"But this kind of love also knows it’s own rapacious madness. And so must live as fast and fully as it can. It must spend everything. Spare nothing. There can be no sense or reason to it. No time for reality or awkward truth; no space in which to consider. Pain and hurt gather like storms on its vortex. Yet still such lovers contrive to lead each other further and further away from the world, from the duties and considerations that come to compromise our lives, from the things we need for our fundamental sanity and survival. there is no road back and the bridges are forever burning. And when the end comes, it is terrible and absolute because there can be nothing left, no friendship, no future, nothing. Everything must be destroyed in order to outlive it. Otherwise it will reincarnate itself- more virulent, more demanding, more urgent."
Edward Doux, Obsessive Love, Vogue, March 2008.
Ah love. We don’t talk about it much. Not really. Not truthfully. We can’t. Mustn’t. Mostly because we cannot make sense of our own experience of it without dramatising it, draping it in Hollywood pathos or perhaps worst of all, diminishing it’s importance in shaping our lives.
I was in love once. That terrible thing, in love. For four deranged months at the end of 2006. Go through the archives and you will mark us… In love, that heady, demented destructive kind of love that Edward Doux so eloquently describes above. Just once in my thirty six years on this planet.
I don’t talk about it, because there isn’t any point: it doesn’t make any sense, you weren’t there. My best friend wasn’t there. My Mum wasn’t there. And now I don’t even let myself think about it, I try not to let it possess me in case yearning for it, for him, for us, brings me to my knees all over again. Because how am I to compare fifteen years of caring for somebody, of committing my life to him- with four short months of terrible, soul destroying bliss with someone else to which nothing, no-one, will ever compare? Should something enduring, pure and familiar be compared to something wasted, yet so fully lived? Enduring love brings responsibility, children, bricks and mortar. The other kind, merely heartbreaking destruction we will crave for the rest of our lives. The kind of love that says come with me: move your world to be with me. We, this, is all that matters. And then implodes upon itself, leaving a stupid gap inside us forever after. Leaving us feeling a bit silly. Like we gave too much and can never have it back.
I’m not stupid. I understand that love, the enduring kind, is what makes the world go around. That it is what Valentines Day is all about: a hallmark celebration of I forget to tell you how much I love you and hey you know what I could love you forever and a day. And I also understand that the obsessive, crazy kinda love is temporary by necessity: that it exists to show us our best selves, to dazzle us for a while and leave us all the better for it. But that in its midst it is blood and guts and you are the only person I’ve ever told, not hearts, flowers or even chocolate lollipops. No pink slush ever that raw.
Why am I telling you this? Perhaps because I can’t tell him. Because I read Edward Doux in this months Vogue this morning and remembered…
Because it’s Valentines Day and I know what it is to have been in love. And more than that I know what it is to have been part of the kind of love that builds walls and raises children. I know why it matters.