Love: Life's Greatest Unsolved Riddle

I’m sure the thought has plagued us all from time to time, the forever unanswerable question: “What is love?” I mean of course there’s the dictionary definition, the mutterings of people who think they know what it’s all about but just speak in circles of clichés and make you dizzy with the thought, and let’s not forget, the definition according to the novels and movies of the league of absurdly perfect and unreal romance. 

But what is it all about really? What is this insane emotion that defies all definition and also eludes reason? I have no idea. Just like the rest of us, I’m perplexed by the enigma that is love. I have tried time and time again to figure it out, and at times I feel that I have gotten close enough to grasp it, but like a country pigeon resting in the grass (I have to be specific because town pigeons real grimy and will not fly away but simply look at you like “what?”) it flees as soon as I get too close and flies away to its home of vast sky where no one can get to it unless it wishes it to be so. 

Since 11 o’clock last night to the present time I have been looking at movies, 3 different movies solely dedicated to love and its absurdity.  

After looking at the first one, a film called “2 Days In Paris” (which I have never heard of before I borrowed it last night from my aunt’s eclectic DVD collection) I felt a little despondent but yet amused because there was still a great deal of comedy in the film which I came to greatly appreciate after looking at the other 2. It was about a couple, together for 2 years, who live in New York (but the woman is originally from France) and decide to travel to Venice then make a quick stop in France to visit family and such. Everything was going absolutely swell until they started to run into her ex-boyfriends along the way and, I think, with just reason her bf starts to question her…let’s just say her chastity. Little by little it starts to erode, he sees her flirting more which drives him to read the text messages on her phone and low and behold he finds text messages from a man he met the previous night who she failed to mention was her ex…really sexually explicit shit. Like, wow. Needless to say he was crushed, heart broken, astonished by the revelation and whatever other fleeting emotions people may feel in that circumstance. So he brings it to her attention and she starts to say the usual that people say in movies, “you have to trust me, those messages mean nothing, we had something way before I met you, I love you and only you…etc., etc.” Of course I’m thinking the relationship is kaputz but in the usual fashion of fiction, they hash it out and all’s well that ends well. This was one example of love’s perseverance I guess. One thing that stayed with me was a line that she said winding down to the end of the show (before the miraculous make up) which was, “It always fascinates me how people go from loving you madly to nothing at all…nothing.” I was actually almost rendered speechless with the sheer truth of that simple sentence and, as I’m sure you can tell, I am RARELY rendered speechless. The only thing that came to my mind was, “Word.”  

My state of quasi happiness was surely ephemeral because the 2nd movie doused all hope I had of love being something repairable. It was yet another one that I’ve never heard of called “Flannel Pajamas.” Wonderful story…in the beginning. Isn’t that always the case even in reality? These two people set up on a blind date by their therapist (my initial reaction: “what the f*ck?!”) and fall in love and the skies are bluer and the flowers bloom in winter and all that’s great with imaginary love, and they have great sex over and over and OVER again (my brother actually thought I was watching porn, so imagine!). “I love you,” “I love her,” and “I love him” were the stars of the show as opposed to the actors. She’s financially struggling, he pays all her student loan debts, they move in together in an apartment that looks like the Ritz Carlton compared to her old apartment, he meets the fam, they get married. Life nice. She wants 3 children, he wants 1; they end up with none because she miscarried (after not even telling him she was preggers because he decided 2 years into the marriage that he didn‘t want kids after all). You’re thinking, “oh shit” right? Yeah I was too. It just starts rapidly sliding down the slope from there; couples therapy (a nice way to waste money before you actually have to shell out the dinero for the divorce), she moved out, he suddenly wanted children and suddenly loved her so much, but I understand that the heart is a delicate organ that can’t take too much strain so she was like “pshh!” and left him high and dry, rightly so. Then apparently he started hallucinating and imagining her next to him when she was probably on the other side of the city in actuality, he saw a man with his daughter and wife and started crying (in the middle of the street! Love apparently makes you immune to embarrassment), devastating to look at him I couldn’t hold back the tears. In the end, it was kaputz. What a tragedy, they started off as the quintessential madly in love couple. C’est la vie. By this point the depression started sinking in… 

The gears in my brain started to churn at rapid pace (which I seem to have no control over whatsoever) and I kept wondering, what really makes it work? What is it that you have to have to make it work? What does it take? Is endless love like a special gift only bestowed upon certain beings at conception like the gift of clairvoyance or insane genius? Where can everyone else procure this invisible glue that holds two people together in love and devotion until they part ways through death? Why is love never enough? Unadulterated, genuine, straight from the heart, the soul, the mind, the spirit, from every follicle on the scalp to the soles of the feet, bottomless love…is still not enough. Love never seems to be enough to keep it going. There’s some other secret ingredient that the universe is withholding to ensure that misery circulates throughout the world.  

The 3rd movie was the last straw. I think my heart just shut down after looking at “Becoming Jane.” Dreadful show, I won’t recommend it to any hopeless romantic who wishes to REMAIN a hopeless romantic. I’m sure most of you saw that one, it was quite popular. It was the most beautifully heartbreaking love story ever. It was kind of like a Romeo and Juliet except the only death involved was that of the heart, or the spirit…or both. Women in those times tried to marry into wealth because they were poor and Jane had a proposal from a stiff affluent guy around the way but she turned it down because she didn’t want to marry without affection. Little did she know, she didn’t even get to marry the man she was in love with. Jane’s lover boy had a rich uncle who was a judge and didn’t accept her because of her poverty and refused to consent to the marriage. So, as a result of love’s potent dose of irrationality...they decided to elope. Jane backed out at the last minute because she realised that his entire family was dependent on the allowance that his rich uncle gave him and that if they eloped the family will be in complete shambles. So they both went their separate ways, Jane decided to “live by her pen” and he decided to do whatever it is that he did. Fast forward a few years and Jane has some streaks of grey in the hair, looking distant, unmarried, and she’s at an opera gathering and who walks in but the love of her life…with his DAUGHTER who he named…(dum, dum, dum) JANE! Sigh. I felt her pain. Truly and deeply. It sucks, I could barely stop crying long enough to pay attention to the rest. It took 3 bounty tissues to bring me back to a fairly normal acceptable state minus the sniffles that make you sound like you have a speech impediment when you try to talk.  

It just goes to show that not everyone is going to live happily ever after with their one true love and soul mate. Most of us are just going to have to settle for someone who loves us enough to put up with our shit on a daily basis. That weakens my will power to even try. I mean Jane and what’s his name were like MADLY, DEEPLY in love ( and it WAS based on the true story that’s what makes it even more f*cked up!) and they didn’t even get to spend the rest of their lives together cloaked in that heartfelt bliss. What is left really? You could fall in love with someone and be sure that you're destined to be together but there's no guarantee that they won't just be a treasured memory in your old age while you spend the rest of your life looking at someone who you know you could never love as much... 

I really wonder...what's the point? Is it that we're all just going to have to live by the principle of "love who loves you"? Live life hoping for that love that keeps your heart beating strong and when that love goes away just kill yourself slowly by dwelling on the memory of what was and what you wish could be once again? There are only so many times you can recover from break-ups before you yourself are too broken up to go on loving. Life's greatest unsolved riddle... 

Your cynic disguised as a realist who's secretly an optimist, 


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