But What If It's Real

I finished Andrew Sean Greer's Less during one hell of a lightning storm last night and below is probably my favorite passage from a novel that contains a great many wonderful passages.

"She told me she met the love of her life," Zohra says at last, still staring out the window. "You read poems about it, you hear stories about it, you hear Sicilians talk about being struck by lightning. We know there's no love of your life. Love isn't terrifying like that. It's walking the fucking dog so the other one can sleep in, it's doing taxes, it's cleaning the bathroom without hard feelings. It's having an ally in life. It's not fire, it's not lightning. It's what she always had with me. Isn't it? But what if she's right, Arthur? What if the Sicilians are right? That it's this earth-shattering thing she felt? Something I've never felt. Have you?"

Less begins to breath unevenly.

She turns to him: "What if one day you meet someone, Arthur, and it feels like it could never be anyone else? Not because other people are less attractive, or drink too much, or have issues in bed, or have to alphabetize every fucking book or organize the dishwasher in some way you just can't live with. It's because they aren't this person. This woman Janet met. Maybe you can go through your whole life and never meet them, and think love is all these other things, but if you do meet them, God help you! Because then: ka-blam! You're screwed. The way Janet is. She ruined our life for it! But what if it's real?"