Just finished watching the excellent series on WGBH, As time goes by. It’s about a couple who met up during the war, were separated for years, and meet again in their old age, finding out they are still in love with each other. It’s lovely.
It’s so appealing, the thought of reconnecting with someone who knew and loved you passionately in your youth. It’s like linking with your memories, holding them close, while starting anew with someone familiar, friendly, willing to accept your aged self with all the lumps and bumps.
When you are married or have a long term relationship, you have a deck of memories stored up of your loved one- times when you were so attracted you were radiant together. I know this because my ex and I glowed so well we were an instant target for thieves when we moved to the UK.
It’s harder to create the mythical deck when you meet someone later in life and don’t remember them young and unwrinkled and with ideas and life still forming. By the time we meet at this age, we have already lived so much, seen so much, or not. The gaps in experience and philosophy are broader. So, often, are we!
I’m an independent creature, given to wanting to do things my way, please. Sometimes I can seem over- independent, but that’s usually because, like a cell seeking to merge with another, the bumps in my cell membrane don’t match up with theirs. I can try, but the merging is eventually impossible. The bumps like values, politics, emotional availability, beliefs, love of coffee…
In this context, the fantasy of linking up with someone I knew intimately before is a welcome one. I think about my past loves, wonder what it would be like. I suspect such a merger would be incendiary, with all the passion of youth combined with the wisdom of age. And then, it might be comfortable. Or the differences would start to appear, shattering the illusion.
In any case, it’s a friendly fantasy. And meanwhile I practice bumping cell membranes against others, hoping to connect, as time goes by.