Joshua Severance and William W. Mims

When you fall in love, nobody asks any questions. When you fall out, everybody wants to know why. Nobody needs any help with the former. Industries are built on the latter. We fall. We blindly stagger around. We rejoice in our terrified hearts. We wait and hope for better times, for the chance, if we are lucky, to fall again.

Falling out of love is a mystery. Or at least that is what I believe, what I keep saying. It is what I tell myself over and over when other feelings try to bully their way into my heart. I say over and over, I've done my damage, done my time. I pray. I believe.

What I know is that for people who have been married to addicts of one sort or another, liquor, or dope, or gambling, or food, or sex, or money, the answer to the failed relationship can roll off the tongue like "Amazing Grace." Don't get me wrong. They've lived through hell. But at least they have a word for it.

"I just couldn't live with that," they say. And it is true. As true as true can be. Addiction is a mysterious, unbearable thing. But then there are more mysterious than not mysterious things, I say. At least that is my experience. Addiction, the word I mean, has such an appealing sound, such a swing to it. Sound it out, if you're not an addict. Feel it form and spin out in your own voice-addiction. And it sounds so final, too, such authority in it, so complete, as words are sometimes. It needs no further explanation. If you find the word, you no longer need look for the thing itself. Because you've got the word.

There are some mysteries, like falling out of love, that we don't have words for, no matter which side of the fall you land on.