Michael and Tom each sat on a couch. I sat cross-legged on the wooden floor, so that the three of us made a triangle. The guys had been watching UFC fights on the television while I stared off into space, which happened to exist midway up the corner of the living room wall, just underneath a shelf.
After we'd sat in silence for a while, I asked if Michael had anything in his house that I could read. I didn't care what, I just wanted to read something and stimulate my mind. He had Mein Kampf. I wagered I could read all of it in two hours, despite their laughs and skepticism, and opened the book.
While I sat reading, Michael began talking to Tom about one of his recent relationships. A girl he'd been dating had cheated on him, and I think he was talking about how he was just trying to move on. I didn't know him very well yet, but when he finished speaking, he made one statement that moved me and left me silent and pensive for the longest time. It was bold and spoken from the heart. He said,
"When you love someone, you have to find something about that person that you absolutely hate. Because if you find that one thing that you hate about them and you can still love them through it, then you know it's true love and that nothing can ever come between you. And, if you can't find anything about them that you hate, then you know they're not being true to you, because no one's perfect."
It wasn't a great author, a great poet who spoke those words. It was no philosopher or marriage counselor. It was a middle-aged man who works in a factory. That's what I love about how he said those words. They were the words of a common man who knew what it took to love someone. It took learning to hate.