By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer
A man was once interviewed on Oprah and when asked a question on his work ethic, he replied that he believed greatness could only be achieved on the brink of destruction.
I remember thinking after that statement, in terms of love, (as I often do) that if that were the case, Congress should pass a law affective immediately for the yearly commemoration of national malls in every country, every state, and every town, composed of monuments in honor and remembrance for all the destroyed relationships and the figures involved there in. What other logical explanation could there be for our intense infatuation and propaganda of “epic love stories” that only end in death, abandonment, and overdramatized musical scores.
Surrounded by the legendary couples of Jack and Rose, Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, even Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, how can we expect current relationships to live up to their predecessors…should we?
With past power couples watching, do modern day relationships stand a chance? Can the level of greatness a relationship achieves, only be assessed by the level of self-masochism that is created and reached in that relationship? Have our role models caused a relationship destructive thought processes, in which one person, or both, need to “die” either emotionally, psychologically, or physically in order for their love to notable?
Prior to college and all night study sessions, my nightly pass times consisted of reading novels or staying up past twilight to revel in the silver shadow of my television screen. I used to bathe myself in tears over all the tragic romances I would immerse myself in. The movies that in other company I would have been embarrassed to view for fear of appearing too emotionally involved, were the only ones who made my personal private late night viewing guest list.
Frequent attendants were: “Wuthering Heights,” “Atonement,” “Mary Reily,” “Fly Boys,” and “Titanic.” However it was that lovely luxury liner that would one night get me into a heaping mess, all because of a little too much Jack and Rose.
It was a Friday, and in high school Friday was the only day of the week that really held any true value for a teenage student. The potential weekend being so close I was in an extremely positive attitude. It was then while opening my locker to collect my things before heading home that I saw a unidentified CD case laying on top of my books.
When I lifted the blue tinted plastic I saw my name written on a note that was tucked into the front sleeve. As I unfolded the note I learned that the CD I was holding was in fact a “mixed tape” burned to express the love a certain not so secret admirer had for me. Filled with the fear that the deliverer of my package was not far off, I rushed out the front doors and down past the bus pick-up area. That night, not knowing how to handle my current situation, I called my male best friend.
After rushing through an abridged version of the events and a description of my current state of mind, all I heard on the other end of the line all was silence. As if a mid afternoon declaration wasn’t enough for a young impressionable girl, my friend proceeded to say that he too, after years of brotherly love had recently realized he loved me. He felt he had to say it now before I began to think seriously about my current musical courtship.
From my bed I slowly sank to the floor, this was all happening too fast. From zero to two in one day was not the way I had seen my love life panning out. After lots of question on my part and awkward silences dispersed through out, I decided to end the conversation on “I’ll think about it” terms, for both our sakes. Later that night I knew the only remedy to my current love woes was Jack and Rose.
In my designated couch, in the wee hours of the night, there I was—box of tissue in hand, glass of water at the ready, and my vision filled of icebergs and burning boiler rooms. With the Titanic on its decent to a deep-water ocean residence and Jack’s frozen body sinking down the same path, I imagined in his place my best friend.
Suddenly everything Rose did and said was directly connected with my current predicament. Life was a journey at sea. I had hit an iceberg, an unknown possible love was drowning, and all because of my negligence: what was a poor delusional girl to do?
Crying endlessly through the credits and the heartstring-pulling soundtrack I picked up my cell phone and dialed my best friend. Through tears I answered his early evening love proposal by saying life was too short, I didn’t want to lose him, and we could all die tomorrow.
In simple terms I said yes.
As with any romance movie, it has to come to an end, and so did my relationship; it didn’t last because it wasn’t based on reality. There were and never would be iceberg caps in New Jersey and what I was most afraid was not a lack of mortality rather the deprivation of an “epic” love story.
In love, we bruise ourselves enough unintentionally. Do we really need to go intentionally relating or inflicting a more detrimental storylines to our love lives due to the peer pressure of cinema love stories? Just because we, as women, can and do relate our current relationships to the captivating couples of yester years doesn’t mean we should.
I once read that a man in a great Civil War said to a battle admirer, “it is a spectacle you would find grand and diverting, if only you could watch it above the danger,” and I think for once, in love men have this idea right.