TITLE: FEMALE MADNESS
By Rachel Spencer
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Where is he? What is he doing right now? When will I see him again? These are the questions we ask ourselves over and over, and we wonder desperately, is he thinking the same things, is he asking the same questions about me? If he is, when will he speak, how long must I wait? If he is not, how will I survive, what will I do without him? This is what is, unpoetically, called unrequited love. It sits in the stomach, rising to the heart whenever thoughts of him allow it. A glimpse of him in the distance causes a rush of emotion too complex to put into words. When he walks into the room, everyone else becomes irrelevant and ceases to be noticed. We try to watch him, to see if he is coming our way, to find out who he is talking to and what he is doing. If he looks our way, we quickly avert our gaze, looking all around the room in a failing attempt at nonchalance.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Wouldn’t it be easier to speak, to tell him our feelings and find out the answer to the one question that really matters: does he like me? What streak of female madness causes this endless circle of hope and doubt? Ah, but if we ask, if we speak first, we face the possibility of being told what we don’t want to hear. He might say, I just don’t think of you in that way, or, I already have a girlfriend. Then what despair we will sink into. How we will feel that life cannot be worth living. Better to hang on to the small threads of hope that maybe, just maybe, he will come to us. Even if he never does, at least we can dream. And oh, what joy there is in those dreams. That moment when he bends his face towards us for that kiss that we will never feel, when he speaks in our heads those words that we will never hear from his mouth. These dreams are what make it bearable. For a few moments, we can almost believe that he is ours. Even in coming back to reality, when the doubts set in again, we know that there will be other dreams.
So it is bittersweet. It is love and pain almost indistinguishable. The joy of seeing him, of knowing he is near, mixed with the torment of the same knowledge. The hope that he feels it too, with the fear that he doesn’t. Every word that comes from his mouth, every time he looks at us, every smile, these are treasured in our hearts, and endlessly examined for meanings that may or may not be there.
And if he never speaks? If he appears with someone else on his arm? What happens to us then? Our hearts tell us that we will never love again. Reason and experience tell us otherwise. And eventually we see that reason and experience
are correct. We pass whole days without giving him a thought. We can close our eyes without his face appearing in our minds. We notice someone else. We realise that in comparison to this new person, he was nothing special. The focus of our dreams has shifted. And the process has started again: Where is he? What is he doing right now? When will I see him again?
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