Sunday, May 21, 2006

An Important Dessert

I have discovered an important distinction this week. The kind of thing that you didn’t know you didn’t get until something shined a light on its absence. For example: you love ice cream, you eat it whenever you can. Then one day someone gives you a nice mousse. Now you’ve never had mousse before and people have described it for you as cool but not as cold as ice cream and lighter than ice cream so you figure you have an idea about what to expect from mousse. But until you take that first spoonful and let it melt on your tongue, you really can’t say you know what mousse is like.

The important distinction that I suddenly see in high relief is the difference between loving at someone and loving with someone. It’s like someone handed me a bowl of mousse and asked “Now do you see how this is not the same as Ben and Jerry’s?” Yes, yes I see, sensei of frozen treat metaphors.

Examples from my past in the loving at paradigm parade before me like a slide show:

The selfish man who never asked me how my day was but filled our evenings with orations on the minutiae of his day.

The skier who said he’d teach me to ski so we could spend weekends together and then told he was tired of teaching his girlfriends to ski after I’d bought all the gear.

The Director who genuinely seemed to like me until a shinier, easier object came along and all my whispered prayers and fervent cute messages wouldn’t bring him back.

I’ll even say there is a mid category of loving near someone. Those where you both really have good intentions and there is perhaps great care between you but the threads that bind you aren’t strong enough to withstand the gales of maturation or even the breezes of doubt. Those ones where it could have worked out and you are even confused as to why it didn’t. There was nothing really wrong, per se. But time clouds how much was right; distorts it from mountains to molehills depending on how much you feel the need to chastise yourself at that moment of remembering.

Then there is the delicately whipped chocolate raspberry mousse of loving with. The one where you are both heading in the same direction. You both come to it with open hearts and sharing minds. You both think well yes, there may be things – there will be things that go out of whack and we’ll deal with them. You both take one hundred percent responsibility for the delicate newborn creature growing between you rather than waiting for the other to do their share. You feel a sense of freedom when you’re together; a sense of home. You don’t wonder if you are good enough or doing enough or perfect enough because there is that someone who loves you just as you are and it is a complete revelation. And the privilege of loving back in kind is thrilling. And the rest of your life is for discovery. And all those times you left the party alone, felt a gift go unappreciated, watched him kiss someone else – they all melt into dues paid and life lived. If this is what they lead to you wouldn’t change a single heartbreak.

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Anonymous Josh said...

Strangely I prefer ice cream to mousse. I wonder if, according to your analogy, that means I'm a masochist in relationships. I bet it does. Goddamnit, why didn't I acquire a more sophisticated palate as a child?

Anyhoo, despite the fact that I cannot personally relate to your sweet analogy (get it?), your observations are indeed very astute.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Chris Soth said...

and there news?

Or is it all theory?

6:05 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Only news is that I am a very happy blogger. Working on savoring the mousse and leaving it all up to the Universe. Could have used THAT lesson earlier!

12:26 PM  

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