Jun 9, 2006

Romance Cut

I'm driving through downtown Sofia, and the friend next to me has a GPS. Whoa, 21st century live!

"What about the Depeche Mode concert?", I ask him.

"Well... Depeche Mode will miss me. I'll call K. and explain why I'm not going", he says, his voice quivers with uncertainty.

"Don't", I almost snap at him. "Don't explain. He won't understand. You see, even I barely understand you, unless I try real hard, and my level of empathy is well above the average."

Silence. Implying consent.

We're going to the airline office to get him a ticket for tomorrow morning flight to the US. He came to Bulgaria two weeks ago, and was planning to stay until the end of July. The previous night when he told me was going to quit his vacation and go back to the US, my first thought was that something horrible must have happened. Thank God, it was nothing of the kind. It turned out that... his girlfriend missed him. Talk about flexibility of plans.

I'll try to understand. Isn't it written: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24) I know some of you dislike Bible quotes:D I'm just struck by the verb 'cleave' and its two meanings, provoking a wonderfully postmodernist interpretation.

Meaning One.
1. To adhere, cling, or stick fast. (this is obviously the intended meaning in Genesis)
2. To be faithful: cleave to one's principles.
Meaning Two.
1. To split with or as if with a sharp instrument.
2. To make or accomplish by or as if by cutting: cleave a path through the ice.
3. To pierce or penetrate: The wings cleaved the foggy air.
4. Chemistry. To split (a complex molecule) into simpler molecules.

So you leave and cleave, you state allegiance to one person, supposedly staying with him/her for the rest of your life, but you have to be ready first - mature, capable of making decisions, independent. However, in ancient times this 'cleaving' was seldom, if ever, to a person of choice. Usually the mother and father selected the future partner of their offspring. Nowadays we do this of our own free will, and then proceed to cut the other person with the sharp instrument of the said free will.

How much of a relationship is war, really? Do we need to win, even against the person we love? What kind of love can command the other: just leave everything behind and fly to me, now? Forget everyone - parents, sister, brother-in-law, newborn niece, friends - and come to me. Now. I can't stand the loneliness, he world is empty without you, I am a simple molecule and need to be made complex. Yes, I know I agreed to let you go for two months, but now I've changed my mind.

Empathy? I know how it feels. Been there, done that. I've won a myriad of battles of will, manipulated the other person into doing things my way. After the brief thrill of victory, I knew I had modified the fabric of reality, and the other person loved me a bit less. I've changed since then - I stopped fighting for my desires as fiercely as I did before. I like to think I've become more... bendable. Maybe that's why I was so impressed by the story of my friend, and felt a mixture of admiration and resentment. She is someone I could admire, a strong woman who does not show her strength off, but is capable of doing great things out of great love. I pray her love will be enough to fill in the holes left by his losses. I pray they both will evade bitterness and block accusations. I just hope she makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Don't we almost always, when a good friend of ours becomes a (better) half of a couple, think to ourselves: 'Let's hope he/she is worthy of her/him'? (Er... pronouns here are NOT politically correct:P). Do we feel guilty of thought-interfering? There is 'a secret life of a couple' we do not have access to, and we shouldn't. Even if this is our closest friend and ally, there are bounderies we'd better not cross. I know, I'm doing it right now:) I'm delving into the vast and hidden area of other people's motivation, where I always fear to tread. But I promised I'd try hard.

It's not that you give up your freedom in exchange for love. There is time for everything under the sun, and a wise person brings to the fore this particular side of his individuality which is best suited to the moment and to the social situation. Sometimes other sides of the individuality have to be suppressed, and that's understandable. At this particular time of their lives (they are both 28) they decided nothing matters more than being with each other. Ok, I wrote an unusually long - for me - entry, to reach the conclusion "how romantic".

For some people, that was the first reaction:)


Anonymous said...

Well, a man must have his priorities. Yay for the flexible people!
Also, I hope the girlfriend realizes that his gesture does not come without a price.

I pray her love will be enough to fill in the holes left by his losses. I pray they both will evade bitterness and block accusations.

Very nicely put.
I wish them all the best.

Elle said...

Well I must say that is pretty desperate of the girlfriend. Plain and simple. It is selfish too and very risky. God, I would never, ever demand that of anyone. If you love someone, you must let them live and enjoy their own lives, which you are not always a part of. Taking over someone's existence is hardly a sign of love.

Hazel Baggins said...

Who am I to judge?
Arent't we all desperate, sometimes?
From the point of view of one of the most self-sufficient human beings I know (myself), I can say that the 'solitude threshold' varies in people. For her, it was very low. For me, it's sky-high. That's why averages were introduced.

But there's always a threshold.

Maybe I'll write more about it later. Depending on how desperate I am:D