A year or two ago I was stuck out in my parents' house one evening, with nothing to entertain myself but a DVD. It was Twilight, the tweener saga of vampire love. I am a great fan of vampires, but the early teenage angst was too much.
Since then I have stumbled on a bit of the sequel and am not proud to say that I endured the angst for the sake of watching a few minutes of Taylor Lautner.
And last night I caught a half hour or so of the original flick. Edward (the vamp) tells Bella (his depressive human love). "I don't have the strength to stay away from you any more." Couldn't take it.
Perhaps because it reminded me of what seems a peculiarly human trait: overwhelming desire for one person. Not the general desire for beautiful flesh, but that combination of obsession, compulsion, hyper-attachment, lust and idealization that we call falling in love. I know that there are other species that mate for life, several kinds of birds, a mammal or two. But there's something unique about our kind of desire, that capacity for the whole world to become embodied in one body. I remember that. Magical. And frightening.