I had a friend, let’s call him Terry, who was in love with, let’s call her Sally, who was in love with…well, not Terry. She wasn’t in love with anybody but the point here is that she wasn’t in love with Terry.
This made Terry quite, quite sad which led him to think of ending it all. But Terry was a Catholic and a good one at that which led him to the conclusion that he could not commit suicide. Now Terry was very industrious and came up with a plan, if he couldn’t kill himself maybe he could just be killed by accident.
He took to driving through red lights at top speed at night but unluckily for him, no one was coming in from a perpendicular direction when he was scofflawing. He decided to up his game. He filled a sock with quarters and went walking around Harlem at two in the morning with money hanging out of his pockets. He got into some rough scrapes but always managed to get home alive.
During this time, New York had a serial killer on the loose who used to shoot young lovers while they were parked in secluded places. Vigilante groups were organized to whack the Son of Sam. But they needed some bait. Terry volunteered to take a girl, unbeknownst to her, of course to the out-of-the-way spots where the vigilantes were lying in wait. Luckily or unluckily (because I am very confused by all this), for Terry and the girl, Mr. Berkowitz was always in another part of the apple and Terry never got to show his civic duty to the general public.
The point of all this is that Terry, as misguided as he was, was just trying to make Sally love him. But actual self-sacrifice couldn’t make Sally love him. Nothing that he could have possibly done could ever change that. Even Sally couldn’t make herself love a guy she just didn’t love. Love is not a switch you can turn on and off. Although if someone would invent one, I am sure he would make a fortune.
We love who we love as improbable and ridiculous as that sounds. That is why in literature, when parents object to their children’s love affairs it usually ends in tragedy. Parents would be best off keeping out of their kids business. To be truthful, after the kids let their hormones run amuck, they are usually on to another person quite quickly. I mean was Romeo such a catch? Every week he was drooling over someone else. And Juliet was a headstrong little brat. If she couldn’t see what a loser Romeo was, then maybe they deserved each other. Good riddance!
It took Terry twenty years to realize that Sally was never going to love him in the way he wanted. Twenty years he imprisoned himself in a purgatory that he created. We all are in prisons of our own design formed when our dreams are contrary to our reality. We don’t accept the truths that are obvious and we rationalize reasons why it can’t be the way it is. Each brick we lovingly place until the walls are too high to escape from. And then we sit alone, wondering why the world is such a terrible place.