Peanut butter sandwiches without crusts were the foundation of my first “love.” He was 3. I was 4. We were neighbors. There was no declaration of affection, no kissing, no nothing. But we were a pair, nonetheless. Two is a such a lovely number.
I’ve always been attracted to symmetry, to balance. To the spaces that emerge between things and people. “Negative” in the graphic sense, but anything but in reality. You know what I mean. The glue. The nameless, invisible matter that comes spontaneously into being between ourselves and the people we love. When we’re at conflict this matter wriggles and writhes, pulls and punches. When we’re at peace, it goes all clear and reflective like a deep, deep wordless pool.
How beautiful it is, in life, that we are drawn to seek each other out. To pair off. To hold hands. To share the seasons of each year and of our lives. And it is indeed the season of Two-ness. The mating, the pollinating, the searching, the finding: the race is on. The air is full of love. And if not of love, lust. And if not of lust, the plain, primitive desire to stand by someone’s side. To hold hands. To stand squarely in two-ness instead of one-ness.
I was photographing the tree, and look what I saw when I checked the picture. Down there, in the corner, lower right. Quite by accident—
And from the back they look like two birds, huddled together. One form. And then, there, are their bicycles, parked easily under the tree which spreads overhead like a protective yenta. “There, there. Forget school. Be here, together. I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me, carved into my skin. I’ll keep it forever.”
The park is full of loves and alliances—romances that bloom innocently or heatedly under the trees. Or, here, under the protective auspices of the “Sirenette,” the mermaids, that have been guarding this, their bridge, since 1846. They never glance down to spy on the lovers but gaze resolutely, respectfully into the distance. They too are excellent at keeping secrets.
And what happens beneath their tales? Couples leave notes, locks, dates, hearts. Signs of eternal love which will likely never last. Undying undying undying. Until, of course, it dies. Out there, in the real world. But here? Here on the bridge, it lives on and on.
TVB. Ti voglio bene. I want the best for you.
Amo. I love.
Per sempre. Por siempre. Forever, and forever again.
All this love breaks my heart in the best possible way. I love it. I feel it bending and breaking and bonding all around me. One great universal force pulling us forward—Natural Selection’s greatest of all trump cards.
Va bene. Such were my thoughts this morning as I finished my walk. And then, just as I was about to exit the park, there behind the bushes…another couple enjoying their two-ness, quietly beside the basketball court. Alone. Together. ‘Til death do them part.