A few days ago I watched 'Out of Africa' - think Meryl Streep and Robert Redford frolicking in the Kenyan Savannah, on Safari, slaying lions and harvesting coffee beans.
A few days before that I read Khaled Hosseini's 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', which is possibly the best book I've read all year. The only reason I didn't blog about it then was because I didn't think I would be able to do it justice. That, and the fact that I was being lazy... as usual.
But anyway. What do these movies and books have in common I hear you ask?
Not the love you get told to make do with simply because it does not exist/will never find you/would only be within reach if you intended to shack up with a white guy!
(By the way there was a lot more to these stories than the theme of love, but this is my blog, and I am allowed to overlook things like tragedy, war and burqas for the sake of making a point.)
Some weeks ago, I got a phone call from a friend I hadn't spoken to in a long while. My friend lives in New York and has a job that pays him shit loads of money but which robs him of basic privileges like phone calls and birthday cards, so this call from him was a rare and precious opportunity. We talked about his life, same old, and then about my life, crisis crisis help me please. His response to my crisis (please don't roll your eyes, I really was distraught) was that I should get real, and that happily ever afters do not exist. He then set about talking me through all the couples he and I had ever had experience of - friends, parents, parents' friends. We leafed through the dreadfuls, the only speak when they have to's, and the we're doing okay, at least we're friends, but this isn't what we spent those nights in our teenage beds longing for's.
Needless to say, the picture wasn't pretty.
At the end of our conversation, I decided to step back, be real, and stop arguing. Who was I kidding thinking that a happily ever after was sitting in a pot at the end of my mud-streaked rainbow, just waiting to be discovered? I grudgingly accepted that there was no happily ever after waiting patiently for me. No perfect pairing. No half with which to form a seam-free whole. And for a while, I got by thinking like that.
And then I went and did a foolish thing. I spent a week doing little else but feasting my eyes on Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, Scarlett and Rhet Butler, Clark Kent and Lana frikkin Lang!
And now I've gone back to being me.
And pretty damn stupid.
Now please, forget for a moment that you now think of me as a very silly, very naive little girl. Forget that, and answer my one very simple, very basic question:- Surely every love story out there cannot just be the by-product of some writer's overactive imagination? Would anyone really be so cruel as to create something so easily believable and so wonderfully desirable, when they know that such a thing could never be? Would they?