“Happy Valentine’s Day, my darling, and please know that our story of love is just a pathetic trope in modern literature called insta-love.” If anything, it would at least be a rather original congratulation on Valentine’s Day. My husband would definitely appreciate the humour if we didn’t discuss it so many times, so the topic has lost its edge.
It’s amazing how many people claim they want to find love and be happy and at the same time, the same number of people arrogantly declare that they know everything about love – the non-existence of its pure version to be exact. It’s a paradox, or maybe it’s a natural course of things. People are designed to be looking for someone to share their life with, but they also don’t want to get hurt if the relationships don’t work out for them over and over again.
Well, dear Diary, in my opinion, as small and subjective it might be in the vast sea of opinions, every “trope” is based on something real, and not everything we read in books must necessarily be labelled with some “trope”. If we think from a wider perspective, absolutely everything – every single action, event, feeling anyone has ever done, experienced, or felt – is a trope. But can we call the life of two people who celebrate their golden wedding anniversary – a trope? Can we call a woman giving birth to a child – a trope? Do these beautiful, uplifting things lose their value only because they happen often?
I guess we can, and maybe it’d even be objective and correct. But do we really want to live in such a world where the value of happiness is diminished?
Okay, back to my husband and our cliché of a love story. “Eve, I have found you a husband,” were the first words I heard about my at that time not-yet-husband. I was running a small recruitment agency office in the UK, which I myself had set up. I’d organised everything from registering the branch in Companies House and finding office premises to persuading local businesses to become our partners. I had to spend months in England, and while I loved travelling, challenge, and excitement, I never thought about relocating there permanently.
My business partner called to let me know that he’d found a person for the position of my deputy. It wasn’t an easy task since we needed someone with relevant education and experience, a driving license, and also willing to relocate to England. I shook off that nonsense, having grumbled that I had no idea what he was thinking about knowing that I was already engaged.
But when my not-yet-husband arrived to take over my duties, he took over more than that.
In a week after we started “dating” – which wasn’t really dating since we worked and lived together – we knew that we were going to get married once we return back home. I have no idea how it works, but I can say with absolute certainty that it exists. I just knew that he was the one. Do you remember in “Love Actually” when Jamie says to Aurelia in bad Portuguese: “sometimes everything is so transparent that you don’t need any solid proof”? That’s exactly how it happened to me. I didn’t have any information – gathered during years of living together – but I knew.
Someone might see another trope in the circumstances that led to our living together from the first day. I’ve accidentally found out – too much writing-related reading, you see – that it’s called the “only one bed” trope. I can only feel grateful that I hadn’t learnt about all these classification things earlier when during my teenage years I read a lot of romance novels. My friend’s mother was very fond of them, and both her daughter and I couldn’t let that excellent opportunity to read about rich handsome men falling in love with beautiful but poor girls slip through our fingers.
Anyway, “only one bed” trope in my love story. To stay on the truthful side, it wasn’t “one bed” but “one flat” situation really. You might not believe it, and still, just when my deputy was due to arrive, there was a big annual fair on the premises of the business park where I was renting both an office and an apartment. Consequently, all other apartments were booked. Certainly, we could have booked a room in a bed and breakfast nearby, but the location of the business park was such that travelling to it was complicated, and I wanted to show my deputy around as quickly as possible, so I could fly back home to my fiancé. Besides, people stayed in our small rented apartment at the business park all the time. The business was new and we had to be wise with money.
My husband arrived, and in a few days, it was clear that we wouldn’t need to rent a second flat. We did move to a bigger flat in a while since we’d discussed the opportunity to do so with the business park manager earlier, although, at that time, the idea was to find a more financially beneficial solution to our living arrangements.
Of course, people make mistakes and often they misjudge other people. At that time, the only thing I had was an inexplicable conviction that the man I’d just met was the one whom I’d spent all my life with. Still, to my defence, I can only say that we got married a year after our first meeting, and in April we’ll be celebrating our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Moreover, though we are very far from the golden anniversary, we have already come through everything the wedding vows warn every couple about: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Since the moment we came back home and people started to find out about our relationship – dear Diary, you know that I’m not the type of person who complains about everything, but I never heard more strange and negative remarks about anything than I did regarding my marriage. Everyone had some issue with it. Some asked my mother if I was pregnant, and when she answered that I wasn’t, almost cried with indignation why we were getting married at all. One ex-colleague and a friend warned me not to wait too long with marriage, even those few months we needed to prepare for the ceremony and the reception. “A man can change his mind!” That was what she said. Needless to say, I didn’t invite her to the wedding. There were well-wishers who told me dismissively “It doesn’t mean anything that you decided to get married so soon. You can get divorced as quickly.” A friend whom we went to the university together confessed that she was surprised that not only she got her “fairy-tale love story”. She said that she was already used to seeing everyone around her unlucky and unhappy in love.
So, dear Diary, as peculiar as the connection may sound, but thinking about those remarks about the most wonderful, mysterious, inspiring – the kind of event that makes one believe in miracles again – thing that ever happened to me, helped me overcome pain and frustration from some reviews of “Neglected Merge” that called my main characters’ love story “a trope” and stressed that they didn’t feel anything for Tauria and Doron since such things aren’t realistic.
I often wonder at this passionate wish modern people seem to possess to label everything. To put every single thing into neat boxes, stick a note “worthless”, “ridiculous”, “doesn’t exist” to them, and brush them away with a feeling of legitimate contempt. In this manner, we could label life itself with a sticker “happens to everyone, not worth the trouble”, and then what? Stop falling in love, stop dreaming, prevent ourselves from feeling that overpowering joy we feel when the spring finally comes and everything opens up, blooms, transforms like thousands of miracles are bursting out everywhere around us? What a sad, pathetic life it would be then…
“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” And I think that in this quote by Oscar Wilde there hides the reason why no matter how many books we write about love, how many movies we make, how many times we try to explain love, we’ll never be able to do it. Because every person who loves hears a song that no one else can hear. Every love is unique. Every love is designed especially for you.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! Let the song of love play in your soul today and forever.