The Dreadful Avenue of Love Declined

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“The heart was meant to be broken.” – Oscar Wilde

My heart failed me in love once before. It couldn’t take me to the finish line of a spirited summer romance, so I fell and broke it into a million little pieces. It pumped blood as usual, but I was dead, buried in the depths of despair. What a horrible time it was! Lonely and dull, my nights went on forever. The days did too. Food lost its appeal, so did the company of my closest friends.  A stubborn heaviness formed. I felt like a beast of burden whose work was never done on my worst days, and like a child of Sisyphus on my best, cursed with doing things to relieve my oppressive mood just to sink into gloom again as soon as I showed any noticeable sign of improvement. There’s no doubt about it, I was on THE DREADFUL AVENUE OF LOVE DECLINED.

Walking that desolate street, my spirit saddened with every step. I was asked a serious question: “are you strong enough to be alone, to walk this life without having a sadomasochistic bond with another?” The answer was a bitter no. It took me a while to realize that, though. In the meantime, I carried on in miserable denial. All sorts of clever games and rationalizations were invented to keep me away from an unpleasant veracity. It wasn’t my fault; I wasn’t the stupid one. Everything was on her. Such were my thoughts.Oh, how desperately I fought to hide my faults and feebleness from myself! But I couldn’t! I really couldn’t!


Her imperishable smile was burned in me. When I closed my eyes, it’s all I saw. It caused me to lose sleep. Many nights of diverse emotions where spent awake in acerbic contemplation of that smile and its owners whereabouts. I wanted to know where she was and who she was with. I wanted to call so badly, but I couldn’t. My pride wouldn’t allow it and even if it did, I’m doubtful that she’d have answered, so I continued on in dark desperation, lost in my summertime sadness.

Worst yet, a part of me didn’t want to be found. I wanted to think of her and hurt. I suppose, to a wounded soul hiding its deepest feelings inside an elaborate mental fortress (a sort of inner babelic structure), an unhealthy “kiss with a fist” imagination of romance is pleasing.

Eventually, though, my psychological tower of babel tumbled down. With time and luck (A WHOLE LOT OF LUCK), I started to wake up – to open up my eyes and see. I soon saw my world for it was – an illusion. I saw that my feet weren’t on reality’s terra firma and that my expectations were guided by lazy thinking and drawn from a sadistic culture. Honestly, the awakening process is a singularity that I can’t explain fully; neither can I tell people how to get there. Perhaps it’s a thing that happens to the lonesome drifters going through metaphysical anguish, or perhaps it’s a natural part of life that takes place when people are allowed to think and reflect intensely. All I know is I began to know intellectually and feel deeply that my general outlook on life was the creation of my conditioning in a benighted culture, and that I was as a blind man being led by other blind men.

Naturally, then, I began to question myself. The questions started off small and primarily revolved around her. “What did I see in her?” was the first. “Did she care about me as much as I cared about her?” came next. And “what would I have done differently if I weren’t so stupid and childish at the time?” came after. Examinations of this sort marauded around in my mental labyrinth for months. Then the questions got a bit more universal: “what does it mean to love? Was it better to have loved and lost than to have never have loved at all?” Those nights that used to feel so lonely began to be stirring. The questioning process gave life a new dimension – a deeper one. All sorts of things flashed across my cerebral canvas. There were so many questions, so many ways of twisting them and so many ways of working out their answers. The theory of relativity, the theory of gravity, theories of cosmic expansion, ideas about the survival of the fittest, and notions of soul of humans under an invisible leviathan (modern welfare state) were all made to apply to romantic life( and my entire continuum of experience in general.)


Of course, these things have nothing to do with love. Nevertheless, they were sweet to meditate on. I was still rocked with confusion, but my chaos was turning into the creative kind – the kind that gave birth to dancing stars. I had come to understand that “there are more things in Heaven and Earth than were dreamt of in my philosophy.” Of course,realizing this made me categorically petrified and stressed, but along with the apprehension came a chance to inquire into nature of existence and to reinvent myself through all sorts of strange and, perhaps, sacrilegious means – it was an opportunity to “find my faith living in sin.” To that end, I read widely and listen assiduously, soaking up all the wisdom I could. Then working with the novel truths I discovered, I started to reconstruct myself from the wreckage of my past, one fragmented piece at a time. It was a lonely excursion, and sometimes I was afraid of the things I found. As with all humans, a monster lived within the shadows of my psyche and because thorough self-examination shines a light on it, I was made to see it and I was a bit frightened by what I saw.

Overtime, however, I learnt how to deal with this darker and more irrational part of myself; I made friends with it (I won’t try to explain how I did. Any attempt to do so would be a long and winding digression). With this acceptance and, thus, integration of my “darkness” into my personality, came a more acute sense of humor, a more lively conscience, and increased objectivity.

Under my novel “enlightenment,” I set out to understand the very mechanism that had put me on my path – romantic love (and marriage by extension). Examining this sort of love closely, I saw that in our culture (and most other cultures) it was a very peculiar and paradoxical social construct. For in a romantic relationship, you’re expected to foster the freedom of someone who can make you jealous. And no matter how hard you try in your love life, you’ll never escape this contradiction. When conceived intellectually, it seems like it would be an easy task, but as most of us suspect and only a few of us are fully aware, we are more led by emotions than reason. As the Danish Philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, puts it, “the heart has reason which reason knows not of.”    Furthermore, a romantic relationship is scarily fickle. Of this we are all knowledgeable. It may fulfill one of our deepest yearnings – the wish to be one with something. But at the same time, there’s no guarantee that a relationship will work. More disheartening still, is the fact that the object of our love must leave us (or we them), either at death or in life; the game of romantic love is one which we are all bound to lose. It is reasonable, then, to ask “why play the game, why start something that must fail?” I think the answer lies in watching a candle burn.

With a little activity of the mind, we can imagine that lit candles are aware of the short supply of their wax. They don’t seem to be paralyzed by it, though; they always seem to burn to their potential’s brim and their only concern seems to be with the art of fueling fire – an art that more resembles a waltz than a painting. The aim of a painting is to capture a moment and weave it into the visual tapestry of time for as long as corruption, whether natural or man-made, will allow. But a waltz is the moment, and when the waltz stops that moment is gone forever. Hence, a painting edifies the future using the present, while a waltz crowns only the present.  That’s probably why it always seems as if flames are gracefully dancing in a continual now, moving in such a way as to honor the present.


So must our romantic relationships and marriages be a dance where both lovers strive to be fully present, paying attention to each step as if they were perpetually getting re-married. How charming is a love like that!


With this attitude towards the romantic contract, lovers will bond out of freedom. They’ll be there (in the relationship) purely because they love “dancing” with each other. No need to gratify society, parents, and peers will be responsible for their bond – they’ll not be together because of the will of any external establishment. Their love is an existential commitment based on a spontaneous reaction to life. As such, they’ll give of themselves more freely, and anything they demand of each other will only go towards the natural development of the “dance.”  Yes, there will be disagreements, and tempers might get lost a few times because any two people will have divergent views and needs, but there will be a certain beauty and challenging contentment even in the most hostile times. And I suspect too, that in such a relationship, conflicts will be resolved very hastily because “dancers” are usually more focused on finding solutions rather than satisfying their own unnecessary hubris.

However, a relationship such as this can only be reveled in by people who have turned their “loneliness into being alone.” By this, I mean that they’ve come to realize that they’re a world unto themselves – a cosmos to be explored unreservedly. Furthermore, they would have also come to realize that every other human being is a consummate mystery that they’ll never figure out, even the ones closest to them are beyond psychological measure. And that responsible freedom is the hallmark of a life well lived, as such, they should grant it to the ones they love and strive for it themselves. Thus, they’ll have the type of love which says “I need you because I love you,” and not “I love you because I need you.” The former is the rarely seen mature love, while the latter is the immature kind often seen in movies and heard about in silly pop songs.


It is easy to see, then, that in a mature, loving, romantic relationship, the conditions of felicity are the parameters which allow a couple to commit themselves to living as sexual partners devoted to well-being and exploration of each other. Marriage is crowning state of such a way of life. Being married is the couple’s “living out of that constitutive act of commitment in countless further acts, and in each spouse’s disposition or readiness both to do such acts of carrying out their commitment, and to abstain from choices inconsistent with it, until they are parted by death (or divorce, but preferably death).

Jealousy and a wish to control the people closest to us will always be there, these are fixed in our nature. Thankfully, though, they can be a diluted with a well-developed conscience.

I’ll stop here for purposes of brevity and laziness. Curt, I know. But I believe I’ve said all that my heart found exigent…

For the one I met too soon.


by Mark Hutchinson //

featuring artwork/ photography from Alicia Krawchuk 

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  1. “they would have also come to realize that every other human being is a consummate mystery that they’ll never figure out, even the ones closest to them are beyond psychological measure”


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