Everyone knows that the best part of any great love story is the beginning. The middle is like driving across the United States—flat, predictable, and offering little more than fast-food culture and rest stop romance. In what other context do men and women live under the same roof and go weeks without sex? The end of a love story is either a catastrophic tragedy or an anticlimactic whimper. And it’s the end, so unless it’s Jerry Springer–worthy, who even cares? But the bliss of ignorance that comes in the beginning is a drug we all wish we could cook, shoot, and ride till the wheels come off.
When people ask about relationships, they always say, “How did you guys meet?” Not, “OMG, tell me all about your third year!” And when a relationship is in trouble, the desperate couple is always trying to recapture the magic of when they first met. The real tragedy is that, without time travel or amnesia, it’s impossible to ever get back there. Which is why, to most people, marriage is about as magical as watching David Copperfield make Claudia Schiffer disappear.
The beginning of the love story between Alice and me was a bit more complicated than most. When we first met three years ago, we were mortal enemies, predators lurking in the woodwork of a prestigious Manhattan law firm. I had been sent there as an “intern” to exterminate one of the partners. And Alice, well let’s just say she’d been sent there to exterminate me. Hilarity ensued! Despite our
impossible circumstances, and the fact that we were interacting with each other using cover identities, we still managed to fall in love in our own twisted way. Predictably, the whole thing ended badly, mainly due to the fact that Alice had been paid to have it end that way. But I was smitten nonetheless, almost literally, and have never been able to shake it.
What’s interesting is that our relationship was the perfect metaphor for all relationships. Love is the stepchild of pain and suffering, born of conflict and genetically predisposed to failure. Animals don’t love anything but their next meal, and guess what we are and have been for millions of years? Basically, this whole love thing is like a new ingredient added to the primordial soup. So, while we are wining and dining that special someone, buying them flowers and performing feats of strength and wonder in the orgasm circus, we are fighting back our inherently violent opposition to the opposite sex.
A lifetime of living in an emotional black hole, observing people from the outside looking in, made me realize all of this. Knowing I could never have what normal people had allowed me to disconnect from the world and see it through the microscope of reason, unmolested by emotion. But guess what? Eventually, I wanted what they had. I wanted it so bad I was like a wolf stalking a blood trail. The way I saw it at the time was that I needed to find love so that I could exist. Relativity is about context. I had no context other than HR, Inc., and that came to an end. Everything else in the normal world seemed like it would drive me to continue killing, but love . . . that was the only thing in life that seemed worth dying for. I felt it with Alice. And I got what I wanted. Ish.
But love is filled with conflict and volatility—especially new love. Of course, when you’re dealing with two “normal” people, the result of this conflict and volatility is what you might expect in a burgeoning relationship. You’re hot, then cold, fucking, then fighting, making plans, then burning bridges, and so on. Alice and I are about
as far from normal as you can get. In fact, she and I are like the two compounds your chemistry teacher told you never to mix. We’re professional killers! That’s taking conflict and volatility to a whole new level. With normal couples, someone might get thrown out of the house after a fight. With us, someone is liable to get thrown out a window.