Today I live alone at Blyss Kennels with Jelly and Tresor, my two beloved borzois. I am grateful and overjoyed to have them, and want for nothing. Yet, inside my soul, I am aware of a hollow void the opposite of, let’s say something solid like flesh, but a space of a nothingness, where there should be human love. I embrace and kiss my beloved borzois every day, and am most grateful for them, for no person in my life comes up to their level in goodness and loyalty, and capacity for love. Everyone else falls short, fails, has an agenda and a reason for being there, like what is in it for them. However, I am never fooled.
I observe love that I lack in my friends and neighbors, or sometimes in a novel or a movie, or a play or an opera. So I know it exists. But it has never been real for me. And in spite of three marriages, I am lonelier than ever. It’s absence has made my life very difficult. I wonder if others feel that knawing pain of emptiness or is it something unique to me? I believe it is unique to me in the strange configuration of mental illness that I bear, altered by the medication I take that is supposed to make the pain go away. Somehow, it never does, but I don’t complain to my doctors. I don’t want them to think they are not helping me.
Sometimes, I find the kind of love that interests me in a novel, or a film, and I find it very compelling. I just watched, for example, the George Cukor masterpiece from 1933, Little Women, and was crushed under the weight of family love in the family depicted there, the March family of New England during the Civil War. Another film that encapsulates this concept perfectly is, the Norwegian immigrant family in, I remember Mama, a similar story, this time set in San Francisco, the parents of which find themselves etching out a living and raising their children, poor in resources, but like the March family, rich in family love. Then, in an arcane, mostly forgotten film I saw for the first time recently, made during the heyday of old Hollywood, this time taking place on the eve of the First World War in England, the War to End All Wars, is the enchanting Smilin’ Through, the ultimate love story dream come true, where the more horrible the war the stronger the love, it was enough to convince me that my life is hardly worth living without it.
I should mention a novel or another literary forms while I am thinking about it, I suppose, and so I shall. Anything written by Leo Tolstoy, but especially War and Peace, will certainly delineate the outcome of life lived in the absence of national stability or personal love, in life lived on the cusp of one of the Twentieth Centuries most significant events: The Russian Revolution. Another great observer of life’s most painful outcomes, in this case Russia after the aftermath of the Revolution and who leaves no subject unmentioned, the great Russian author and play wright, Anton Chekov. Through his character development portrayed in these works, he presents profiles again and again of the fatal intersection of this society on the individual. When you think he can wreak no further pain and havoc on his characters, he wrote his famous plays. There, he delineates the fatal effects the Russian Revolution had on the middle-class: professional, educated, land-owning nuclear families that seemingly survived but alas slowly crumble before your eyes, rotting from within from lack of love, and is so devastatingly painful to watch. Upon watching Three Sisters performed by an excellent professional theater group once, I almost had to exit the theater because I was afraid I would faint from shock. Then, there is the extremely arcane novel that deserves aggressive literary promotion more than anything that has seen print since the invention of the printing press after The Bible, The Transylvanian Trilogy, Vol. 1 – 111 by Miklos Banffy, the Tolstoy of Romania – Austria, published by Everyman’s Library, Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. This novel covers the interactions of family love and nationalism, what happens when they cataclysmically intersect and everything about life as you knew it disappears. Throughout the Trilogy, not only does this author introduce the most interesting characters ever to appear in print, he gives a step-by-step tutorial of How World War I Began, for anyone who did not know. For opera, one need only look no further than Francis Poulenc in Dialogues of the Carmelites when the most innocent citizens in the country are judged to be on the wrong side of the French Revolution and pay the highest price. You can never weep enough watching great films of aftermaths of revolutions, attending plays on this subject, reading these novels, or listen to this one of many operas. In truth, the lesson to be learned here is that everyone is alone in the end, if not dead or destroyed. If they ever had love, they did not have it at the end when they needed it most, or it failed to save them.
Without love, family love, romantic love or love of country at the core, there will be heartache and incredible psychological pain. If the love at the core was flawed or not present when it was needed at earlier phases of life, it can never be undone, you can’t go back to Start and have a second chance.
Today, I find myself in love with horses, dogs, and now donkeys, the most broken down, down-trodden of things, creatures most in need of rescue. And rescue I do. I think I save myself. With people and social situations, I migrate further and further away until I have finally become nearly invisible. Someday, I may disappear altogether. More and more time passes in between attending Church, and that is sad. And I have confessed elsewhere that I have lost all of my friends. I have some relationships, but they are few and far between. A boyfriend with whom I recently broke up with is one of my only friends, and my sister and a cousin are the others. I am sorry if I seem inordinately sad, I am not really any sadder than usual, it is just that I am more acutely aware that I am. I tell myself to be optimistic, that love is right around the corner! But am I being delusional, or is tomorrow another day?
And so it is, that I turn toward Jelly and Tresor with extra hugs tonight and wish them well. I am very much aware that for now at least, they are all I have.