My ex from 2004 is coming to the beatbox competition. I've realized over the past year how much I enjoy talking to her, and that's a rare thing, so I'd like to do more of it. Even better, I told her so. It's sort of silly that we don't hang out--every time we meet up at an event or something, maybe four or five times since we broke up, we start talking and talking like we always did. There have only been a couple women I've had that kind of thorough openness with, so I've learned to pay attention to whether it's there or not.
Which sort of leads in to my other realization, something larger about growing up and getting older. I've been starting to watch "House, M.D.", a remarkable show starring the clearly-brilliant Hugh Laurie as sort-of-likeable asshole protagonist Greg House. In the episode, "Honeymoon," House treats his ex-girlfriend's husband. She and House lived together for five years, in one of those fiery, intense relationships. At the end, she says, "You were right, what you said before. I'm not over you. You were the one, House. And you always will be....But with you I was lonely. With Mark, I feel like there's room for me."
It finally dawned on me, something I'd been thinking about for a while, which is that the powerful, fiery, mind-blowing relationships, even the healthy ones, aren't necessarily the experiences that become lifelong partnerships. I've talked to more than one married person who's had the same experience, where they sort of gave their heart away in one of those powerful relationships, and ended up in a marriage (good, in these cases) of much mellower tone, maybe keyed on a more relaxed companionship than intense passion. Maybe that's as it should be, for some of us: I'm still not sure that marrying the girl I really wanted to marry (sadly, not the one I was actually engaged to) would have worked out all that well. It's possible that those instant intense connections (which don't necessarily go away even after you break up) can get in the way of the deeper levels of discovery and knowing that I've been glimpsing over the past few years. Maybe.
Then again, maybe we just choose life for ourselves based on the balance of what we want and what's available, knowing we have to let go of the past and think lightly about the future. We can choose to be with people, choose to work and build a relationship with them; that's its own valuable thing, maybe more noble somehow than that overwhelming wave where you're with a person because the connection between you leaves you with no other option within your willpower.