On Sex and Love

She wanted to have sex. I could see that she felt it down to her fingertips. She was exploding with sex. It would have shaken the train right off the rails, half the women in Africa would have refrained from pounding their manioc, clocks would have stopped from Newfoundland to Azerbaijan, Einstein's General Theory would have been confirmed, and the Bank of England would have put donuts in the lobby.
    "No," I said. "The sex that I see dancing through every atom of your body has been unleashed by a drug, a crystal, a substance."
    "So?" she asked, aching for every part of me to run through every part of her. I, too, wanted to create a magnetic earthquake on the plains of Kansas that would make the Bank of England put donuts in the lobby, to stop clocks, to be a god, if only for a moment. But there is only one God, and for all other illusions and presumptions the price is steep.

I was graduated from the finest school, which is that of the love between parent and child. Though the world is constructed to serve glory, success, and strength, one loves one's parents and one's children despite their failings and weaknesses - sometimes even more on account of them. In this school you learn the measure not of power, but of love; not of victory, but of grace; not of triumph, but of forgiveness. You learn as well, and sometimes, as I did, you learn early, that love can overcome death, and that what is required of you in this is memory and devotion. Memory and devotion. To keep your love alive you must be willing to be obstinate, and irrational, and true, to fashion your entire life as a construct, a metaphor, a fiction, a device for the exercise of faith. Without this, you will live like a beast and have nothing but an aching heart. With it, your heart, though broken, will be full, and you will stay in the fight unto the very last.

Mark Helprin