I've always been a hopeless romantic. Though I've never been crazy about the phrasing, there's no better name for my affliction. For better or worse, I have always believed in the unrelenting power of love. And it's all John Cusack's fault.
Anyone who came of age in the late '80s or early '90s knows exactly what I'm talking about. Long before I had even properly fallen in love, I was already an expert in the field thanks to movies like "Say Anything..." and "Better Off Dead."
As a kid, my parents were terrified that pro wrestling would turn me into a violent degenerate, or that Marilyn Manson might convince me to practice the dark arts. John Cusack permanently warping my expectations of romance was absent from their list of concerns. And that was fine by me. I had no interest in body slamming the neighbors or sacrificing goats to Beelzebub; I wanted to hold a boom box over my head while blaring an anthem of love like Lloyd Dobbler.
That was a very long time ago. Several failed relationships later, one thing has become abundantly clear: in the real world, love is nothing like in the movies. It's difficult and painful. There's never a clear-cut hero and villain. The guy doesn't always get the girl. Basically, in the real world, a hopeless romantic doesn't stand a chance.
Or so I thought.
A few years ago, I met a girl. She had just started working at the same bookstore as me, and was easily the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. I had no reason at all to think this woman would even give me the time of day, but whatever part of me that had been beaten down by the real world made a miraculous recovery. I asked her out for coffee, which was a stupid move seeing as we worked 10 feet from a café. A year later, we were living together.
In that time, we have seen the absolute best and worst of each other. We have laughed and cried together. Argued and celebrated. Just the sight of her is enough to brighten the darkest day. And even after all this time, the thought of spending a single night apart depresses me. She isn't just a girlfriend, she is my best friend.
The point of this, for everyone who has endured my sappy sentiment this long, is that there is a reason so much of our pop culture is focused on love. Love deserves to be shared. Love is worth immortalizing, worth preserving for as long as you can. Forever, if possible. And that's what I intend to do.
Jackie, will you marry me?
Brian Lynch, of Hammond, is an undergraduate student at Purdue University Calumet. The opinion is the writer's.