Loved and Unloved

“We are the unloved” -musings on Tristan and Yseult from Kneehigh Theatre

Stories turn us all into the unloved, the ones watching and imagining, longing. We press our noses against the glass and wish, but longing has never made anyone a lover. The unloved become one, a mass of weak comfort trying to bask in the warmth of passion.

We choose not to tell, not to break apart the bubble of belief, because we cannot bear to be without the loved, the loving. Without lovers ourselves, our own passions grow weak. Even when we contain the multitudes of love within ourselves, even when we carry the small intimacies of love each day, the stories set us apart and we understand the bitterness of longing.

The stories never end happily. The stories end with us leaving the lovers, whether the lovers have joined us in unlove or not. And we sigh and we keep watching the dark screen, waiting for another moment of joy to sneak out because in this world, in the real world, love does not happen in sweeping music and great white sails and bleeding wounds. In the real world, we are not loved or unloved, we are always both, always longing, always wishing, even when in the midst of love.

Sacrifices are made in the name of love, but sacrifices are not the road to love. You pave the way for a daughter, for a friend and they walk away, running to the arms of the other love. Your husband falls in love with your child and you are left watching. We are all betrayed by the very love of our loves. We desire completeness, the full force of the beloved, and instead we are fed out fragments and slops. The beloved is always whole without us, and we must be unloved in order to be whole. There must be parts of us that are without you. The loved requires the unloved, the watching eyes behind the play that reminds me that I am me and you are you.

And yet in the unloving, we all become the same. We lose our faces and our clothes and our identities. We pick up the same pair of binoculars to watch those whose stories are happening. We ask again and again “Do you love me?” while forever knowing the answer. We watch our lover cry over their lover. We are all caught in a cycle of desire and dismissal, loving and knowing we are not loved.

How then can we love? The unloved become bitter, shriveled, without love. If we are all the unloved, how does love begin? How do we look past the moments of ignoring, the moments of cruelty, the moments of betrayal?

With stories.

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