They say love is like a polar bear. If you want to take it in your arms and hug it, first you must be sure that it is properly drugged. Or perhaps love is like a tiger. If it escapes from the zoo and starts charging at you, you must shoot it with a tranquilizer dart. Whether it is a polar bear or a tiger, though, one thing is true: you must make love drop to the ground, preferably with some kind of drug, or it will maul you to death and eat you.
I was lonely, vulnerable. I had just come off a relationship that had seemed so promising, but now she was far away, in Siberia. It is true that I had sent her there, but the fact remained: I was alone.
Did I mention that love is like Siberia? I should have, because love can be quite cold sometimes. And it also can seem very far away, which Siberia is. (Unless you are in Siberia yourself.)
So there I was, lonely and vulnerable, the tranquilized polar bear of my heart lying in an unconscious white furry heap at my feet.
And that’s when I saw her. On TV.
I had never seen such a beautiful face, such a lithe and lissome frame. I had never seen such a delicate and precious creature as this, and I have hang-glided with endangered cranes.
I summoned my houseboy, Dmitri, who joined me in front of the TV. We watched in silent wonder for a minute or so, and then I asked him, “What is she doing?”
“I believe in America that is called ‘twerking.’ ”
“I must have her.”
Days passed. With Dmitri’s aid I sought her out. We tried Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. I sent her a Vine video of me kickboxing a tranquilized shark. No response.
I went to St. Petersburg for the G20. All around me, people were speaking of Syria, but all I could think about was my goddess with the foot-long tongue.
Love is like a flock of endangered cranes. It will take you soaring into the clouds, but if you are not careful it will send you hang-gliding into the side of a mountain, your brains falling to the earth in tiny gray jelly bits.
I excused myself from the G20, saying that I was trying to solve the crisis in Syria. In actuality, I was calling Dmitri to see if she had Vined me back.
“Have you heard anything from her?” I asked.
“No, but I have some … discouraging news. From TMZ.”
“TMZ? What is TMZ?”
“It is like KGB. They seem to have information on everyone.”
“It seems that she has a boyfriend. Someone named Liam.”
I put down the phone and looked out the window, at the gray skies of St. Petersburg. My heart suddenly felt like frozen tundra, and my love, a drugged polar bear, was about to fall to that tundra with the bear-like thud that bears make when they fall down suddenly. It was as if all the endangered cranes had suddenly tumbled from the sky, shot down by the antiballistic missiles of cruel fate. Love was a lot of things, it seemed to me, and all of them were pretty bad.
But then it occurred to me: a love such as the one I had for the one who twerked so majestically might come around only once in a lifetime. Who was I to give up on such a love? Who was this Liam to stand in my way?
I picked up the phone again and spoke to Dmitri.
“I want Liam shot with a tranquilizer dart.”
I put down the phone. Love is a lot of things, I have learned—bears, tigers, cranes—but why try to define it? When all is said and done, love means shooting at something and making it fall down. That, I have learned, is the most modern love of all.