April 20, 2005

The Best Girlfriend You Never Had

I thoroughly enjoyed Pam Houston’s, “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had.” Lucy and Leo seem to share a great connection. They spend a lot of time together.
“A perfect day in the city always starts like this: my friend Leo picks me up and we go to a breakfast place called Rick and Ann’s… and then we cross the Bay Bridge to the gardens of the Palace of the Fine Arts to sit in the wet grass and read poems out loud and talk about love.”
Now… is that not romantic?! On weekends, they attend beautiful and elaborate wedding parties together as Lucy takes photographs – whether for work or fun. Lucy obviously loves Leo as more than a friend, and partly her upbringing and lack of love within her family is to blame for her inability to show him properly...

Mary brought up a great agenda item within her blog regarding Lucy. Lucy said, "I could tell you the lie I told myself with Gordon. That anybody is better than nobody. And you will know exactly why I stayed in the back of that Pathfinder, unless you are lucky and then you will not." Mary used this quote to explain how Lucy is like most people today in that they stay in bad relationships just to not be alone. I feel like this is very prevalent today, but I see it as being unhealthy and just worse in the long run.

Moira stated in her blog that this one passage is enough to sum up the story, and I completely agree: “You might forget, for example, that you live in a city where people have so many choices they throw words away, or so few they will bleed in your car for a hundred dollars. You might forget eleven or maybe twelve of the sixteen-in-a-row totaled cars. You might forget that you never expected to be alone at thirty-two or that a crazy man might be waiting for you with a gun when you get home tonight or that all the people you know - without exception - have their hearts wrapped around someone who won't ever love them back."
Even more, she said, “perhaps even, if you are feeling generous, the (dum dum dum) Meaning of Life.” I love it! This is so true! Moira said, “I guess the best that you can ever hope for is to get so absorbed in actually living your life that you manage to push all the crappy stuff about life to the wayside. When my best friend and I were talking about life the other day, I said to her that I felt the only way that life becomes bearable is if you realize that you will never understand anything and that everything always changes. If you can deal with those two things, you can deal with the rest of your life.” I feel that there is so much truth within that statement. Awesome blog, Moira.

I was saddened by Lucy’s story of the time she brought her boyfriend, Jeffrey (of whom she wanted to marry) home to her parents. She asked her father how he liked Jeffrey only for him to reply with, “Lucille, I haven’t ever liked any of your boyfriends, and I don’t expect I ever will. So why don’t you save us both the embarrassment and not ask again?” There is no doubt that these memories have scarred Lucy. Something I really liked about the story was its unorganized choppiness. I think it also helps to show how these past memories and stories play a part in our everyday life. Lucy and Leo liked to tell stories to each other. But these stories, especially Lucy’s stories regarding her family, make her who she is to a great extent. Lucy is scared, as she admits to Leo twice in the story. As I would have loved to see the two get together and take a chance at something beyond friendship, Leo seems very hesitant to let it go any further. He is in the same position as Lucy, as well as so many others, loving someone who will never love you back (as with Guinevere and his cardiologist girlfriend). The beginning of the story beautifully described: romantic, sensual, honest… Quickly the theme of marriage was thrown in as Lucy and Leo watched the groom and bride kiss:
“Sucker,” Leo says.
“Oh, right,” I say. “Like you wouldn’t trade your life for his right this minute.”
But truthfully, Lucy and Leo both want the same thing… a serious commitment and love ~ love that is not only given but received. I suppose this story had a bit of a depressing element to it. But it can help the reader see that you need to take chances and break away from your upbringing and past relationships to secure true love. There I go, showing my dorkiness… I always find a way to make a connection to my life with the stories I read.

Jerz: Am Lit II (EL 267): Houston, "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had"

Posted by KaylaTurano at April 20, 2005 8:37 PM | TrackBack