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Nothing to It December 1, 2000
But seriously, what do lovers do? Where do they go?
by Alan Varty
I would have given her the best years of my life but I was saving them for a rainy day. When she left I shouted after her, 'Go if you must but leave me your leather boots.'
Love, there's nothing to it.
Where do all the lovers go, apart from bed?
We pin down the big things in our lives with specific objects. Happiness? Yeah well there was that Thursday afternoon we spent walking on the deserted beach and you found the abalone shell. Ambition? What - a big desk in a big office, a big house, a big car, a big check. Youth? Those funny clothes you can't get into anymore, those black things that go round and round that you listened to with someone else. And love? Love is leather boots.
People can pin you down too. She entered my life in one of those naked moments when the everyday appearances we show the world drop to the floor. When that happens to someone, you pretend you didn't notice. And then you pick her up.
What do lovers do? They don't do anything do they? (Apart from in bed). They don't build anything, they don't go out for a date, do their garden, or do weights. They don't decorate or help the poor. Not through choice: when you're lovers it's mandatory that you busy yourselves doing nothing. You let go. You slacken your grip on reality. Lovers do nothing, that's the test: nothing can be as important as the two of you. There's the shopping of course. And the rest - that's your ticket to ride.
No one can be lovers before they've eaten. I remember our first meal well. I sneezed into her soup and she played with my salami. Which was a shame - the soup went all over her dress and she always dressed well. She bought a new smile every week when we first started seeing each other. Then I had to buy them. We were perfect: we went together like marriage and divorce, one following the other. Here's a tip: you always think you're the one who's leading. When you're certain, that's when your relationship is about to end.
But seriously, having nowhere to go is the cue for the credits to go up on your relationship, a sign to the people around you, the audience, that the show is over. The lights go on, you've got to get up and go home. There's a part written in every break-up for someone to say, 'The signs were obvious, how couldn't you see?'
Yes, you see the problems. Life is full of problems. Problems are the stuff of life and they've gotten bad press. To be in a relationship is to have problems. The only way not to have problems is not to be in a relationship. And then you have problems.
I went to the doctor. It had to be a medical problem. I said, 'Doctor, doctor, every time I'm with a woman doing, you know, an intimate thing and everything is going along great and then whoosh - all of a sudden it's over.'
These problems are the bonds that lovers have between them. You learn. You learn that to get close to someone you have to keep your distance. There can be lots of bonds between you as long as there's plenty of space.
Everybody loses love and, even if you've thrown it away, it drives you mad that you don't know where you put it. You tell yourself that if only you knew when you lost it, then you might know why. You find yourself looking for it as though it might turn up under a cushion, and then you can pounce on it and say 'Aha! There you are!'
Lovers don't jump off the edge. They hide under cushions. It's hard to find them though because - it's a national scandal - lovers are disappearing every day. Before your very eyes. It's an established fact: The more you look the less you see. Practice should make perfect. But you're never going to be perfect: perfect is what you started with (that naked moment).
Where do lovers go? Round in circles like dancers on a ballroom floor? No, when you really know them they go round and round the still center of their love like 45s or CDs. Because how can you sustain that first rapture? You can't. But you can't leave it either.
That's not a complaint, it's just an attempt to look at the nature of love. Maybe lovers don't go anywhere. Maybe it's love that goes. You fill in your space and it's gone.
In today's world with New Love you just move on. The nature of 'nothing' has changed. Now it comes with a fast-forward. With New Love people don't expect to stay together. Instead of standing behind them we put our partners behind us. Like the doctor said to me: 'It's a common problem son. You're suffering from premature relationship.' I'm a premature relationship-or. My relationships are over before they begin.
Where do lovers go? When you move from the sublime there's only one place to go. Down the line to the ridiculous. Taking the break-up like a man, I'm out there trying to bond with my car when she tells me. 'There's nothing to say,' she says, saying it all; mouthing four words that stand in place of the endless emptiness we call nothing.
How do you deal with an expression of nothing? You know the experience - when the space at the center of your relationship suddenly expands and takes over. And instead of going round and round it you hurtle back into the real world, though for a while all you can do is look out of the window and watch life passing by.
When does this happen? When you see through the trick and discover that where you're going isn't important and that all there is to your relationship is what you both bring to it.
When you see through the lifecycle of relationships the real trick is not to fall off.
I was waiting for someone better to come along.
Don't worry, there's nothing to it: people come and go.
But leather boots last forever.
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