the water got high and she never got dry

Thursday, February 16, 2006

only when we get to see the aerial view

will the patterns show
we'll know what to do
i know the last page so well
i can't read the first
-nada surf

When thinking about remembering, forgetting and the cycles of love, I think of that scene at the end of Pleasantville where Joan Allen is sitting on a bench and one minute it's Jeff Daniels beside her and the next it's William H. Macy. At the time I thought nothing of it, I just interpreted it as the ambiguity of which man she might choose and the pleasure of having that choice.

But the image has stuck with me as capturing the kind of déjà vu when you meet someone new and start all over again, how sometimes everything in the scene appears the same except for the leading man and how it feels like it happens so quickly.

I think we forget just enough and remember just enough of what love was like the last go-round to make us willing to take the plunge again. The heart is very good at justifying itself, in a Jedi mind trick sort of way. It can downplay the joy you felt with someone else and remember each and every flaw of theirs, so to better appreciate how right the new love feels.

And it conveniently whisks away the memories of how much it hurt the last time things crashed and burned, or how it wasn't a sudden fiery mangling of flesh and steel, but a slow, sad descent from love as a haven to love as an old and bad habit.

These are not the painful memories you are looking for.

A consequence of all this memory sleight-of-hand and reconstruction of the past is that you start to wonder what was real. Time has not been kind to the way I think of the ex-boy, especially compared to how I used to think of him and compared to how I feel about the Boy, who sets an almost unfairly high standard of everything a boy should be.

So sometimes I've wondered, was any of it real? The way I used to feel about him? Did I love him? Was he worth loving? More importantly, does it even matter? Love and life just keep cycling through and I'm slowly learning to stop looking back so much.

Whatever it is that I need to hold onto from the past will stick with me of its own accord and everything else will fall away like so much clutter in periodic bouts of spring cleaning, with some of it swept into the trash and some of it set aside to be recycled.

but when you hold me like you do
it feels so right
i start to forget
how my heart gets torn
when that hurt gets thrown
feeling like you can't go on

turning circles when time again
it cuts like a knife, oh yeah
if you love me got to know for sure
'cause it takes something more this time
-david gray

2 Old Comments:

I've had some of those thoughts and pondered my feelings. The truth is that we felt the best of what we understood that feeling to be at that time based on environment, circumstance, experience and how we personally felt about ourselves. Looking back, often what we thought we felt, isn't what it was.

By Blogger NML, at 5:05 AM  

I think you are so right, nml. I've kept going back and forth about whether the ex was a good guy or not and I've realised all that matters is what I thought back then and that it's already done and over with.

By Blogger felicity, at 11:47 AM