« What to do with a Sunny Thursday | UnPause »

If I loved you

March 31, 2006 | Category: In My Life

They did "Carousel" at my high school, junior year. I liked to build things, so I crewed it.

The story of a brute of a man, who in this era would be plastered in restraining orders and a long rap sheet, who falls in love with a sweet, kind woman. Of course. She gentles him, he inspires her to marry well below her prospects. Then she's left a single mom who spends the rest of her life pining for the dead guy who never treated her quite well in the first place.

It's like a Law and Order episode. Only, set to music. With a merry-go-round.

Oy, and that music. Check it out sometime. My personal favorite was "June is Busting Out All Over" - but that's because I had a friend named June who, at that time, was indeed busting out. Ahem. Drove her nutty when I hummed it.


My bitchiness aside, the worst of it all is the cliche-driven "If I loved you". One of those declarative ballads all about how I love you but I don't. Get it?

And of course, I thought I was in love at the time.

I wasn't.

I asked him to sing that song to me.

He wouldn't.

I was so very sad, because I so very, very much wanted to be that girl. The one some guy is agonizing over. The one he says "I Love You" too in that strangled, sincere voice.

Hey, I was 15. Give me a break.

And he so didn't love me.

The guy when I was 27 didn't love me, either. We were walking, holding hands, out to the pier at Pratt Beach. It was night, and warm. Lots of people out, under a full moon that almost felt like day.

He leaned in to whisper something in my ear, our bodies bumping as we walked, and some guy steps of the pier. Drunk or high and loving life.

"Hey! You guys in love?" he asked as we passed.

I smiled, but my date shook his head. "No," he answered. "We're just friends."

Yeah, well. Loose interpretation of friendship aside - he was right. But it made me sad the way he said it so easily and casually. Like, "no way, dude". I look back at that moment and wished I'd listened - and left.

For all the times I thought it was love, I was wrong a lot.

One of the things that Jane Austen novels and popular television dramas and Saturday afternoon theater tickets DO teach - Love is more precious than that. It should be sacred, you know? Cliches and bad lyrics aside - It should be rare. It should grip a soul, and make you gasp out loud.

Anna of Between Stupid and Clever described something the other day as "I feel like I've ridden the train through the tunnel long enough: it's worth staying on a little longer to see what might happen on the other side."

That's how my marriage has felt for a long time. Lost were all those feelings of ticklish lust and dizzy admiration. I was surviving. My worry lines carved deeper, my body swelling, my heart squeezing. My partner was ill, and I was carrying him and our son as well and...

Sometimes at night I would wonder if I still loved him.


I cried in my therapist's office, begging her to tell me if I was numb or if my love for him was truly dead.

But I didn't know, and I didn't know how to know.

I fought back my own memories of love and the temptation to surrender to the terror that I might be in a marriage with someone I would never love again.

One of the reasons I left Mega was for this very reason. A choice. It enraged him at first, when I explained it.

That if I didn't stop martyring myself and build something new and equal and healthy with him that our marriage would die.

But I think he's beginning to see. As I fall apart, finally. As he steps forward, more and more.

Love isn't dumb musical plots. It wasn't that guy who wasn't deep enough to know better. It isn't Jane Austen novels or the first guy who really kissed me, either. And yet, Love is what inspires all of that.

I used to confuse the sentiment with the reality.

I'm wiser now.

Love was CD, tonight, collating my family's calendar. The one a dozen people are waiting for but that I have just had disaster after disaster trying to get done. Around and around our dining table as I watched, curled up on the couch. Heading back to the office with a sigh to keep fixing misprinted pages. And back again to collate some more.

And then as I looked at him, sad and lost. He said "I want you, Elizabeth."

"Body and soul? " I teased.

"Body and soul," he promised.

And something else was healed, between us. I want to walk with him, up at Pratt Street Beach. I want that guy to show up.

I have a new answer for him.

Share: Delicious Delicious! | Stumble It! | Slashdot  Slashdot It!
Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life


I'm so sorry I missed this post, Elizabeth - I've been at home with my sick little one ... but wow, this is so amazing that you have come to this point on your journey. I wonder how you did it? Because I am so far from that point.

Enjoy your recaptured love!

Posted by: Monica C. on April 3, 2006 02:02 PM

That's wonderful - you've been going through this tunnel for a while, and I'm so glad that you're getting through to the other side. Congratulations, to you and CD both.

Posted by: alice on March 31, 2006 04:42 PM

Its like 4:30 in the morning, I've been up since 3:30 and you are going to make me cry. I just can't decide how much is because I'm sleep deprived and how much is because of how wonderful your entry was. More you than me, I think.

Here's wishing you a weekend filled with love. You know what? I couldn't be more firmly convinced that you deserve it.

Posted by: rp on March 31, 2006 03:52 AM