Sunday, January 07, 2007

Even when we say goodbye

Yes, I am way behind in my movie watching. I just saw Superman Returns and it brought up a subject that has been on my mind for a while. The movie was good and I enjoyed it but it held no surprises for me. Either I'm too far ahead of most movies or as a writer I have a good sense of story line and plot twists or I've just been around so long it's hard to fool or surprise me--when it comes to movies and books.

One of the main themes was Lois feeling abandoned by Superman when he disappeared for five years. Lois asks Clark Kent why someone you meet and with whom you share a deep connection, almost as if you were made for each other, would disappear without saying goodbye. Clark says that maybe it's because it was too difficult to say the words. "Goodbye. See? It's easy to say," she says to Clark just before he hails her a cab and she drives off. Later at home she lies to her husband and says she wasn't in love with Superman. We all know that wasn't true, just like she'd quit smoking altogether. Some things, no matter what we say or how we hide, remain true.

Lois fights Perry White about getting back into things with Superman, about talking to him. She wrote him off years ago when she married Richard White, Perry's nephew, and went on with her life. Did she really write Superman off? She has just won a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for her article about why the world (she) doesn't need Superman and here he is back in her life again. She doesn't want him there. It hurts to see him. It hurts to hear his voice. It hurts to watch him fly by and know he's breathing the same air again. She said goodbye to Superman. She doesn't want him in her life...or does she?

A close friend recently told me she was over the man she loved. He had jerked her around, ignored her for months, came back briefly to revisit old memories and times and then shut her out again. She emailed him and said goodbye. She's proud of the fact that she can see him now and even work with him and not feel like she wants to burst into tears because he's ignoring her. She's fooling herself. So did Lois Lane.

Even when we say goodbye we don't really want things to be over when we have found that one person that makes us happy, makes us hurt, makes us feel connected in ways we never thought possible before. We write them off. We move on with our lives, but all the time we're looking over our shoulder or up in the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of that one person that makes our hearts beat faster. We complain about having to see them again all the time hoping that a brief encounter or a quick conversation will turn into more. It hurts to see them because we know they will eventually walk away again or even disappear for a while but the pain is worth those few moments of pleasure.

We think of them every moment of the day and they intrude into our dreams and fantasies. We turn to share something with them or reach for the phone or the computer to email and share whatever we've found. We doubt they will respond, and often they don't, but we still hope they will give in and write back or call. It hurts when they don't and it hurts when they do because those fleeting moments are all too quickly gone. There are times the other person believes they are sparing us further pain but they're wrong. Every moment without them hurts. Every moment we think of them and realize they aren't beside us hurts. And, yes, it hurts to see them, but it is a sweet and exquisite pain that makes it possible to bear all the moments without them.

Lois, despite all her protestations to the contrary, needs to know Superman is close by and that they will see each other once in a while. He's not gone from her life. My friend who is so proud she has gotten over the fella who hurt her and continues to hurt her still sees him nearly every day. It hurts but not seeing him would hurt even more. We all have someone in our pasts or in our lives who hurts us by not being with us but we are all willing to bear the pain to share a few more moments, a few more words, even a letter or an email from time to time because we need to know we haven't been forgotten. We need to know that the relationship that meant and continues to mean so much to us was not a fantasy or a figment of our imaginations and that somewhere in some shadowed corner of their hearts they miss us, too.

It is said that beauty is pain and there is no gain without pain. Life is pain. Love is pain but silence is harsh and cold. Pain is preferable to silence. Pain reminds us we still feel, we still have a heart and we are still alive.

No comments: