Went to see Lily last night. She was busy painting a chair green and blue with plans to finish it by painting a palm on the backrest to make it really special for an auction for her daughter’s parents’ association annual bash. I love that she’s so creative. Right now, I have a candle burning in an old coffee can that she’d burned holes in to make this gorgeous design before giving it to me as an impromptu gift. She has this way of making simple things beautiful that just humbles me.
Lily and I had just gotten started with our weekly “so what have you been doing” when Dog pushed open her door and barreled in all wagging tail and gleeful barks. He had followed my scent over to her place after having gotten through the front door that I must have left cracked and through the front gate, that I must have left unlatched.
He’s got some severe separation anxiety going on. I came home yesterday to find my bed destroyed, and it’s like he’s super glued to my hip. What a weirdo! Not sure what’s up with him. I’m fairly certain the breeder’s guarantee didn’t come with a neurosis clause, so I suppose I’m stuck with him now…
I got back over to Lily’s after walking Stalker Dog home, and she told me about the radio show she’s doing and the other stuff she’s been up to before we got to the topic of relationships. She told me about what was going on with her guy. I told her about The Man and that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing but that I was having fun.
And that’s about the time she paid me the highest compliment ever. She said we were just alike. Yeah, I wish. She’s so cool.
In class tonight, we critiqued a story written by this 20-something man in my class. In his story, he explored love affairs at different stages. There was a couple who were dating, a newlywed couple, two people who had been long married and just finished raising their children, and then an elderly couple.
This guy’s story conveyed such a negative view on relationships. All the couples were screwed up or on the way to being screwed up. The author is so nice, but his take on relationships just made me sad. I really wanted to be wrong about his story. So I told him what I thought he was trying to say, and, dammit, he said I was right.
He said that people settle and stay in relationships because it’s easier than starting over. And, you know, some people do. But relationships evolve. And what may appear on the outside as “settling” may in fact just be ebb and flow. You have to know going in that you probably will not always be in love. (I mean, who could possibly sustain that?) But as long as there’s still love, isn’t that what counts?
I don’t believe that the quality of a relationship can, or should, be judged by a person who’s not a part of it. Often, it’s the things that outsiders aren’t privileged to see, and couldn’t possibly understand, that make a relationship work. Whether it’s being with the person who can make you feel cared for just by resetting the timer on the coffee maker for you the night before you have to get up extra early or being lucky enough to get to wake up every morning with the person who can make your heart beat faster just by squeezing your hand, all relationships will ebb and flow. But if you’re willing to stay, even when it’s going through a particularly long ebb,.. Well, that’s more about being convinced than it is about settling, isn’t it?
So I told this man, with the dim view of love and any possibility of a happy long-term commitment that I hoped someday, someone would prove him wrong.
And, you know what? He told me that he hoped that I was right.