As we grow older, we lose the lust for external journey. We begin to journey inwards. Maybe one day too we will lose our desire for sex and make love instead, slowly, deeply and meaningfully. Love is growing old together; it is not an emotion but a lifetime construction.
On clear nights wherever we are in the world, my partner and I would often drag old blankets outdoors and sit there watching stars. We often discuss books. I rather think he began taking an interest in literature as an entree into my world, for I love reading. Our latest joint read is Yuval Noah Harari’s deep book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind:
“It is in the nature of men to be restless,” he mused. “Maybe that’s why we fight. I never quite got the hang of domesticity. It suffocates me.”
I felt an argument brewing up. Yes, we fight excessively about green smoothies, bone broths, drinking enough water, clean clothes. “Do you feel like I’ve trapped you?’
He looked at me in surprise. “No, I made the choice, Jac. Though I have not killed the restlessness. That is a part of my psyche that I have to live with. Maybe all men have it, but just do not acknowledge it. Maybe that is the source of many arguments in the home, hey?”
He grinned at me. “You wrote about it, twice! In Wonderland and in Catching Infinity. Remember?”
I sighed. He seems to remember the words in my books more than I. Perhaps it is because I often read to him what I wrote. And yes, I did write that movement is life. I wrote about a man who journeyed 8,181 miles to Oxford find an answer about the universe. I wrote about the passage of time.
“I made the choice, Jac,” he said forcefully. “Even when I had felt like running away, which I have, many times, I did not.”
I looked at him in surprise. “I do, too. Feel like running away, I mean. You’re a difficult man to share a life with. But here I am, by your side, instead of chasing another way of life.”
We both have 100 reasons to leave each other, but somehow, the one reason to stay overrode the other 99. My one reason was Battersea Bridge on a dark, winter’s night in November. I was so sad then, and he had pointed out the houseboats on the Thames to me and talked about a future. I did not believe him then, that these heavy defeated and suicidal feelings of mine would ever lift, but he was right, they did. They are NOTHING today.
I found the words of Harari for him:
“The real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a state of constant tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction.”
Pursuit or running away from or chasing those ephemeral feelings give rise to the roots of unhappiness. Always wanting what you don’t have. Always chasing, even if it is only in the mind. The restlessness IS nature. Love has to be kind to this restlessness, know it, honour it, and then embrace it, so that we stay and live another day with each other. Those temporary feelings will past with time: be it of anger, sadness, lust. I wrote a book about it.
Don’t deny your restlessness, because according to Sigmud Freud, “when we neglect unexpressed emotions, they will come forth in uglier ways.” Love is when it feels better to stay than to run away.
“Your hands are the part of you I loved first,” I said. “Then your breath. From your hands and your breath, both which never faltered even when you were under duress, I glimpsed your spirit. And then when I got to know you, your heart dances to the same beat as mine.”
“Maybe we should be restless together,” he suggested. ‘Two lives in one.”
Love in the past is only a memory
Love in the future is only a fantasy
The love that is tangible and real, that is right beside you, is here and now. STAY.
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