Monday, November 02, 2009

Great expectations ... and humble realizations

In each relationship that isn't going to work out, there's a moment that can be clearly identified in hindsight: the apex.  The individual second when the romantic verve bursts the borders and paints a riotous color across the sky.  Inevitably, it is followed by the jerky descent towards aching bitterness and wasted expression of feelings.

At least everything's great before that, eh?

It can be hard to release a well-crafted despite of reality.  Quite a bit of labor and affection figure into the construct.  Yet tumble the tower must, perhaps meaning that the relationships that succeed contain a proportion of people favored with a durable illusion (if no actual desire and love).

Unlike many other subjects, I find it difficult to espouse cynicism about love for very long.  It eludes me much as the existence of God, the supremacy of New York pizza over Chicago, and the value of the dadaist works of Marcel Duchamp elude me.  But unlike those three, I feel the reality of love pressing against me as in a crowded subway car.  I may not understand or possess it, but the effect goes thrilling through me in absentia.

Right before the apex, all is well -- and BETTER than well.  There's a chance for all surfaces to shine like the Pledge factory.  The relationship hums like a propulsive engine, and it is easy to feel that from where the sun now stands, everything will be all right now forever.

But on the other side of the hump lies the long descent away from certainty.  At first, it's not a concern, knowing that every fair from fair sometime declines.  But the following bumps aren't as high, and the mood of the valleys decays over time.  Soon, the relationship is practically in two halves, anchored only by a peg of invested time driven stubbornly through the middle.

Pretty dejecting, right?  And yet the world turns.

We just need to be better goalkeepers of our hearts.  It's impractical to invest so much in something that dribbles away everytime a piece of "new" is learned about the essential nature of our prospective partner. 

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