[Originally a “note” on the Book of Face, this post was first written on November 19th, 2009 . Blame it on the weekly wander last night through Target (where Valentine’s Day appears to be on steroids), I’ve had too much time lately to think about love and the way it can make us feel. It drove me back to this quote, and this thought. And then, I felt better.]
I’m reading a new book these days; one by a guy named Michael Perry. It’s not surprising that I should be reading something, but perhaps Truck: A Love Story isn’t what you’d imagine in my hands. (My brother can take full responsibility for introducing me to this cowboy poet of Midwestern ruminations via a previous book –Population 485 to be exact…)
Perry turns an intelligent and wry eye to daily life, coloring his descriptions with the experiences of small-town life, work with the local fire department, and literary leanings. He’s made me laugh so hard it hurt, and frankly, he unexpectedly and thoroughly broke my heart in the final chapters of Population 485. But today, he stopped me short with the following sentences:
We plunge into love with a naïveté that ignores all prior humiliations. Thank goodness, I guess. Because we never learn, we reach for love again and again.
How to explain how those three sentences made me feel? Perhaps the best way I can put it is this: I read this and remembered something an ex-boyfriend once said (in reference to a wholly other conversation) to the effect of “at first glance that seems nice, at the second … a bit sad and cynical, but in the end, it’s really quite profound.”
Love and life, done right, involve a bit of artful forgetting.
How else do we find the will to take a risk? It doesn’t always pay off, I’m willing to admit. Those prior humiliations quite literally fell you. Leave you shaken and bruised for a long time. Presently existing ones …well, they suck the light from your entire world. Not only do you hurt, but you do it in the dark, feeling lost and very alone. But surely, there’s some small kernel of comfort in Perry’s thought?
At some point, we’ll be fool enough to try again.