I read quite a few online journals. Ones written by people I've met, people I feel I've met, those I've shared emails with, people I worry about, people who worry about me... men, women... some in the arts world, some in a world of their own.
A common thread is sex, lies and relationships. Lies we tell ourselves, our significant others, the world, friends, what it takes to get us through the day. Sex with someone we love, like, admire...a pick-up, a glance in a bar when you are hazy, an old flame, a need to feel comfort for the night, for the hour, a reminder you are attractive or were attractive or that you both felt something at one time for each other. Relationships old, new, forgotten...ones we wish we could forget, ones we never want to forget. Ones that broke us, made us, tore out our souls, re-built our hearts and spirits.. they can be physical, emotional, spiritual...same sex, different sex, non-physical ones. You can have an intimate relationship with someone you've never touched. Souls can find a home with a person that you only share words with, that you know you'll never share a physical space with, that you know this life isn't to be, it's only going to be those words, that sense of safety, that knowledge they are there for you in that deepest meaning of the words safe and home.
I recently finished a book, Rapture, by Susan Minot. It was a fast read, a trip to work and home on the 6/4.
A number of quotes stood out in my mind, of the many, many words she said that resonated in that short novel.
"Kay was still trying to figure it out. she was not prepared to give up her reverence for sex. It was too mysterious, too powerful, too magic. a kiss for instance. What was it? Two mouths coming into contact with each other, and yet a kiss had the power to make a person believe that not only was love possible, it was really quite likely, not only was life going to turn out all right, there was a very good chance it would turn out gloriously. So, it had it's deceptive side.
But, sex inspired hope, the water we swim in."
Kisses are magic, and what can make or break a relationship. They are that intimate bit of self sharing we hope for. They are special, beyond sex. I am reminded of the scene in French Kiss, when Luc (Kevin Kline) tells Kate (Meg Ryan) he saved up to go back to the prostitute in order to kiss her. Women who are raped feel more violated if the man kisses her, it's that push beyond into the private boundary, they area we hold sacred. We hand over kisses, playful, passion-filled, the fast peck on the cheek... but the ones on the mouth, they are a gift.
They do inspire the belief that love is possible... the dream, the hope.
Sex... it is something handed out in an easier way by many. That fast connection, that hope of becoming one with a person, if only for a short time.. the need to be cherished, if for a short time, the hope it will let you click and build on the physical to an emotional level.
I know couples who met, slept together, and are still locked in their coupledom thirty years later.
It can work, it appears.
A kiss gives us the belief we can be cherished, beloved... sex adds the senses to the flavour of that belief.
In relationships, the subject of the book, women, I've found, find it easier to walk away than men do. We may grieve, wail, have that soul rendering pain that finds us crawling on the floor unable to breathe...but, we can walk away. We are able, I feel, to deal with the knowing something is over, and the moving on.
Men. Ah, men. She speaks of how most men will suffer though twenty years of anguish rather than twenty minutes of discomfort. That men would rather stay in a bad relationship than move forward into being alone if it means they will be alone. I do not know a single man who can be, well, single. There is always the search for a new partner, an old partner, a brief partner, a fast hookup, even a flirt.
They will be madly in love with someone, living with another, but..will not leave the old if the new doesn't come out and say, "Leave them, be with me."
That assured position has to be there, or.... they'll stay and be miserable. It's easier. They will accept work as a substitute for a partner, something to fill the void, however, they cannot be...alone.
I'm not saying all men, it just appears to me that most men can't settle in on their own... perhaps that is why we women outlive you males. We learn to make do.
And, we view relationships from such a different angle.
The entire book is set in a single afternoon, covering the lifetime of a relationship, as the two characters engage in a single act of lovemaking... going from one point of view to the other.
She sees what they've done as 'worship'... and he says, "she'd learn, soon enough."
What we think is the end all is someone's passing by, and their bliss is our one night stand.
Sometimes, the untruths are not there, the kiss is magic, we breathe in counterpoint.... lie isn't at the core of the word believe, and the Trojan horse, Hope, holds the universe.
Fairy tales can come true, can't they?