Your mother has so graciously parked a full two inches from the main entrance to your dorm, claiming that it was too far for you to walk if she had parked in the actual spaces provided a mere 50 feet away. She’s never been a supporter of subtlety. After hurrying out of the building with a duffle bag and backpack stuffed with library books having nothing to do with your coursework, you duck into the car you first learned to drive in. The irritated commands still echoed from passenger to driver if you listened close enough. Your mother rattles off a list of seasonal events she has planned for the two of you, each one better than the last! Her voice insists this is true, although it’s clearly not. Instead of succumbing to what seems to be extreme torture by small talk, you pull open your backpack and grab at the first packet of printed papers your fingers find.
After discovering the actual usability of popular magazines love columns to be a disappointment, you’d taken to the academics to provide the instructions in finding love. Love, mysticism has taught you is the only way to make any sense of your existence. The stapled packet is a transcribed radio show reviewing an ancient theory of Plato. The excerpt is vague and generally unhelpful to your cause, but it has been tagged under “Love” and “Theory”, a promising tone. It’s here, in the passenger seat of a car traveling to place someone else would call your home, you find hope in Plato, who, 2400 years ago in much more elegant words, proposed this of the human existence.
Humans were paired with another, in an intimate, happy ball of women+man, man+man, or women+women, with eight legs and the ability to roll at fantastic speeds. We learned to become courageous in our abilities, and then proud, and then arrogant until we believed that we could take over the heavens as our own. With a strike of lightning and a pinch of humility, Zeus separated those beings into two halves of the original whole. He and the other Gods manipulated our bodies into what they are today, but made sure to leave a deep sense of longing to find that half we had lost so long ago. Fast forward to present day, and here we are wandering the earth in search of that person, be it man or women, to fulfill that emptiness embedded within each of us.
Holy shit. Seeing that theory on the written on a page makes every other theory seem ludicrous. This one made so much sense. There must be an exact moment of blissful realization when that half has been found. You’ve never had that moment, that alarm that you imagine occurs when your missing half is within a proximal distance. Maybe it hurls a shock up your spine, sending shivers through your elbows and forces the tiny hairs on your arms to reach upward, a measly attempt at physical connection. Or maybe that moment is actually a blaring alarm roaring into every muscle, “Alert, Alert. Your heart is in danger. This is not a drill. Your heart is in danger of being stolen. Alert”. Maybe that’s a little too romantic, or dramatic.
Mom’s voice gets louder, demanding to be heard, and responded to.
“And your father, my goodness, he’s asked that we share Christmas dinner. In the same room! What the heck is he thinking?”
“Didn’t you suggest that last year?”
“Well I might have, but I’m sure I didn’t actually mean it. He must be drinking tequila, probably lost his mind by now”.
You shrug, and it’s enough of a response that she continues talking, without question. You send a little prayer to anyone listening. “Thank you! Just keep her entertained for a few more hours. I’ll be eternally grateful”.
How could they have ever loved one another? You remember the last time they kissed one another in your presence, aged 6, both leaving for work. Although married for a few more years, you’d always known it was a technicality. That kiss had murdered a marriage, and you were a witness to the fact. It may have switched off that love alarm. A final kiss altered the constant pressing of the snooze button, and changed to the very permanent OFF button. Those bastards! You had to watch the crumbling of the perfect symmetry of united individuals, into two separate beings. Doing the same work Zeus had done. If that kiss had switched their alarms off, it had unplugged yours entirely.
Did you miss Part 1? Find it here.