I’m reading Golden Country by Jennifer Gilmore right now. So far it is an excellent book, but I’m only about halfway through. (This is what happens when you try to read two….ok three books at one time.) The book revolves around the long, intricate, interweaving histories and relationships between the three main characters.
I was struck by this particular passage:
“If Frances could not be in [Joseph’s] dreams, she knew she could at least help make some of those dreams come true. … She thought of her new husband. Vladimir was the right one, the right investment, the one who would set the world on fire. She loved him. And the thought of making love to him made her shiver. So why, why? why! was she still broken over Joseph? She could not ask Vladimir for the scientific explanation, though she knew there had to be one, some chemical reason that she would never stop wanting Joseph Brodsky. Her blood craved his blood. She could taste it, and still the thought of him made her mouth water.” (130-131)
I know I’ve felt that way before. Not about the husband, obviously, but about being happy in one relationship, or lack thereof, and yet still finding myself drawn to a past flame. Is it mere chemistry? Is it just that our hormones and pheromones “like” theirs? Is it because we know them and are comfortable on one or more levels? Is it some other-worldly sign that we have known this soul before or should get to know them better? I do not think it is only a personal history alone which causes this reaction. I’ve had enough previous boyfriends and I am on friendly terms with enough of them to know that I do not have this same reaction to all former inamoratos.
Oddly, the last time I felt this it was with a prospective-boyfriend turned friend, let’s call him Jay, with whom I have never done more than make out. (Although, wow! Those was a doozies!) I met up him and other friends on a night out, and despite the fact that I knew we wouldn’t work out together, I was terribly drawn to him. Despite the fact that I knew that my future and living situation was (and remains) precarious at best. Dash it all! I was the sole individual responsible for turning this would-be-boyfriend into strictly a friend. So why did I still feel immensely attracted to Jay? Why was my strongest impulse to jump him right there in front of everyone?
I am here to report that I did no such thing. I managed to keep my wits about me. I sincerely hope no one noticed that I wanted to throw myself at Jay. Despite the lively spark, I still stand by my original decision. Jay and I would not have worked out in the long run, and ending it when I did saved us both from grief. Goodness knows, if my reaction to him was that strong without sex or long-term exposure, it would have been painful to eventually leave Jay. But why the lingering spark?
I don’t suppose anyone has an answer to this. It’s just the beguiling and illusive “spark” Indigo wrote about.* In fact, it’s really the opposite side of the same coin. What’s a girl to do when there’s a spark but nothing else?
*I wrote all but the final touches and paragraph prior to reading Indigo’s post, “The Zsa Zsa Zsu.” It’s odd how frequently the three of us on on the same wavelength without even knowing about it.