Sat 26 Nov 2005
In one of my favorite spirit-lifting movies, “Love Actually”, there is a scene when a concerned stepfather finally learns what was it that visibly disturbed his 8-year old stepson, Samuel, for weeks. After many tries the boy finally confesses that he is desperately in love with a classmate, a girl called Joanna. The stepfather, who suspected the kid is mourning his late mother, maybe even taking drugs, says he’s a little relieved as he thought it might be something worse. The boy looks up at him amazed and exclaims incredulously “Worse than the total agony of being in love?”.
And indeed, he’s right. You live your life unperturbed, going about your business, work, leisure, anything and it’s quite ok. Could be better, but on average, if you live intensely enough – or sufficiently detached – the loneliness becomes bearable, almost natural because as with any constant pain eventually you get used to it.
Then out of the blue the virus attacks. Stability is gone, the roller-coaster of ups and downs starts, from “she loves me” to “she loves me not” every other day based on a phone call, look, smile – or lack of thereof. From plans till grave to dead, sunken certainty it was all just your own delusion. There is no pill nor therapy to stop it. Total agony, indeed.
Of course, everybody hopes at the end of all this misery lies the happy ending, the warm stability of mature love that gives strength to fight difficulties, changes houses into homes and beds into shelters of intimacy. And indeed it exists, as everybody who had good enough karma to be re-born into a stable, loving family can attest. Yet, I think, it’s rare, much more so than we would like to believe, much more than those who were fortunate to meet that right someone early enough would tell us. After all, most relationships fall apart eventually as we can all see around us. Few survive to be one of those lovely elderly couples you can see sometimes, different from the others in a way hard to describe but impossible to miss…
Here a proper ending should come, a point to correspond with the good opening, a striking summary or another brilliant show of eloquence. But there is none so far, even though I’ve been sitting over this post for a few hours now. A philosophical consideration of the total agony of being unexpectedly struck by someone’s mere presence seems too remote and detached, anything more personal too intimate to share here.
However, somehow for the last few days I can’t get this scene off my head, the boy’s bewildered statement ringing in my mind…