Yesterday I learnt that love was a song sung off-key but full of promises to love and cherish till that cliché of death do us part. And then I realised even death doesn’t do us part because the song continues to play, to tear you up with its music, cut you up into a thousand, million pieces till you smile at the world with tearful eyes and pretend an interest in living only for the moment.
I don’t know many couples who have been very happy together. They all fight. They all have disagreements that mean tears, cold silences, and confused explanations. They have bruised egos and they all experience a loss of control at least once – a psycho moment that becomes a relationship milestone. But they may decide to forgive. They may use that story and mock each other during dinner parties. They will sleep in separate bedrooms. But maybe some of them will make children together. They will teach the children and love them together, and try hard not to have favourites. They will plan family vacations that often end in recriminations, bitterness, and disappointments till they fantasise about going on vacations with their friends instead. They may decide they will never do a vacation together again but go on one the next year. Suddenly one of them dies and the one left back will dream of that song. A song that promises a land of love no matter what happens. A song that actually, in hindsight, did come true. A life was lived and loved. A lot happened. The stasis had meaning. The anger had fulfilment. Now a new life begins and a new memory is made. A promise to live only in the present and cherish the past. And engage in laughter.
Death doesn’t part us; it merely binds us together irrevocably.
Yesterday I got 64 love poems in a language that I do not comprehend a lot, much less read. And when we hugged to say bye and I cried – a little for him and a lot for me – he told me what his sister had told him. All relationships need work but if all you are doing in a relationship is working then it’s time to call it quits.
Going over the words he told me about forgiveness and letting it really go, I was angry. I felt misunderstood and yes, betrayed. The people outside love or hate or indifference always have a perspective. But only the people inside know the pain. And pain is an overriding impulse. Pain makes the world stand still and freezes moments, years, lives into nothing more than cold indifference where it is impossible to forgive, even if you have forgotten the details. Indifference may not give you perspectives but it does give you a semblance of peace.
As you grow older you know that even those who got you completely in the past no longer understand your motivations. You can feel married to a man because you feel you are so alike that you are one soul. You will divorce him after a separation of four years because you know you are no longer alike. You have continued to love but you are too different. Another two years and discussions of the nature of the soul begin to grate on your nerves. You are disappointed with each other’s paranoia, each other’s ways of understanding the world. You work hard to find a common ground but know that there is hardly anything except the memories. And the love – the vast wealth of love that still binds you together.
The love will make him cook you a meal even when he is disillusioned and depressed with the world. The love will make her go shopping with you after a back-breaking six-day working week when she doesn’t like to shop. And you will flirt with salesmen together and walk endlessly. He will give you a massage that will pain you more than it pleases you. You will know then that he doesn’t understand your pain. Maybe never. When they say good-bye and she lectures him worriedly about the way he lives his life, he will know that she will never understand why he needs to escape sometimes, maybe even often, like he does. Maybe never.
The truth is the longer you stay in a relationship the more disillusioned you are about life.
But the beauty is how irreplaceable you become to each other over time. When I asked him to translate the poems he said he would only do one. That way I would know that there would never be anyone like him in my life. I muttered angrily that it wasn’t something I needed to be reminded of.
Yesterday I felt the fear of losing my own life senselessly, meaninglessly, because someone is in a hurry to get somewhere and doesn’t care whom he tramples on the way. Nothing happened. It shook me. You can go on fancying yourself a nihilist but you are actually just a lover of life, after all. I tried to share the meaninglessness of existence or not with the one person who would not answer my call. You keep telling yourself that breaking up is easy especially when love is so painful. But you realise the moment the end draws near that you want nothing more than to keep going, maintaining the status-quo even if everyone in your world thinks it’s meaningless and futile.
Maintaining the status-quo is hardly worth the time and effort it takes. The love is far from perfect. Or even happy. There may never be another intimate moment together. There may never be a life together or the making of babies or even memories. Some days the phones may go unanswered sometimes. There may be psycho moments; hurtful, mean, and angry exchanges that will shake the foundation of life itself.
So yes, they will say that you must get out of it. And I would agree.
But this morning I learnt that love is all about giving, and taking, and forgiving, and moving on.
That my love is worth about INR 180.
I think I will take that.