I am happy: I am looking forward to seeing an art show titled : The Spoils of Love: An Imagine the Silence Exhibit. The exhibit will feature testaments to broken relationships– mementos and vignettes of loves that once lived and how they died whether through violence and grief; or in a manner like leaves withering away in the fall. I am fascinated by the very idea of this, I who have been through heartbreak, who have written about it in stories and essays as a means of coping and recovering; now there’s a physical, tangible display of feelings of the same shape and texture as experienced by so many others all across the world!
I would’ve wanted to contribute something or two, but the deadline is today, and I very well can’t rush home to take a teddy bear I have loved for so long, even after its giver and I have ceased to be even friends; or a book I have loved long before the man who gave it to me was a friend ( I love the book so much I have two ; I loved the giver so much I didn’t tell him I already had a copy and I pretended to have been delighted when he gave it to me. It came from the country where it was written, and it pleased him to think that he remembered her who wrote it, my favorite author, despite her name, to him unusual).
Then there’s a knitted draw-string bag: its giver handed it to me in a paper bag with a huge red heart on both sides. As I took it, he looked away and said “Take care of that; that’s my heart I’m giving you…” The potential corniness, the utter cheesiness of the statement was smothered by the manner in which they were spoken, quietly, almost hesitantly.
Anyways, all that is waaaaay behind me now, and there is no anger or regret; only a certain wistfulness at remembering. I can now be accused of attributing emotion or attaching feelings to innocent, inanimate objects (was it Rilke who made the original, infinitely better phrased quote?). I feel like writing a story of all these objects of affection, these things which once meant so much more than they were worth because of the sentiment behind them. The tale would be told from the view point of the objects, and they would speak both for me and themselves. How is it to be at the same time a source of happy memories and painful recollections? How does it feel to be loved, yet necessarily, urgently forgotten?
One looks back at the relationships one has had, and one realizes how each experience whether in heartbreak or bliss changes how you are within and, often enough when there was considerable pain or anger enough, without. How often does a physical transformation possess a story behind it, often fueled by an instinct of self-preservation and the urgency of survival: one can and must outlive a broken heart.The altered hairdo, the new clothes, the whiff of previously unworn perfume, all signs that struggle to convey the message that “I am a different person, not the one whose heart is fragile or cracked because of the unkindess of another; I am not the man/woman whom he/she let go of and dismissed; I am a still here, and I will be here tomorrow, happy and on the way to becoming whole again…”
To the museum of lost loves, one could contribute a shirt or a blouse that was once a favorite because (a) it was a gift from the former beloved; (b) it was once worn during a particularly happy event that could have featured red, red roses, a prettily-wrapped gift, a tremulous declaration almost whispered; or (c) it was praised and the wearer was called handsome or beautiful in it. In the aftermath of the separation or the beginning of distancing, the same piece of clothing will be relegated to the closet, and never be worn again. New clothes sometimes serve as an empathic expressions of the will to recover and hopefully, forget.
Another one of my favorite authors, Alain de Botton, wrote a book titled ‘On Love.’ It’s a story whose narrative is partly comprised of philosophical musings on the nature of loving and being loved. Needless to say, there were also attempts to objectify and describe the utter loneliness and debilitating pain felt by the suddenly neglected and unloved using the writings of great thinkers (imagine communist manifesto Marx and his namesake Groucho juxtaposed).
In the story, the narrator described a pair of shoes his ex-beloved wore, and how there objects of affection for her, but something to disdain in his eyes. He remembers them, those shoes, because she threw one of them at him in a moment of pique — a scene of sudden, as before unknown however minor violence and anger — , and because they were expensive and fashionable. The mundane and the profound in the evolution of a relationship. The shoes would definitely have made it to the museum.
So the exhibit opens on Sept. 15 and run until the 30th in Ayala, Greenbelt 5 and 3. I will be bringing my camera and my preparedness to be hit by waves of memories of people (and objects!) who were once part of my waking thoughts and even my sleeping.