Were I to write us
To sculpt us onto the page
I could not form a sentence.
There would be phrases, certainly.
Ecstatic, poetic, expository phrases.
And there would be commas.
Those soft, indeterminate silences in which so much is not said
A kindly, conciliatory preposition would appear
Insistently pulling us towards some syntactical clarity
Quotation marks would surely encase us,
Yet not ironically.
An accent-grave would attest to a certain Gallic exoticism
Were I to attempt to punctuate us,
Strunk & White would be horrified at the over-use of marks
For we are full of exclamations and questions
And these, too, must be rendered into script.
But still, I could not form a sentence.
Not a proper one.
Not a grade-six-grammar-test-pass-mark-promoted-to-grade-seven sentence.
For there would be no verb.
I sometimes wonder if I have lost the capacity to fall in love.
Not the capacity TO love…I manage that nicely. My love for my children, my sister, my niece, my close friends, seems to get stronger every day.
But I no longer believe I have the capacity to “lose myself” in psycho-sexual passion for another human being.
This makes me sad.
I’ve written a lot about some of the sillier aspects of that-which-we-call-love. And I stand by what I’ve said. I am content to be the sensible one with boundaries, who can (finally…after years of work…) espy the narcissist, the abuser, the bore and the user. I am proud of my ability to stand outside my identity and catch myself slipping into co-dependence, fantasy, projection and wishful thinking. All hail me.
And yet, and yet, and yet…
My happiness in all that adulting came from a wan hope that one day I would fall stupid and hard, for someone who was emotionally whole, real and available. I could wallow in my sensible state because I would be duly rewarded with the grown-up, sensual, intelligent, passionately romantic love-of-my-life. Even if I wasn’t actively looking for that, just sensing that he was out there somewhere, and that my time would come, gave me comfort. And much as it ails me to admit this, there was the little flutter with each new man of “could he be the one?”. Short-lived, admittedly, but still a nice feeling to have.
Alas, dear reader, this happen less and less. And it’s not the men. It’s me.
Somehow I just don’t think I could work myself up into a lather anymore. It may be because I have had years of disappointment; been worn down by the mediocrity of the dating scene. Yet even when I fantasize about my ideal man, or about being romantically involved with Robert Plant (yes…old and craggy though he is, he still does it for me…), I just can’t “get the feeling”. I find it hard to even recall that feeling from the past.
All around me, people of my generation are doing it; falling madly in love, getting married, building new houses together. You’d think I’d be thrilled,and that I would find some hope in all of it. So why does it then make me feel vaguely ill? Why do I find the spectacle of middle-aged people referring to their partners as “my fiancee”, just infantile? I’ve dug deep to find out if I’m just bitter and envious. And I admit, readily, to envy, but envy of the way they feel, not of the up-coming wedding, or the MacMansion in the suburbs. No bitterness here. Am I becoming the female version of Gore Vidal, declaring “Every time a friend falls in love, a small part of me dies”?
That’s what it feels like: as though a part of me has died. I know that not falling loopy in love, gets more work done, more bills paid, more friends contacted. I know it conserves my energy for important, adulting activities. I know it enables me to engage in free and fun sexual activities with all and sundry (well…maybe just sundry..).
Still, I want that part of me back. I want to know that that capacity is dormant, rather than dead, and I am CHOOSING not to wake it, rather than feeling like I’ve just had a psychological hysterectomy.
Then again, maybe I just need a holiday…