We’ve established I’m useless in matters of l’amour, so – apart from the steady decline brought to us by Father Time,Gravity and doughnuts – I’ve pretty much looked the same for the last two decades.

But I have two friends who, after suffering Great Hurt, managed to crawl out of the gut of grief and found Great Love. Again. And I cannot help but marvel at their physical transformations.

It’s not a new idea. Women become beautiful when they fall in love. Really smart people say it’s because when you’re romantically engaged you want to take better care of yourself. You want to present your best self so the mornings become a little earlier and the make-up become a little better and the waist become a little smaller…

Women in love become more beautiful because they put in more effort, right?

I think that’s an intellectual and uber boring way of looking at it.

I choose to think that every woman has life inside her. An unexposed little Middle Earth that trots by its existence until, one day and quite unexpectedly, it is lured into adventure. Only then does this life climb to the surface and the holder becomes exquisite. New life has resuscitated the old.

And this hidden paradise does not climb out to adventure for just anyone. It waits patiently and critically until it hears just the right whisperings. And sometimes those whisperings are false and the hidden life crawls back down so far that it almost disappears. But it’s there and with time it becomes courageous again.

But sometimes it meets the outside and it was all meant to be. Even if for just a while. And it’s nice. And we blossom into brightly colored flowers.

I choose to believe this because it’s easier to think that the burning under our skins and minds and hearts is attributable to something promising. That it’s something other than fear and hope and melancholly.

No, smart people, I choose Middle Earth.

And now…a chococino!

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