Monday, August 07, 2006

738 pages + one weekend

MArt finally received my letter in the mail. He had waited three weeks and loved it immensely. The vanilla-scented parchment planted him on the couch, and he told me he just sat there, with it still on the coffee table, before reading a word.

And I was wrong. The letter ended: "You make me want to live the farce, and for that, I love you." It was farce, not facade, for the prior is much more apt. Play the fool to want the fool, as I like to say.

***

Here's to a happy birthday to my mom. The family's currently cavorting gaily in Los Angeles. Pfft, like I care; I have all the pollution I can handle in Beijing.

***

Is it more dreadful to think you love someone or love them only when they are there? This is a question I've been battling with between my occasional bouts of existential-driven anxiety attacks. (While gnawing on a drumstick, sober: "I'm repeating the actions of early man ... but eating the descendent of a dinosaur! Woah!")

These past couple of months, I've experienced first-hand the accusations normally thrown at the opposite sex. When MArt said he loved me as he ran out the door one day, I pretended it was a fluke and told him to have fun on his weekend trip. Days passed, maybe weeks, when he casually reprimanded me for saying it on the phone. "Accidentally," he teased.

At first I faithfully denied it. But when he persisted, playing along soon succumbed to acceptance. Whatever, I thought. He wants to believe what he heard; it was headed that direction anyway.

Maybe it's because we haven't known each other for all that long and being away from him only accentuates my apathy towards this relationship. I still conduct myself as a single woman because nothing seems to be more important to me -- right now -- than indulgent abandon. But that's much too simple (and frankly, cliched).

Or maybe I am emphasizing too much with the female lead in de Beauvoir's roman a clef, The Mandarins. Besides the misanthropic Nadine and the pathetic Paula (two pictures of love as a martyr too disappointing to enjoy), I felt an eerie affinity with Anne (de Beauvoir's alter-ego). Only ... it's the her as she appears to Lewis Brogan (Nelson Algren), not Dubreuilh (Jean-Paul Sartre). Known as the only other significant affair de Beauvoir had in her life, her relationship with Algren is minutely detailed for the pleasure of -- one supposes -- her own sake. I absorbed those passages hungrily as if I were reading my own diary. She wrote my mind, she spoke my words, and I felt noticeably agitated when certain thoughts digressed from my own. No, no, I'd think as I got tangled in the lines. It didn't happen like that! Not that way. And he wouldn't have said what he said. Nor would have I. But it did happen like that, and I was once again parked between the pages, forced to adapt to an unknowable past.

I never considered my relationship with MArt to be especially "passionate." It is wonderful beyond description, but doubtfully passionate. (Then again, if it is strictly associated with the primordial act, then -- in his own words -- we have a-plenty.) Yet, from what I gather, the way it has matured is really an anomally: a path less taken, a hidden ditch. It is not everyday -- or so they say -- that defenses crumble and continue without assurances, and naturally take root for naught. So I'll take their word for it, and recognize that what I have is pretty darn special. Not worry so much about the present, and chuck away the plan.

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