Ella Fitzgerald, The Ink Spots, “Into each life”

When you read the great love-stories, and the passions there-in, and the dramas and the arguments, followed by technicoloured views of the afterwards make-up, you forget that all that is not so fun if you’re in the middle of it. When the great love of your life stands there in the lounge with a mouth that’s as big as the universe, shouting hurtful things things, the disconnect between the great love-stories and real life is at its most stark.

All those little pent up stresses and annoyances that have piled up over the weeks since the last big argument can finally be aired, and you end up going from room to room playing a verbal set of table tennis of accusations and recriminations. He serves, you parry, and then it’s my turn. Round and round it goes.

It’s exhausting. It is terrible. It is painful. But when all those words have been shouted, and the tension have been released, and all the aggravation has been released, there’s always this time of rebinding. Of an apologetic needfulness. Of a desperate clinging. Because, in the end, the words shouted in anger are not real, not true, not actual.

The aftermath is. The acute needfulness when you want to dissipate all the drama, and when you want to show him that he’s my south, my east and my west, to quote the poem. And the desperate returned clinging when he wants to show me the same.

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Sarah Vaughan, “Send in the clowns”

Afterwards these fights seems so petty, and I have this image in my head of us being a sort of The Sims family. It’s like a big old tired circus where the elephant is too fat to balance on the big balls, the lion’s teeth have fallen out from old age, and the Circus Director sips repeatedly from the bottle in the vest pocket and slurs in his announcements. And then there are the clowns, me and him, whose painted smiles are upside down.

If you have played The Sims you know that each character has a diamond symbol floating on top of the head that changes colour depending on the mood of the character. In these times, the diamond is so very red. Then it fades to an orange as the arguments fall silent and we just stand there exhausted from the releases.

And we stand there like the sad clowns that we are, and we see the reflections of ourselves in the other, and what we see is neither pretty nor uplifting. So much the sad little monkeys that all humans are; we jump up and down, beat sticks in the ground for attention, and throw shit at each other.

And sometimes, sometimes, I wonder why. Even in the midst of all that, there is nobody I love more in the whole world than that infuriating git who I want to crush with my arguments and accusations. Even then, when we’re at it, going from room to room to one-up each other, I love him so while at the same time being utterly infuriated with him. Is there something wrong with me?

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Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great balls of fire”

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