the most interesting scenery I have ever seen between two sketchy Bolivian towns: Uroro and Uyuni. We had spent the past 2 days in La Paz (the highest capital in the world) doing nothing more than trying to recover from our respective illnesses. (We unfortunately missed the midget wrestling, the indigenous women fighting, and the San Pedro prison tour which includes trying the purest cocaine in the world).

Marina sits window-side snapping photos of hundreds of pink flamingoes in the shallow, calm water surrounding the train tracks on which we ride. To either side of us, dry mountains in the distance.


The scenery is stunning.

The rather bold goal of this trip was for us to sort out what to do with our lives moving forward.

The questions needing answers revolved mostly around career, work-life balance, etc.

While clarity on these matters is far from being reached, the past 1.5 months on the road have confirmed what I’ve known since that first day at Queen’s university in September of 2004; I love this girl.

(As I’m secretly trying to write this in my notepad, Marina is pretending to be asleep with her sunglasses on, trying to get a glimpse of what I am writing. She’s curious, that one.)

She’s going to hate my putting this pic online.

Love is one of those issues I’ve historically have had difficulty with.

How does one define love?

It can’t be seen, heard, or quantified – it is not tangible.

That’s a difficult concept to grasp for a quantitative and analytical mind.

This is the same struggle I have with the concept of faith.

What I have come to realize over the past year or so is that for me, personally, love is captured by moments.

These are rarely the sappy romantic moments perpetuated by Hollywood; a bed of roses, a box of chocolates, and a John Mayer love ballad are (almost) never present.

We could be eating sushi while watching some silly film, or we could be riding a derelict Bolivian train in the desert (like at this particular moment) and for a period of time I become overwhelmed with emotion.

Just then, Marina usually catches me staring at her.

“What are you doing?” she’ll ask.

“Oh, nothing. Just realizing how much I love you.”

“But why? I’m just eating dinner and watching tv.” (Marina always seeks for my reasoning, and during these times my reasoning skills are severely hampered.)

“I don’t know, I just do.”

“OK, then. I love you too”, she’ll readily reply and hesitantly return to her original activity (like pretending to sleep with her sunglasses on).

In that moment, I have no doubts about one important aspect of my future; it will be shared with this woman.


Oh, wow! “Mamma Mia” is just starting to play on the train tv. It looks as though I will have to endure the torture of Meryl Streep attempting to sing for the 2nd time in my life. Love is overcome by its antithesis – an emotion directed at everyone responsible for bringing this horrific film to reality.


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