Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life Is . . .

I was an English major. That doesn't say a whole lot about you, unless you are a guy, which I am not. I did, however, have classes with guy English majors, one of whom was named Ban Duck. (switch the first letters on your own so I don't get sued. Is it legal to use people's real names? I didn't, so don't get your panties in a bunch.) He was your typical English major guy, which means he was sensitive and creative and not good at sports. He was a senior when I was a freshman (=naive), so I was very flattered when he took an interest in me. It ended up being a disaster involving a broken engagement and a devastated friendship, but I did get one very good thing out of it (besides underage alcohol drinking). A play.
Dan (I mean, Ban) wrote a beautiful, haunting one act play with me as the central character. In the play my name is Sarah (not my real name) and I have a series of conversations about love with my ex-boyfriend, my sister, my best friend and God. I am cynical and wounded, but on a true quest for the meaning of love and you feel sure as the conversations unfold that I will eventually find it. The play is called The Bridge and it takes place, where else, on a bridge that actually exists on our college campus. In the first conversation Sarah finds a deeply etched carving on the bridge's wooden beams: Love Is . . . Many people carve their theories around the question and in each conversation, Sarah's friends carve their own responses. I think Sarah ends up carving something but I don't remember (hmmm.....). We performed the play and it received a thunderous and overwhelming response, which did wonders for my social life on campus.
Later, after the Ban Duck personal fallout, I went back to the bridge. As I leaned over the bridge at twilight, smoking a cigarette, I looked down at the wooden rail and, honest to God, found the words Love Is. . . etched deeply and permanently into the bridge. There were responses carved all around it. "A bad dream." "A delicate rose." "A poem that never ends." "Hell." Wow....I remember feeling fascinated and thoughtful, realizing that open ended questions tend to somehow tap into something profoundly and universally human. Now, many years later, I still have no idea how to define love, although I have experienced it in many rich and varied forms. And I believe that most of the powerful and mundane experiences we muddle through as humans are impossible to define. But there can be redemption, resolution, wounding - and the inevitable open-ended experience. I never saw Ban Duck again after he graduated, but he and the other small tragedies and comedies of my life continue to become part of my Life Is . . .

1 Comments:

Blogger heather said...

i am so glad you have blogged. i will be your first loyal reader. :)

2:57 PM  

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