i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

The Best Life You Never Had

April 06, 2005

"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 wiating 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."

This passage from Pam Houston's "The Best Girlfriend You Never Had" effectively sums up the whole point of the story, perhaps even, if you are feeling generous, the (dum dum dum) Meaning Of Life. 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.

Is Lucy so different from the rest of us?

Sure, she has a pretty wild family background, with her alcoholic parents and the "sixteen-in-a-row" car accidents caused by her father's driving while drunk and she's constantly tormented by her family's inability to talk about their problems. Lucy says she and Leo have a similiar background that includes "talking about anything on earth except what was wrong." On the New Year's she spends with her family her father says, "We just don't get love right, this family, but..." and Lucy tries for years to make up a suitable ending for that interrupted sentence but never succeeds.

But doesn't everyone have that one moment in time that you wish you could relive? Perhaps it's a moment you regret or a moment you loved or even a moment in life like Lucy's that left you with more questions than answers. That moment might stand bright in your mind as a great "If Only..." moment but as Lucy's story illustrates, you can't relive the past... but the past can keep on coming back to haunt you over and over again.

Do you think if Lucy's family -had- been able to "love right" that she would be in a loving "regular" relationship now? What if Lucy's father -had- liked Jeffrey, the stuffed shirt boyfriend? Would that have magically fixed everything in Lucy's life?

Moira at 10:26 AM :: Comments (1) :: ::

I don't know about "magically" fixing anything, really, but I do think that like Lucy we all have unresolved and unsettling memories that can haunt us if we let them.

I'm much better at living in the present than I used to be. By reliving the past that haunts you, the memory becomes that reality--and remembering negative things (which by definition of "remember" takes place in the present) wastes perfectly good time that isn't marred with negative or elated with positive. Choosing to remember those things drags more time of life into the dirt, in my opinion. I'm not saying I don't face problems and try to relinquish myself from the past by correcting my mistakes, but I refuse to dwell on it anymore. Dwelling needs rebelling. Lucy needs to learn this.

Posted by: Karissa at April 7, 2005 11:10 AM
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