While working on BARELY THERE, I’m digging around in Delaney’s past and Mitch’s past, seeing what makes them – well – them. One of the most important things in my hero and heroine’s make-up is how previous relationships have affected them, and how that past relationship makes them view the idea of new relationships. This isn’t just in novels, obviously, but is something we’ve all probably have experienced in our own lives.
Most everyone – aside from Rick, apparently – knows the movie The Princess Bride and tons of the movie quotes, including “TruuuUUUUe Love”. But before that particular quote, there’s another one regarding the real-deal True Love. At the beginning of the movie, when Buttercup is speaking of her love’s assumed death, she states:
“I died that day.”
And I think this is true. If one has loved, truly loved, and it dies a shocking, violent end without consent and closure, we all die a little. We’re not remotely the person we were before. We are jaded. We are scarred. The scars may fade in time, the jaded outlook may calm, but part of us will never be the same again. Ever. The innocence of that purity of love is forever gone. You know now there’s a fantastically bitter alternative that you hadn’t experienced before. You are forever changed. Part of you has, indeed, died.
And it’s my personal belief that if you were to see that person again (as in a break-up, obviously not as in death situations), that part of you will emotionally fling back to that pain. Instantly. You may have memory jolts of the extreme love and happiness, but I promise you’ll also have shards of the pain pressing against the tender scars.
But…here’s the real question circling around my brain today: what happens while the wound is still fresh, blood is still leaking out around your hasty bandage, and someone else comes along? It’s pretty natural, at least to me, to find someone quickly to help dull the pain, to justify that you’re worthy enough to be with someone else, etc. And there’s a name for that: rebound.
And we all know how rebound relationships go, right?
But, just for “what if”, let’s say it’s NOT a rebound, or at least it’s claimed not to be a rebound. That this is IT, The One. (cue Snow White’s chirping birds here)
Is it possible to have BELIEVED you truly loved when in fact, you hadn’t? Is it possible to claim that your future only seemed bright with that first person, only to find that the level of brightness isn’t comparable to the newly neon shine of the latter love? Any proclamations made to the first may have been true at the time, but then a couple of weeks or so later, another person stumbles into your life and suddenly, the first doesn’t have the glow you once thought? At the time, you thought you’d never eat again, sleep again, smile again – your life and the future you’d planned on having with that person is gone gone gone with no hope of renewal but a month later, your head is spinning with love and happiness and the future dawns bright again.
In my world, that doesn’t make sense at ALL but really, I have no idea of these answers and the more I think about it, the more questions I end up asking myself. This is one of the reasons I hate hypothetical questions. I can’t pinpoint the validity of the answer, especially if I’m not the one living it.
From another one of my All Time Favorite Movies, EVER AFTER:
Prince Henry: Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?
Leonardo da Vinci: As a matter of fact, I do.
Prince Henry: Well then how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, I mean really the one for you, or do you only think they are, then what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or she does but you're too distracted to notice?
Leonardo da Vinci: You learn to pay attention.
Prince Henry: And let's say... God pus 2 people on earth and they are lucky enough to find one another, but one of them gets hit by lightening, well then what, is that it? Or perchance you meet someone new and marry all over again, is that the lady you're supposed to be with, or was it the first? And if so, when the 2 of them are walking side by side, were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first, or was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything chance? Or are some things meant to be?
Leonardo da Vinci: You cannot leave everything to fate, boy. She's got a lot to do, sometimes you must give her a hand.
Okay, taking Prince Henry’s rambling thoughts to mind, let’s say you’re foolish enough to fall in love again – and your gut tells you that it’s real FOR REAL this time. Should it end yet again and the future is gone gone gone yet again, will the pain be as blindingly horrific as the last time, or, because you’ve experienced it already, the pain is muted, even if just a little, because scars cover the previous wounds. The most pain now would be an itching against that scar, a reminder of what you’ve already survived and acknowledgement that you could – if you had to – survive a great loss again. And, because of that survival, because of the jaded past that now defines the new you, are you that much more willing to toss away love and futures and walk away because you know you can survive it? If you begged that first relationship to not be over, but on the newer one you tend to think of ending it more often, what, exactly, does that mean? Is it a gut reaction to stave off pain like you barely survived, and is an acidic “I don’t even care as much as I used to” type situation? What makes someone change the core of who they are so completely? What makes them go from begging one person, then the second person they supposedly “really truly” love they don’t cling to it just as strongly? Ugh, so many questions!
OR! Maybe this is all a male vs. female thing. Maybe men do recover from lost love faster than women do. I don’t think this is the answer, but it could be. For my hero and heroine, this is what they’re telling me, but it just poses a lot more questions of their past and their personalities to figure out their future.
Because you know me: I have to have my Happily Ever After. There’s no alternative for that in Brenda’s World.