There are 21 definitions for “romance” on dictionary.com. None of them do the word justice. To me, romance is a memory you have of being with someone that stays with you forever. Within this memory, you have sensory recollection: smells, sounds (crickets at night, waves, wind through leaves, voice), and visions (maybe the way the lights in the surrounding city swirled around their face when you looked at them). In this sense, you can have romantic memories with friends/family as well as lovers, or even moments you remember when you were alone.
You can feel the romantic feeling when you look at an old item in a museum and you are taken back to its time, and you hear the sounds and see the sights around that item in its element. Whenever I am falling for a girl, I long to learn about her life, find out where she was in relation to where I was in the past—and how our paths finally crossed.
I remember when I said goodbye to my ninth grade crush who gave me the perfume vial (see previous post): I remember the floorboards in her room and the gentle hiss of the oil heater, the creak of the floor and, of course, the perfume in the vial brings up her memory every time.
Achieving a romantic memory is not easy. Lots of factors need to go into it. First of all, you need to be in the right mental state. You need to be ready to let a person in completely, let your guard down and submit to falling for them. People are not always in this state: most of the time we are guarded, lost, or bitter.
Romance can happen anywhere, though certain places like the beach, far away places, starry skies, the mountains, are considered “romantic” because there’s a better chance you will remember everything about them. But there’s just as good a chance of you remembering getting caught in the rain with your significant other, running for shelter and sharing a kiss with your clothes soaked to the bone—to the symphony and raindrops and thunder. “Romance” can be a big production, or a little moment (like a familiar glance across the room). But it’s a memory that has specific sensory pieces built in—and will bring chills or maybe even tears when you bring the memory back to the surface.
So, that’s my definition of romance. The relic (see previous post) is a landmark or symbol that can tap straight to the memory. It can be a little insignificant item, a place, or even a song. A relationship, by my definition of romance, can not be romantic 100% of the time—but it can be marked with romantic times or events.
What is your definition of romance? Do you have relics that you’ve held on to remind you of the romantic moments in your life? What are some of the most romantic moments you’ve shared with a significant other? And, do you find that life’s practical demands tend to put restraints on romance?