A Seriously Romantic "Modern Love" Melts The Hardest Heart

If you need a shot of pure romance, this week's "Modern Love" has got it. Okay, pure romance and a bowel movement.

The essay, "In a Charmed Life, a Road Less Traveled" is about the author, Layng Martine's, relationship with his wife, who was paralyzed in a car accident, putting an end to an idyllic existence that began with love at first sight.

Hearing the word paraplegic had made us focus on the big thing, the fact that Linda could no longer walk. Less anticipated were the smaller humiliations and inconveniences, like bowel movements in bed or on the way to a party, sores that came out of nowhere and took months or years to heal, and inaccessible restroom stalls that caused Linda to have to catheterize herself in the public area where people were washing their hands and talking.

Although the accident puts an end to Linda's hiking and running, the couple perseveres and despite the myriad challenges, pursues a rich, full life of travel and adventure. She does marathons in a runner's wheelchair and drives a specially-equipped car. It's certainly a journey that's facilitated by having the means for such pleasures, but as the essay makes clear, it's really a testament to their commitment and will. Says Martine,

And now, so long since that fateful night, looking across the dinner table at my wife, or seeing her across the room at a party, the hopeless crush I have on her is as wonderfully out of control as when I first saw her more than four decades ago through the screen door. I still get excited after work when I pull in the driveway and know that I'll soon get to see the sexy, beautiful, very funny person I live with. And, later on, snuggle up to her in bed.

If it seems almost too good to be true, well, maybe sometimes we need to hear that. The author mentions early on that his wife can no longer experience intercourse, so we know there are challenges, and perhaps things we don't need to have spelled out. After all, these people have more 'reality' in their lives than most of us, and if the result is a little unlikely fantasy - and a welcome shot of old-fashioned love for the Times, - well, I'm not complaining.

In A Charmed Life, A Road Less Traveled [NY Times]