On Love, Requited and Otherwise –
Those Romantic poets – all that unrequited love, beauty held forever, unbesmirched by acne, tired bags under the eyes, or stray hairs that mysteriously appear in places best unidentified.
For what is better than unrequited love? Each of us needs at least one to break our heart. But not more than one. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, one unrequited love is tragic; two is simply careless, not to say extremely trying to the soul.
But, oh, to keep that vision, that fantasy. What enchanting pain when the indignities of life become too aching to bear. We can delightfully retreat into a fantasy of what-could-have-been and somehow place reality in abeyance.
If only…and we blithely embroider a favorite scenario – a poor man’s fairy tale.
But it’s requited love that is valid, and demanding, and in its way as angst-producing as the one-that-got-away (or the one-that-never-was). Requited love – where we know the other, warts and all, and, even more alarming, they know us. Requited love – where the best and worst are observed and experienced. The mirror held up to us.
Unrequited love is easy. It’s requited love that’s the bitch. It’s a bit like writing – as long as we think about writing, read about writing, believe that we could write if only the time were right, as long as we don’t act, the dream lives. All those if onlys.
And when we actually move words from head to hand, when we see there, in black and white, our nonsensical, puerile phrases, those that sounded so grand as we lay in our beds, our dreams are splintered. And that’s when the real work of writing begins, when we face our hopes and work to move them from fantasy to a fractured, but tangible, reality.
Like love. Like marriage. Like any honest long-term relationship. When we hear, and say, I love you. The days after.