The short story “Morning Hills” begins by asking exactly the same question. I can’t help it but there are just moments when I catch myself pausing and meditating in an attempt to find my own answers to this.
Seriously, is it purely a choice to love someone for the rest of our lives? Or does it happen to us as if it’s predetermined, beyond our control and we are bound to accept it when it comes?
Morning Hills is a tale of a man recounting his love story to the woman she loved and lost. Three years before that drizzling afternoon, he fell in love with that woman whom he initially hated. They shared a seeming perfect relationship until one day the woman disappeared without any trace. Though confused and brokenhearted, the man waited until he found out that the woman has given her love to another guy. Legend says that sunsets in Morning Hills could take all the sorrows and pain if in there one tells his love story to his beloved. So he arranged to meet her once and for all with a hope that he could finally move on. That day he told her his love and sacrifices for her, the agony he went through and his desire to have her beside him when they get old.
Before they parted ways, he asked her if she still loved him. She wept, giving him no reply. After she’s gone, the man realized that she left in his pocket the gem he gave to her when her parents died. Taking it as a message of hope, he followed her in Taipei. And there he finally accepted his “fate”. He begged her to come back but the woman was already married.
Five years passed and the story ends with the man standing in Morning Hills on his wedding day. The woman was there as well. She wore a long white dress and “made up her mind” – to stay beside him again… forever.
Perhaps, some may say the story was about destiny. The man chose to fight for the woman he loved and did everything to get her back but his efforts seemed futile – which clearly showed that the outcome wasn’t really dictated by his choices. However, on the woman’s side of the story, she spent the “rest of her life” with the man because she made a decision to make it happen.
My aim of writing this post is not to start a debate or generate arguments on which is really which. I guess what I’m trying to say is: I just wondered.
I tried to mentally process how love stories in real life unfold and what I can see is a complex tapestry of decisions made intertwined with some inevitable events. Some people decided to get married because they “felt” they have finally met the “right person”. Others say it’s mainly because they believed their spouse had what it takes to be a good wife/husband and so they chose them. Some say it just happened without them even expecting and planning about it at the certain stage in their lives.
I reflected further and came up with an answer that is exactly the same as the last few lines in the story:
Love is real. But whether love is a choice or destiny I still don’t know the answer until this very day. All I can say is this: Love is a mystery.
I hope you guys won’t say I’m being cheeky with my answer. After all, I was the one who wrote the story.