March 5, 2020


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The closest relationship that I have on this campus is with another girl. Let’s call her Cosmos. Although I can’t describe her in her entirety, her beauty is unimaginable. When God was designing her, He must have been in an especially giving mood, compelling Him to give His World a taste of perfection.

You look at her, and you think … well that must be it. She’s pretty, and that’s her gift … good for her! But then she opens her mouth. She started speaking to me.

Cosmos and I got intensely close to each other within the past semester. After months of studying together, going out together and working on projects with each other — one night she said, “Helpless Lover Girl, I love you.”

I replied immediately without thinking. “I love you too, Cosmos.”

But that night I went home. And I thought about what had just occurred. And what the definition of love means. As defined by Merriam Webster, love is a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. I thought back on our memories together, and I realized that she means a lot to me.

I realized that I love her.

A coworker, we are in constant contact, working in tandem on projects and coordinating events. We share visions for our projects, we band together in the eleventh hour attempting to finalize every detail, we keep each other calm, cool and collected in the midst of our plans going awry and we walk away from events as Super Women, getting high off of the adrenaline of implementing perfection without anybody seeing us sweat.

A therapist, she has the ability to singularly stand as my sturdy support system. We listen to each other. We come to each other with heavy hearts and leave with lightened souls, we talk each other down from causing fatalities to those who have wronged us, we have wine and movie nights to ease stress and tension brought on by our hectic schedules.

A friend, she shows me how much fun you can have in one night. We go to parties and concerts together, voluntarily handing our bodies over to the music that sways us with its powerful bassline, we get high with each other and cuddle in her tight twin XL, we share our most treasured playlists, we whisper our most taboo sexual desires. She makes me feel loved.

Cosmos was the reason that last semester was the best semester of my time at Cornell University. When I think about the inevitable point in time at which I will no longer have the privilege of being in close proximity to her on a routine basis … I cry.

In less than a year, she taught me love. She taught me what love looks like. We were never intimate with each other, but we didn’t have to be. Because of her, I know what I’m looking for. Love doesn’t come and go. Love is the most stable thing in the world. If it’s real, it will last through time, space and distance.

She has single-handedly exemplified the true definition of a word that I had previously failed to ponder. She was the first person outside of my family to admit her love for me so freely, so persistently. She was the first to make me want to know the definition so that when I tell her I love her back, I can mean it.

I think of Cosmos and I wonder … are men and sex really that necessary? Surely, this long-term mutual love that we have for each other exceeds any temporary physical pleasure that I might receive from my latest Tinder match. And even if we were to set sex aside … a man has yet to love me as she has. Many men that I have come in contact with somehow have this notion that admitting love for another is weak. I don’t know who taught them that, but it’s wrong. Showing love is one of the strongest things a human being can do. Telling someone that you love them in earnest is a sacred action that forces you to be voluntarily vulnerable. I love Cosmos. I troll her mercilessly, and I make her think that she’s offbeat. But whenever I tell her I love her, I’m forced to step out from behind all the dumb jokes I’ve made. And without actually saying it, I convey to her that my jokes are the specific type of quips that you only make to the ones that are closest to you. Only the ones you love dearly.

So, all this to say that several weeks ago, when I spent my twentieth Valentine’s Day in a row without a significant other … for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel lonely and I didn’t feel unloved. I have my family. I have my close, intimate circle of friends. And I have Cosmos. The beautiful memories that we share are long-lasting. They stand as a solid fence that defends me against feelings of isolation and guarantees my awareness of the authenticity of our love.

Helpless Lover Girl is a student at Cornell University. Dopamine Overdose runs monthly this semester. Sex on Thursday appears every other Thursday.