On the nature of love by Stella Pierides

They had their meals together, relaxed together, slept together, lived together – but they seemed miles apart to me during the years I rented a room from them. Perhaps the problem was too much proximity, too much knowledge of the other, as if they were one, not two people; as if they lived off each other’s soul – you know the thick, suffocating air that requires such ‘distance’ to be created.

They misheard, misread, and had to repeat each sentence, each word coming out of the other’s mouth. They always misunderstood the intended meaning, spending their time in lengthy explanations and irritable exchanges.

On a trip to Greenwich Park, last summer, walking in step, sighing simultaneously, they got distracted by the crowd on their Sunday constitutional and incredibly, they got separated. I can tell you, because straddling the Meridian, I watched how they scanned the crowds looking for the familiar grey of their outfits, but could not see each other. I could see both of them looking lost.

I was wondering whether I should rush over and point them to their other half, when I remembered Aristophanes’ argument in the “Symposium” – that the human being originally consisted of four legs, four arms and one head with two faces – and, well, I stopped myself. Zeus was said to have separated those early humans into two, condemning them to a state of perpetually seeking their other half. I strolled away, smiling. After all, who am I to argue with Zeus.


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Filed under Stella Pierides

8 responses to “On the nature of love by Stella Pierides

  1. I like the realistic fiction set-up, and then the last stanza with the classical literature references and mythology. I like the image of strolling away with a smile and this last thought. Very nice.

  2. I keep wondering why he/she is smiling at the end. Loved the myth reference.

  3. Loved how you pulled in Symposium and the yin-yang of the male-female question. Peace…

  4. Melissa

    Good take on the “distance” theme. Such a detailed analysis of the characters in so few words, I feel like I know the couple. I like how the narrator observes them and leaves them be to find their own way.

  5. Pingback: Week #38 – Long distance | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  6. Oh this is just great! It’s a proclamation on time and relationships that never changes.

  7. I like your take on the long-distances that occur in in proximity – the dining room table, the car, the bedroom… And as always, I’m impressed with your references to the classics. You remind me that I should spend some time reviewing all I’ve forgotten. Doris

  8. Stella Cattini

    I did enjoy the description of a stretched relationship, and the symbiotic nature of it… one wonders why we cannot be complete in ourselves, always searching the yin or the yang…! I think you were right to go with Zeus and leave them unrescued! x

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