There we were.
Young, open, bursting with theories and ideologies on life, and quite certain that we would do things differently. Different in comparison to what? No one really knew; so we said, “Everything, why limit ourselves?”
And how would we do that? We didn’t know about that either. I guess we were just waiting for someone to show us the way, though we really didn’t think we needed a guide, and we sure as hell weren’t singing Lead Kindly Light.
Then somewhere in the third year of studying literature together we were assaulted by this one man who knew it all. He said things that we always knew and said it exactly the way one of us would have. Here was a man (a man, mind you) talking about the sanctity of relationships, of the hollowness of the world, of apathy, of spiritual sterility, of knowing it all but being nothing, of emptiness, of aridity, of loss of identity, of failed relationships, lies, truths, betrayals and meaningless sex…
Birth. And copulation. And death. That is all.
And how could we, young girls in early 20s all going through bad phases in relationships (not necessarily sexual), and our everyday battles to understand the world, to (oh hell, however corny it sounds, it is true) change the world, at least our immediate world, not understand, or know, or care?
Most of us embraced Eliot. Some of us decided to worship him. There were those who said, “Oh he’s too heavy, his works are too long, how much he writes, we have to study him for an exam?” And we pitied them from the bottom of our hearts, knowing that they were not the chosen ones. Life had taught them little. Poor souls.
And since we were so inspired by Eliot, we wanted to make that difference in our lives. That ours would not be a life of superficiality, we would have only meaningful relationships. We’d measure our lives with more than coffee spoons. We’d measure it by the friends we still kept in touch with, (we weren’t going to forget each other just because we got to be something as mundane as busy, oh no, not us) with the men we slept with, not because they were there and we wanted them for two minutes of pleasure (if that, really) but because they meant something to us. And that there were connections. Like we had, with each other.
We could complete thoughts, however clichéd that sounds. And we could often enough, look at each other and know what song was playing in the other’s mind, what opinion she had on the person we’d just met, how she would treat the waiter, the automan, the shopkeeper. It was a heady sense of knowing. Whoever said ignorance is bliss, doesn’t know the orgasmic delight of knowledge. (Likely, I’ll counter-argue this in another post, but for now, this is true.)
And now, what is it? Four years? Five? Eight? Ten?
Eliot’s coming home in newer ways. There is the I can connect nothing with nothing. And the refusal to move a finger to change perceptions, to have that one chat that will draw blood, tears, love, and harsh words in equal measure, and perhaps redeem us somewhat in our own eyes. We might for once, see the truth of ourselves and stumble upon some terrible beauty. But we don’t want that. We don’t want Julia or Dr. Reilly or Alex to meet us in a Cocktail Party when all we want to do is forget that it’s all different now. And drink the damn cocktail because really life has been stressful and the day particularly bad.
We still love Eliot, we adore him, we worship his work, we understand it, and we are exactly like those characters that we didn’t want to be like. That we’d pledged we’d never be like. Eliot is part of our psyche. Still. But not in the way we wanted him to be. Orange. Green. Yellow. Purple. Pink. Blue. The colours have all become watery and pale and do not inspire, do not involve enough.
And despite the best of intentions, (yes, the intentions are still good, perhaps, the only honest thing about us) we make meaningless conversations, exchange warm embraces that offer cold comfort when we do meet, and refuse strictly to keep in touch often because we don’t really want to know what we have become. That Eliot has failed us. That we have failed ourselves. That the change has not been for the best.
At least, we still sleep with men who matter. And that there, there is some pleasure. There is at least that, one hopes.
P. S. Ironically enough, this is just one of the many superficial posts that you will be subjected to; belles-lettres if you will, like Blue Funk is (for those who’ve been nagged to review it). No need to accuse me of being intense. I hate that adjective unless I like it in a particular context. And that is something only one person can testify to, so far. So there.