I turn 32 today. My partner was sweet enough to promise me this morning that when I soon enter the geriatric ward and start to lose my senses he will pretend to be Harry Dresden and move things around my room when I’m not looking then say it was magic. He’s a keeper.
I work with people who have cognitive degenerative diseases. Recently I had to go through the belongings of an individual and stumbled upon romantic correspondences he’d received from a woman in the 70s. The intimate details of her side of their story were laid out in lovely cursive script on stationary paper. They were intermingled with letters from relatives, and I soon found myself excited when I saw her familiar handwriting on the outside of an envelope so I could read the next chapter of their story.
Long story short, they’d fallen madly in love while working together right after she’d separated from her husband. She had to move back to her family for financial support, and they did not approve of her having relations at all outside of marriage, much less with an older man. She rejected his proposal, stating she wanted to go back to school and pursue her independence. A few years later there was another letter, making it seem maybe they had briefly reconnected.
I’ll never know the ending of their story. He is rapidly declining and losing more of his memory every day. I looked her up online and found she’d passed away last year. This is not one of those stories where long lost love is reunited. Their story is preserved only on the pages in a box found in a back corner of a closet.
Hearing this tale makes me feel sad that their story is all but forgotten. The excitement they felt when the scandal arose at work. Her brave rebellion to be with a man before her divorce was even finalized. His agony when she moved across the country then denied his proposal. Her fierce determination to make her way on her own during a time when women were still expected to be baby-making house wives. How many stories like this are out there slowly fading away to distant memory?
When you’re in the mind-blowing thralls of passion, it’s impossible to imagine a relationship ending, much less being forgotten forever. The energy of a new relationship is impossible to maintain so most relationships do end or stagnate. The memories of the beginning become dulled by heartbreak or time.
Some might ask what’s the point of it all if love will just end. Is the potential reward worth the inevitable cost? I say hell yes. Maybe I’m biased because I’m enjoying the good parts right now. Perhaps a day will come when I will read these words and curse my past self and her happiness. However, when I see people who have no memories of their lives, the thrill of success or disappointment of failure, the comfort of true connection or subsequent loss of thereof, the feeling of adventure when you try something new or familiarity of a favorite book, I’m thankful for all the memories, good and bad, that play like old movies in my head.
Love does not come with any promises so when you find it, thank your lucky stars and enjoy the ride. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave feedback.