Monday, September 14, 2009

crybaby



You know when you're in one of those moods where everything makes you cry? Maybe you're a little tired, or maybe you're weak from the flu, or maybe your heart suffered a blow and you've been crying anyway, so why not cry some more when, say, the winner of the Open falls to the court and starts sobbing after match point? Or when Beyoncé proves herself to be a class act above and beyond what anyone ever expected at an MTV event? Or when a ridiculously corny song comes on the radio and just seems to exactly and unbearably sum up your experience? (My classic example of this is when I was on vacation in Hawaii with Thom and Alex, right after Thom had suffered a devastating breakup. The three of us are sitting at a picnic table, eating shave ice, when a Gloria Estefan song comes over the loudspeaker. The first verse isn't even over, and Thom is already up and hurrying away, clearly sobbing. Alex and I look at each other and say, simultaneously, "Gloria Estefan? Really?" That was the clue that led us to realize what bad shape Thom was in. As Amanda says in Private Lives, "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.")

For me, today's waterworks instigator was coming across this passage from The Little Prince, a book that, like The Velveteen Rabbit, can make me cry even when there's not a copy within a mile; all I have to do is picture the fox, asking the Prince to tame him... or the poor rabbit, ashamed that he has no hind legs like the real rabbits... oh oh oh!

A-nee-way, here's the passage:

And he confided further, "In those days, I didn't understand anything. I should have judged her according to her actions, not her words. She perfumed my planet and lit up my life. I should never have run away! I ought to have realized the tenderness underlying her silly pretensions. Flowers are so contradictory! But I was too young to know how to love her."

There are many ways in which this quote from The Little Prince does not at all parallel my situation (for instance, I am not a rose), but when one is weepy, a shortage of parallels is no hurdle to complete identification with another's sadness, especially if this sadness is in one of the great tear-jerker books of all time.

If you're a reasonably good between-the-lines reader, perhaps you can make a rough guess as to the source of my current weepy state. Yes, dear reader, I have a bit of a heartache. I may driven someone away with my "silly pretensions," and I may have lost a chance at what could have been a good thing.

This would normally be the part of the essay where I would try to come up with some wanderings on this subject, accompanied by some interesting and insightful gleanings, perhaps a bit of profundity on the nature of love and loss, along with maybe a funny line or anecdote, and then wrap everything up in a brilliantly deft maneuver that would pack an emotional wallop (note that I said "try to come up with"). Nothing is presenting itself at the moment.

It's tough to think up something original to say about romantic disappointment. After all, it's been covered, oh, here and there, over the years, with various heroines pitching themselves in front of trains or off of towers, a double suicide in iambic pentameter, a hero running through the desert to try to get help for his beloved, who he left in a cave after the plane crash, but then the British soldiers thought he was a spy and dragged him off in chains, and then he jumped off the train and commandeered a plane to get back to the cave, but it was too late... {*sob*}

So, really, what is there left to say about heartache? Basically, it hurts like mad, you try to get through the worst of it as best you can, you try to take something from it that will help you on your journey, and hopefully, you don't let it scar too badly. Because apparently, we need to keep trying, for reasons the Little Prince's fox can express much more eloquently than I:

"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."

26 comments:

  1. Siobhan, did he/she/IT have blond hair by chance?

    The heart is a filthy rapacious beast. It's best to take a hot bath followed by a cold shower and THEN begin your serious lamentations.

    It gets easier with time.

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 'you may have driven away'....hope
    my heart is with you. -moni-e

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry for your loss, Siobhan, and a beautiful post in spite of it. May sunnier days lie ahead, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry for your loss, Siobhan, and a beautiful post in spite of it. May sunnier days lie ahead, friend.
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  5. The heart is a filthy rapacious beast. It's best to take a hot bath followed by a cold shower and THEN begin your serious lamentations.
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  6. There are many ways in which this quote from The Little Prince does not at all parallel my situation (for instance, I am not a rose), but when one is weepy, a shortage of parallels is no hurdle to complete identification with another's sadness, especially if this sadness is in one of the great tear-jerker books of all time.
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  7. Hey, come here for a second
    I don’t like the way he treats you
    He doesn’t deserve you
    He really don’t

    What kind of man
    Would leave you standing in the cold
    Must’ve been a silly one
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  8. Your faithful lover
    Soon as I get home, soon as I get home from work
    Girl, I'll treat you right
    And I'll never lie
    For all that it's worth
    I give good love (good love, good love, good love, good love)
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  9. What kind of man
    Would leave you standing in the cold
    Must've been a silly one
    To sacrifice a pot of gold
    You're the kind of woman
    That needs a man that's always there
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  10. Soon as I get home, soon as I get home from work
    Girl, I'll treat you right
    And I'll never lie
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    I give good love (good love, good love, good love, good love)
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