My weekend was all about love. Love. Love. Love. No matter where I looked, I was confronted by the bounty and beauty, and brutal truths of love.
Two friends got married. An artist and a model. A match made in body and mind, captured in oils and charcoals and words and warmth.
The groom’s father made a wonderful sincere and succinct speech, advising the happy couple that longevity is the result of fear – the fear of losing someone special.
Alone again, plus zero, was I jealous? Does no one fear losing me? Did I covet their joy? Not one bit.
They have both made brave decisions in their lives, and moved on from previous relationships, and worked hard for what they have. They deserve to be where they are – loved, together, happy with their son.
I don’t want their happiness. I want mine.
I could imagine Polaris there with me at the wedding. How great he is at talking to people, how many sliders he would have eaten, how he would have laughed too loudly at a joke about Yorkshire, how we might have sneaked away to our room for an hour. Every day we are not together feels like a day I have lost. I fear the loss.
The day after the wedding celebrations, I met up for lunch with an old school friend, fantastically academic and insightful. I will call her the Map-Maker, and she will know why. And the paths we wandered through the present and the past, led to dinner with her mother, and, coincidentally, another artist.
In his 60s, this successful artist was lamenting a recent argument with his partner. I might hope that if I was capable of producing truly great art, I would be less concerned with whether someone had texted me back. But the reality is, everyone cares about that stuff. Even Michelangelo would have been screwing over the colour of his Whatsapp ticks, if he had been alive today. Einstein would have been stalking people’s “Last seen” status, no question.
When asked whether he thought they got along, the artist’s response was that they had disagreed significantly about Caravaggio. How I wish my disagreements could be framed with such style! My arguments with Polaris seem rather artless in comparison, and perhaps more resolvable.
Although heartened by our shared heartbreak, I couldn’t help but hope that I am not having similar discussions in 20 years’ time. As an infinite back catalog of love songs attests, tempestuous and passionate relationships are not rare. This is all part of the great human experience. Perhaps some of us are destined for a few more storms, or a few more Taylor Swift tracks, than others, but I don’t think that means we are lost for good.
Will we still hold on to someone special? How do we know when to hold on and when to let go? How will we be rewarded or punished for those choices?
I said at the beginning that this entry is about love. I should mention, because I know these things matter to some people, that the two relationships I described are both relationships between gay men. As I celebrated with the artist who got married, and empathised with the artist who got left, the distinction between gay and straight never seemed so irrelevant. There is no more universal experience than love, and the desire for love. We all sing the same songs. We all dance the same dance.