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Love was lost… confused… and frustrated. Things seemed so much clearer when he was young, yet somehow everything had become so uncertain and complicated.

In his younger days Love was cocky and arrogant; he’d go out drinking with his friends, swaggering around with an air of smugness, and boast about how good he was at his job. He’d smile smugly as he explained the secret to his success: Temptation. Desire… Lust… These were the agents of his creation. He created ‘Desire’ to entice people to come together and ‘Lust’ to ignite the fire and sexual passion between them. Love was fully confident that the power with which two temptations drew people to one another was so strong that it would certainty last forever.

Love would throw lavish week long parties where he’d mix Desire into the wine and watch as people drunk it down greedily and licked their lips at its sweet flavour. He’d sprinkle Lust on the food, like a spice, and gaze in satisfaction as everyone gorged themselves until their bellies were full.

Then he’d watch as the drunk women moved and danced seductively, the sway and turn of their hips tempting and sparking desire in the hungry eyes of all the watching men, fuelling the lust that began to rumble in the parts below their bellies. And slowly but surely couples disappeared into empty rooms and secret corners, the sweet sounds quiet moaning and whispered names music to Love’s ears, and he’d leave content in the knowledge that he had brought more love into existence.

But Love was too smug in his youth, and like all young adults he lived for the moment and failed to realise that the true test of love was time, and it was over time that he started to notice the cracks in the love he thought he had created.

Desire and Lust were too fickle as feelings to be the foundations on which to build something as strong as love. They lacked something important, were too impetuous, and their power faded too easily over time. The couples Love did bring together would break up over the most trivial things, and if they did stay together for longer the same temptations of desire and lust would cause them to cheat easily, giving birth to lies and resentment. And at night they’d feel utterly alone even when lying in the same bed together.

Everything Love thought he had created fell to pieces and this stabbed at his very being.

The worse part was that all around him he started to see couples who seemed so utterly in love; kissing in parks, delicately holding hands in cafés, walking arm in arm at night. These were individuals who had never attended his parties, people who didn’t seem driven by the sole temptations of Lust and Desire, and yet somehow it looked like they had found a lasting deep connection. This made Love feel like an utter failure, as he had no idea how these couples found the one thing he was supposed to embody.

Love was depressed for a long while: He felt like an animal raised in captivity now released into the wild with no idea of how to use the natural instincts he was born with. The smugness, swagger and ego he so proudly flaunted, faded, and was replaced by an unhealthy obsession to find answers.

Research became his life, his room became a cave of study, his desk littered with notes, the walls decorated with charts and graphs, and the corners dominated by towers of books, everything collected to aid in his work.

He searched for answers in astrology, thinking that maybe this art that predicted someone’s personality, future and love compatibility, based on the mystical alignment of the stars and moon might give him the necessary knowledge about the magical mystery that was true love.

He read everything he could find on human biology, getting lost in studies on hormones, pheromones, hoping that if he understood the working of the human body he’d be able to mix something that recreated the chemical feeling of love produced in the body. He spent a long time taking in the theories of psychology, as he attempted to fully grasp the complexity of the human mind and how everything in our lives affect who we choose as lovers.

When Love wasn’t hidden away in his cave, he’d sometime go door to door with a survey, and question people about seeing if they were married or single, asking them what caused them to end their previous relationship if they were single, or how they knew they had found ‘the one’ if they were married.

For awhile he studied the mating habits of different animal but he just became frustrated by the simplicity with which animals would chose a companion, and made him wonder why people had to be so complicated.

Love’s ultimate goal was to gain an in-depth knowledge of the emotional, biological and psychological patterns that dictated how people chose partners. He believed that if he could understand this pattern he could create the best formulas to initiate it whenever he wanted.

The cave that was Love’s room also became his laboratory, a place full of concoctions, potions and formulas, where he mixed and mingled feelings and emotions in his attempts to find the perfect recipe for ever lasting love.

He played with innocence and created the shy, delicate feeling of ‘Young Love,’ thinking that if he could inspire the smallest essence of love in people, at a young age, this would grow in power as they matured. But children were too young to understand their feelings, and in the end Young Love just became a playful flight of fancy, amusing in its innocence.

He tried taking out the magical feeling of love and created the need for a ‘sense of security,’ attempting to rationalise love and boil it down to the practical things people desired in a partner. But the couples who came together through this need were left forever wondering whether they had made the right choice, remembering intense feelings of happiness they once had with a past lover whom they had put aside out of the fear that they could not provide a secure life for them.

He experimented with his original temptation of Desire and Lust, mixing them together and coming up with a new emotion he called ‘Infatuation.’ But this feeling was so potent it erased any true, pure feelings of love and resulted in the victim becoming blindly obsessed with the object of their desire, overwhelmed by the intensity of their emotions.

In a moment of frustration, Love even created and unleashed the feeling of ‘Loneliness,’ thinking that maybe love was simply a human self defence mechanism that kicked in when an individual truly believed that they would spend the rest of their life alone. But all it did was cause individuals to seek out any type of affection offered to them, but those shallow moments never cured their loneliness and ultimately just made it all the more powerful.

Love did take a little comfort in the lesser feeling of affection he created.

One night he produced a sweet emotion, a small magical feeling of attraction. It was shy and delicate and when someone felt it for someone else they felt happy and content in that person’s presence, even if they didn’t return the feeling of attraction. If the feeling was returned it brought with it sweet kisses, secret, stolen glances, and a deep, fulfilling intimacy that left a wonderful sense of something gained, even when it ended. This feeling later became know as a ‘Crush,’ and it rarely ever developed into overwhelming love, but it had a powerful ability to bring pure, contented happiness.

Producing things like ‘Crushes’ brought a small smile to Love’s face but it wasn’t enough to lift his spirits. He felt like his life had become a trail of failed experiments and in his misery he left all the emotions he had produced to run wild and unchecked, out in the world.

Love’s siblings tried to talk him out of his cave, they tried to tell him that his quest for answers had become overly obsessive and unhealthy, but their words couldn’t crack his determination.

Then one night, once again plagued by another failure, Love left his cave of obsession and ventured out to drink his troubles into oblivion, but when he returned home a few hours later, he was still completely sober and, for the first time in a long time, felt like he could finally breathe. He felt like a swimmer who had been holding his breath under water for what seemed like an eternity, finally breaking the surface.

Love entered his room and looked around sombrely at his cave, noticing for the first time how small and lifeless it was. A new sense of determination suddenly overwhelmed him, pushing him forward, and without any hesitation he peeled all his charts and graphs from the walls, gathered up the towers of books piled in the corners, bundled up all his research notes and dismantled his laboratory. Then he placed everything in a pile in his garden, lit a match, and burned all the work he had done over the past few years, smiling, content, as he watched the embers of his obsession float away into the night, like small fiery stars returning to the sky.

That morning Love watched the sun rise from the open window of his bedroom, enjoying the sight of the spreading sunlight gently brushing away the night, and when dawn had kissed the world awake, he showered, dressed and packed a few clothes and some food into a small backpack. Standing in the doorway of his room he took one last look at his cave, the place in which he’d become obsessed with the shadows on the wall, and smiled as he closed the door on that chapter of his life.

He left a note for his siblings, so they wouldn’t worry, in which he told them about that the night, the night he had gone to drown his problems in a pool of alcohol but instead had met a girl. He wrote about how she had sensed that something deep was troubling him but that she never once asked what it was. Instead he’d gotten lost in the sincerity of her eyes and listened intently to the melody of her voice, as they spent the night joking and dancing, talking about everything and nothing, easy and free in each others company.

For the first time in a long time, the frustration and uncertainty that had plagued Love for so long, seemed to slip to the back of his mind. In his note he told his siblings that the girl’s name was Epiphany, and even though at the end of the night she told him that she was on a journey of her own, which meant that for now they would have to part ways, Love was non the less content just to have met her.

He assured his siblings that he hadn’t fallen from one obsession to another and suddenly run off to be with this girl, even though deep down he believed that one day their paths would cross again. He simply wrote that he’d decided to stop obsessing about finding answers and instead take a break, venture out and start living for the experience. He hoped his siblings wouldn’t worry and that they’d understand that he’d simply left on a journey to find himself.


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