Since his first elementary school crush, Paul had a concept of love that—despite his realizing its idealistic thinking—remained unchanged and wholly embraced as his way to view romance. To Paul, who saw everything in black-and-white but felt everything in technicolor, love meant caring about someone more than you cared about yourself. He remembered how his father, late on a school night, walked into Paul’s room—something that almost never occurred—and lectured Paul on how he could not be so romantic (a conclusion that he made after discovering a collection of love letters Paul wrote throughout the school year.) Despite this, Paul’s romanticism remained unchanged, and was exacerbated by an early reading of The Great Gatsby, where Paul, upon completing the novel, decided that Jay Gatsby, in all his hopeless optimism and unwavering resolve, represented the pinnacle of what love truly meant. Paul, who always held a very deterministic approach to his affairs, thought that love meant giving yourself up entirely to another person, devoting any and all of one’s actions towards making their partner happy, and, through that process, attaining happiness, as “if you truly cared about someone more than yourself, seeing them happy would make you happier than anything else in the world.”
This theory was tested when Paul found himself in his first and only relationship before meeting Violet, during his last year of middle school when he finally worked up the courage to ask out Fiora, a pale and thin girl whose locker lay a few feet away from his. The initial attraction towards her large eyes, pale complexion, and petite figure carried into every girl that Paul found attractive, though it was really her quiet and shy nature that intrigued Paul into asking her out in the first place. After a year of dating, partway through his freshman year in high school, Paul and Fiora broke up, which sent Paul into a spiraling and crippling depression, and quickly became—due to Paul’s melodramatic and bipolar tendencies—a major turning point in Paul’s life, something that made him completely re-evaluate how he presented himself socially. Even after pouring countless sleepless nights fueled by energy drinks and coffee into trying to figure out where he went wrong, the only unsatisfactory answer that Paul could conclude was that she simply did not love him as much as he loved her, as though love was something that could be measured quantitatively on a bathroom scale. Paul, with his relentless drive to keep Fiora happy, could not understand why she did not feel this same urge within herself, and spent the rest of that school year in a debilitating sadness upon realizing that, no matter how much effort and energy Paul put into keeping Fiora happy, unless she felt the same affection towards Paul, his attempts meant nothing- that unless both people loved each other an equal amount, one person’s love had no value at all.
lil b “the basedgod”