Lovers everywhere speak the same language.
“I love the way you smell.”
“I want to kiss your eyebrows, your lips, your hair, and your armpits.”
“I miss the way your head felt heavy on my chest.”
“Why are you so beautiful?”
“I want to see you smile.”
“I need to make you cum.”
There’s a rush to language, to loqaciousness, to let ourselves, and everyone in the world know that we together have invented this most common language all by ourselves.
Lovers, newly in love, are entirely smug.
The universe has chosen to bestow this delight, this meaningful gift on us. That’s why we tag and like and follow each other on social media. We sign up for their favourite music and say we have discovered a new, glorious world, even when we don’t understand the songs. “It touches me deep. I don’t need to know the words, you know? I can feel it.” We say stuff like this. We hum their favourite songs. We smell their clothes in their absence. Like every other lover before us.
But the language of loss is complicated. Here words fail. Here the attempt is to hide, seek solace in silence. It has gravitas. It includes the stares into nothingness, the sudden startle when someone acknowledges our existence, the five stages of grief, picking at scabs, self-loathing, self-pity, a desire to self-harm, and self-destruct.
Jilted lovers, recently bereaved or betrayed, are entirely isolated and hence proud.
The universe has chosen to bestow this suffering, this needless drama on us. We need to reverse the process now. We keep our distance. We unfollow, unlike, untag ourselves from their lives. We quit all media if we are very determined. We unsubscribe from their brand of music. Our grief needs no sadder song. Our pain no new reminder. We uncouple consciously. Like every heartbroken person before us.
And then we start the process of building ourselves again, one layer at a time, one day at a time, one new nondescript memory at a time until we have risen to become someone, altogether, else again.
Lovers newly in love can’t see beyond themselves.
We do good to show how much better we are (compared to others) to our partners.
When we are assholes, it’s to demonstrate how much the world has misunderstood and devalued us. And it is only this love, this person who truly understands us, whom we can depend on.
“Can I really depend on you, on this?” We ask each other – hopeful, tearful, full of smug pathos.
Through all the artifice love demands, we lose all humanity.
“Your power over me is stronger than mine over you. That’s how much I love you. I don’t want to live a day without you. If you left me, I would die.”
That’s how lovers are made.
Jilted lovers can’t see beyond the grief.
It stuns and cripples us with its suddeness. It’s violent and explosive, an earthquake under the ocean. We have the onerous task of keeping face. “What a fascinating story. Your boss said that! No really.” But we are dead inside. Everything in us is decaying. We die everyday, a little each time. We lose interest, trust, all humanity. We have no sense of power. In death, there’s a great levelling. We start again as single-celled amoebas and try to evolve. That’s the process of endings and betrayal. That’s how loss is experienced.
Both love and loss end, eventually, for everybody.
It’s the gift of life.
The lover’s delicious quirks become irritants. The armpits smell. The kisses are dutiful. We realise they are neither as clever, nor beautiful, nor important as we once thought. We are finally free. We are now uniquely, individually ourselves. We may adjust to this and stay in the relationship, but we have moved on.
Loss ends on a laugh that flows one day effortlessly. Loss ends in a task done with enthusiasm, and a story shared with interest. We wake up one day, and that heavy pain in the chest is gone. We are finally free. We are now uniquely, individually ourselves.
We have finally moved on.
Such is life.
But sometimes the love doesn’t end, even if the lovers have. Such a love has no name, no meaning, no encouragement, no substance, no basis anymore, even if once it had all this.
We sometimes romanticise it and call it submission, or call it piety. We will use this grand but meaningless word, say it’s unconditional.
But what it is, is really horror and shame.
That’s the shame adulteresses were made to embroider on their bosoms in New England.
It’s the horror of having missed the memo on how to live and thrive in this farcical world.
It’s embarrassing for the entire universe.
When the power ends, when love’s games are exhausted, when we have been betrayed and discarded, time and again, what do we mean by saying we care, we still love?
If Krishna didn’t simultaneously replicate himself for Radha and all the Gopis and all the wives, do we really think any of the raas-leela would have happened?
Raas-leela needed participation, connection, and involvement. It needed Krishna to see and convince each of those women that they were indeed his most beloved mate. It was sustained through their vision, but it needed his sight.
We don’t clap with one hand.
That’s not how life is lived.
Life is lived by conforming to the practical, unstated rules of love and loss that talk about lying, loving, grieving, and moving on.
A life is lived with lies to preserve the self, but mostly to preserve life. Life is lived through big and small deceptions that carry humanity forward, like love, like sex, like progeny.
Life is about humanity because neither love nor loss make us better, wholesome, valuable people.
They help no one.
Life only values itself.
So we are never told to value love more than life itself.
Only in literature perhaps, to teach a lesson.
Only fools read a warning as a way of life.
Only fools do that.
And no one cares for fools.
And fools speak no language.
And without language, there is no intelligence nor any artifice.
This horrific, primitive, crude honesty is not what life or learning is.
So there is only mute suffering. Richly deserved.