Tuesday, February 1, 2011

love matters

Danny nodded agreement but felt at a loss to say anything.
'Well, maybe I will have a drink then. It's getting towards dusk, listen to those birds chattering.'
'Some wine?'
'I like wine, yes.'
'So what do you think of love? I mean, between a man and a woman? Or between a boy and a girl, since you're quite young?'
'I think it's a very nice thing. Funny that distinction though, between a girl and a woman. Does it really exist? Sometimes I catch my mother being childish, and I feel much the more mature. Sometimes you want to feel young, to be babied. I'm sure I'll feel that way sometimes when I'm fifty, or seventy. But other people are often quick to remind us exactly how old, or young, we are.'
'Mmmm. We resent being young and we resent being old. I know which one I prefer. Do you think it's better to love or be loved?'
'I'm sure it's better to love. But maybe - maybe you need to be loved in order to love?'
'Maybe, but I'm sure a girl like you has known what it's like to be loved by someone you can't love in return.'
'Oh yes, I try not to think about that, it's too painful. It's sad, it's irritating... Sad, mainly. I do think about it, but that can drive you crazy. I mean, feeling guilty cause you don't feel the love.'
'A beautiful girl, in a classroom, shining. Saying bright and memorable things. Moving with insouciant grace. A boy watches nearby, trying not to watch, aching to watch always, but sensing his unworthiness, his ugliness, his lack of cool. Even his glances feel clumsy, yet still he can't help but tend a ridiculous, flickering hope. And there's always the world of fantasy.'

'Well, at least he's experienced love. Or has he? Does he really know her, or is it pure fantasy from the start? Pure lust?'
'Love, desire, lust. How real are these distinctions? You see someone. You meet her, you talk to her, you listen to her, you watch her. She seems to transmit something to you, something beyond the sum of her parts, a promise of happiness. You live in that promise, you breathe in its air day and night. You're smitten.'
'Surely we expect too much of others. Think of the burden it can be, to have someone build a world of hope on your every passing observation. Or am I being vain? Anyway, people need to be more self-reliant. We'll all be disappointed in love, I'm sure. Do you believe in love? Has such a state been scientifically verified, or is it a category mistake?'
'Mock on, mock on. You may well know more about love than me. Women are attracted to self-reliant men I find, and yet... They look for a failing, or at least a need, something they can satisfy. As for me, I believe that love is a fantasy which can enrich our life, or destroy it.'
'That's interesting. So we should ride the fantasy, allow it free reign, but also master it, control it.'

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