For some reason, the Winesday crowd has experienced a number of romantic breakups lately.
With that in mind, yesterday, we found ourselves in the midst of another breakup. While Strand was upset, angry, and going through all of the motions and emotions of someone in the midst of a yucky situation – I was despondent. As people began arriving at my house, I had put The Carpenters Radio on Pandora, and was laughing/sobbing into my champagne to the tune of Superstar.
There was no good reason for this – I hadn’t been close to or even fond of the boyfriend in question. My reaction was so comically inappropriate, it prompted Strand to say:
I feel like I should comfort you, Mere.
No, no, I’m fine. It’s your break up! (…sniffle, sniffle…)
Granted, I was still jetlagged, and had been through some high highs and low lows over the seven days prior. But still. My friends and I are extremely close, and none of them had ever seen me cry – let alone openly weep over the end of someone else’s romance and the vocal stylings of Karen Carpenter.
We pondered whether there were any good men out there – faithful men; straightforward ones. We made toasts to them: To JM, my dad, and one guy who lives in Albuquerque!
He’s probably a priest.
But what did it mean to be faithful, anyway? Was there a fundamental difference between the immature, unfixably broken frenzy of people who kept up their online dating profiles once in putatively committed relationships and cheated for cheating’s sake – and the people whose lefthand rings cut off their circulation in lost wars of attrition and so they sought solace as they waved white flags? Was I naïve to think there was such a difference?
Judge me for thinking so. But having once found myself at such a threshold – crossing back over; walking back down the aisle – my definitions had changed. Yours might’ve too. So I’ve looked at love from both sides, now.
But this underscores a very serious point: I love cheesy love songs. When I was going through the early stages of my divorce, and I was out in California with a client, they piped satellite radio into the “war room.” I am not sure whether they ever realised that I had surreptitiously tuned us into the “Love Songs” station. (If you’re familiar with Sirius, you are well aware that this station is like a package of Kraft American Singles – 100% processed cheese.)
If the client noticed, they were painfully polite in not pointing out the periodic interludes of Sometimes When We Touch.
People are obviously programmed to love love songs. (You are lying if you tell me you haven’t sat weeping in your whisky over Turning Tables, or Someone Like You. Lying.) I was raised on classic rock. My father woke us up every Saturday by blasting The Doors. LA Woman is permanently ingrained in my psyche as the tune to which one should clean house. And I love that. But good heavens! I love love songs. I’ll take the folk singers; I’ll take the crooners. American country? Dogs and trucks and tractors and State Fairs and Greyhound buses and things for which I have no frame of reference but find sort of charming – yes. Doo wop? Absolutely. Elvis? 100%. Lay the cheese on thick and rich, like nacho sauce at a sporting event.
Cheesy love songs are a part of my soul; my every day. However, I generally do not sit at my table amongst friends, simultaneously laughing and crying, as Miss Mal and Strand do the Macarena, and wear silly hats, and wreak havoc on cheating cheaters who cheat, as was the case last night.
What is wrong with me? I sobbed, while Karen Carpenter crooned We’ve Only Just Begun.
You hold on to things. You’ve got a filing cabinet full of notes and letters…you don’t let go.
Yes. I was holding on to things. And the past week had brought breakups and makeups and roses and kisses and catharsis, and finding out for certain things hadn’t been my fault at all. And going back to places that hurt and finding my way over, under, around and through. Bit by bit, letting go.
Then flying home, and sitting in a familiar circle, and dreaming better dreams, and knowing that there was, and would be, and is love among the ruins.