Friday, February 10, 2012

In Absentia

Went to a play a few nights ago called In Absentia. It's set in winter in a lakeside cottage owned by Colette and her husband Tom. A young man shows up and Colette lets him in and he brings the story along. You find out that Tom has been abducted while working in South America and ransom negotiations abruptly stopped over a year ago and Colette's waiting, hoping, frozen, lost.

She talks to Tom every day and voices the guilt of her failings as a partner and a human being and examines their relationship while her pragmatic sister who is staying with her chimes in with advice about what she should be thinking and feeling. There is a lot going on and and so many of the ideas are wonderful and true and provoking, although I found much of them too explained thoughout the dialog.

Colette couldn't wait for her husband to leave on his final trip and was planning on trying to have an affair with their neighbour, Bill. That changed when Tom was kidnapped. Her feelings are suddenly gone for Bill, and Colette wonders if she only truly loved Tom after he was no longer there.

I know, I know, absence, fonder hearts, blah blah, but is it possible that we really only love people in moments of their absence? When they are with you they are there and you enjoy them, or not as the case may be, and don't realise the space they fill in your heart until that space is empty? And when they return they light up everything as that familiarity and warmth fills in that space again? Do we only need those feelings when we are alone, in moments of uncertainty and doubt, or do we relish that feeling of loving from afar and delight at the anticipation of wanting? Are there simply people who take these things for granted and others who are in love with the idea of longing? And when you realise that the person may never come back, will never come back, the lengths that you will go to to keep that space filled to the point where you pretend that person is still there.

I try to take in moments and to enjoy them as they happen and not take them for granted, sweet moments with my kids, the smile of a friend, the softest, brief kiss on the back of my neck that means everything. But often I only really stop and think about the ones I love when I am alone, and replay those memories and remember how they made me feel. But if love is mostly constructed within your memories, you can alter the perceptions any way that you like. So why does it suddenly appear and disappear and why is it impossible to let go of?

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