Last night when we were laying in bed, my husband and I were discussing some of the highlights of our relationship. The point he was making was that we had a "good foundation" based on these experiences we had early on in our relationship, when we lived in Colorado. Although I agree that those months were the best of what we had, I doubt it is enough to base a relationship on. When I think "good foundation", I think of a good friendship compounded by similar moral and philosophical values, not a few months of great passion and mutual enjoyment.
Then he said something like "Every so often, like every five, eight, ten years I'll see something in us that reminds me of that time, of who we used to be, and I hold on to that image as the possibility of what we could be again" and it made me think of an emotion I experienced earlier in the day.
I was walking past a window, and as I turned, I had gotten a glimpse of my reflection turning away, and all of a sudden I was hit with an emotional memory, like a punch in the gut. My single thought was Billy, where are you now? The turning away of my reflection, my walking away, reminded me oddly of my first love, a time in my life I don't think about much anymore. I could almost picture the face of my first lover before me, and longed to stroke his cheek. As I walked away, I was thinking about that long ago relationship, and how it had seemed so vital and powerful. When I remember it now, when I try to picture it, all I can think about is tears in the rain and a powerful sense of betrayal, not just personally but also a betrayal against love.
Why? I asked myself, why is his memory summed up as "betrayal"? There is the obvious answer, that betrayal was the reason the relationship ended, but not specifically on his part. I was betrayed by my best friend at the time, who told him a lie in order to break us up, and he believed it over my defense, and he turned his back on me, which perhaps is the reason I am left with that word to sum us up. Years later, though, on two accounts, he came back into my life all apologies and brimming with the memories of who we were and the possibility of what we could be again. Both times I turned him away. I was unwilling to let go of the committed relationships I was in in order to pursue a future with him, a future that had certain lifestyle implications that I wasn't convinced were in my best interests. So who really betrayed love?
A couple of nights ago, I was briefly obsessed with this show "The Millionaire Matchmaker". I was glued to the TV for about four episodes in a row, and could not tear myself away. It is a good thing the late episode was a repeat of one I had just watched, otherwise I don't think I would have been able to pull myself off the couch and get ready for bed. At one point my husband walked by and said "what are you watching over there with that little girl look in your eyes and goofy grin on your face?" I laughed, for heavens sake why I am watching this in rapture like this, what is it about this show that is making me feel like that?
The answer? It was all about possibilities. It was the first dates where these people were getting to know someone else and wondering, "could I fall in love with this person? This fun we are having now, is this enough to base a relationship on?" It was about the prospect of true love, of the discovery of someone else in the context of your life, or the magic of the first few dates, the first few months of a new relationship with someone you really thought you could build a future with. It was belief in the the power of love to overcome life's obstacles, and it was filling me with hope and promise, and the idea of romance in perpetuating emotional ties. It was reminding me of dates I had, although they were never quite like those, and it was filling me with a desire to go on dates again, to add an element of romance to my relationship to give it some spark.
All this made me think about love, about what seperates the could-have-beens from the now-we-ares, about what aspects of a relationship make it one that goes the distance. My favorite part of the Millionaire Matchmaker show was at the end when they told you the end result: for instance, that the couple shown above, Brendan and Caroline, have gone out on several dates since, but that he returned to his home in New Jersey and she stayed in L.A., and they are trying to figure out how to make that work. I think about the best dates I ever went on, and none of them were with my husband, but I don't wish that I had pursued a future with those men instead. What qualities seperate a relationship from one you glance at in reflection now and then, and the one you stay in and hold on to the best of times to make it through the worst? This is what I have been contemplating this week.