One of my favourite writers, Victor Hugo said about love: “Life is a flower from which love is the honey.” I imagine that Victor would then concur with me, that the tenets of ‘love’ has been well debated by many. My own love has been like a Rubik’s cube; never quite able to slot that one piece together and make it assemble to match how I’ve perceived it in my head.
Maybe this would explain my ardent regard for the Metro’s rush-hour crush section. I adore its ambiguity, little odes to a brief moment in time, ships that pass in the night, a smile, a connection… sometimes I fancy that I might be in there, someone taken by my smile, personality even. Pah!
Last week, I definitely wasn’t feeling the ‘love’ for my car. I’d only had it serviced the day before and when I went to turn on the ignition… nada, zilch, nothing. Then it became a race against time to reach my destination and it felt like I had taken every conceivable mode of transport: bus, train, bus, donkey.
On the morning train, it was sardines as usual, but I had secured a seat and was settling in nicely to read the rush-hour crush when I was distracted by a couple standing in front of me; they both had an air of affluence about them but it was their manner that irritated me. They had their palms raised with fingers tips delicately touching, looking longingly in each other’s eyes, while simultaneously holding a conversation, interspersed with soft kisses.
I’d found this display of affection, cold, clinical and very much affected. They were so intent on having every passenger steal glances at them; it was so enforced that I’d got completely lost in their bubble, to the point where I was unwittingly attracting worrying glances and, come to think of it, I was probably all over social media as the crazy stalker on the 07.10 to Upminster.
My reverie was abruptly broken when I’d realised I was at the end of a very hard stare. The boyfriend had rumbled me. I quickly diverted my attention back to rush-hour crush. But after he’d looked away with a grimace on his lips, I stole another glance at them and imagined their life together. They were so transparent. The type that schedule intimacy in their diary at 09.27, Saturday morning before brunch with Izzy and Jack, in a café in Dalston Kingsland. The type that worry about their carbon footprint, but wouldn’t dream of going on a walking holiday. The type that think we infringe on their personal space when we observe them, yet are complete attention seekers.
I am quite self-effacing and prefer to do my PDAs in private, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have passion coursing through my veins.
In complete contrast to the faux ‘couple-in-love’, were two elderly couple that melted my heart. They were both on a day out to London, sitting together, sharing a bag of sweets. Every now and then, the man patted his wife’s hand and looked over at her with a comforting smile. Their love didn’t need bells and whistles on it, it felt tangible. They didn’t need any affirmation from any passengers that they were still in love. Their love transcended from a deeper place. They both alighted at the next station, him letting her go first, both shuffling down the platform linking hands together.
During Pride week, I’d meet a lovely gay couple. They had both met when they were teenagers on a camping holiday in France, one was a French national, the other English. They had both kept in touch and met up and realised they wanted to spend their lives together. So one of them, Odette, moved to England, and they have been together for 30 years. That’s Love.
I find love mystifying. When I’ve had it, I’ve taken it for granted, and when it has wilted from my heart like a dead flower, I’ve lamented its loss. They say we need love to live a fulfilling life, and where that love comes from matters not — the best love I’ve had was from my dogs, unconditional, but I’m hopeful an even better one is awaiting me from a human. I thought I’d found love in the past, but like that Rubik cube, something was not in place. I don’t need love to define, but to know that I can reciprocate that love back. Those who have lived dysfunctional lives are more cautious to let their hearts open, as often the very people they have entrusted their lives to have damaged them.
Love is the remedy to all the ills in the world, and searching for it has evolved so much with social media, we can just swipe our way in now, whereas before we had to socialise, and actually put some effort into it. Not in the digital world — now we can get the same results with endless emojis, or send a picture that isn’t a true representation of ourselves.
Some are very content to be on their own, finding more self-fulfilment, and don’t actually feel that an exclusive couple relationship is the norm. Fleur Britten, reports in the Sunday times style magazine, that a single-positive revolution is happening. Who knows?
So, like Victor Hugo said: Love is the honey. Let not the honey turn to bitter lemon.
Sadie always likes to challenge conceptions and to give a different perspective on current issues, on anything that might resonate with people. She writes truthfully, and sometimes against the populist view.