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Goodbye to Love
The Carpenters


I'll say goodbye to love
No one ever cared if I should live or die
Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by
And all I know of love is how to live without it
I just can't seem to find it

So I've made my mind up
I must live my life alone
And though it's not the easy way
I guess I've always known

I'd say goodbye to love
There are no tomorrows for this heart of mine
Surely time will lose these bitter memories
And I'll find that there is someone to believe in
And to live for something I could live for

All the years of useless search
Have finally reached an end
Loneliness and empty days will be my only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I'll go on as best I can

What lies in the future is a mystery to us all
No one can predict the wheel of fortune as it falls
There may come a time when I will see that I've been wrong
But for now this is my song

And it's goodbye to love
I'll say goodbye to love




***

It's been a year since I last had a relationship. Cheers.

And by looking at the words I just wrote you won't be able to tell if that has been too long or too short, for me at least. You must know what had happened to me before in order to feel the weight (or levity) of those words: Am I getting impatient? Is this an introduction to a litany which will only reek of self-pity and anger? Or (and you're getting warmer) is this celebratory--as marked by Cheers--indicating a kind of accomplishment, one which could easily be misunderstood because pretentious (as if the world owes me a lover), or an attempt to counter the charge of being "bitter" (but of course you should know me better).

(You see, I can always hide myself. And even if what they say may be true, that the reader knows the author better than he knows himself, I would still maintain that you and I are in the same position: we don't know me, and what I mean, and what I feel, because the author says more than he means.)

So let's try this again, with more honesty:

It's been a year since I last had a relationship--and I don't care if that's been as long a depression and its nights, or as quick as the trigger of an angry gun. Cheers--because I made it, but I knew I would all along.

***


It was never a question of me needing someone. If it were so, that would have been a very bad reason to love.

To need is to lack and to desire to fill that lack, as if another person could ever do that for myself. It does not mean, however, that we cannot give what others need or desire (time, attention, money, etc.). We can give that. But giving because it is needed, necessary or a duty, is not giving. One can only give excessively: she does not need it and I do not need to give it.

The impossible hopes of the needy: they ask for something that can never be given to them and they can never receive.

But I can give what I have, even what I do not have. Offering and sacrifice. But I am not a god, only a priest and a penitent. Whence my loneliness.

***

Ordinary idle talk will say: It's just a matter of time, don't go looking for it and it will find you. I always smile when I hear this. Is one supposed to be consoled by such harsh yet empty words? They miss the question.

Above all, I know that already and I know that I'm beyond that because I see farther. What do I see? That it's neither the right time nor the right person. It's the decision. And it's a decision only a few can make (the poet, philosopher, and saint).

The question that has been in my heart for a long time is this: Am I condemned to be alone? And I ask not out of worry but of excitement!

But no one is really ever alone. My proof: now that I'm alone the more I am with others. And I am not even talking about having more friends.


***

When you're alone, and when I say alone I mean having a mind separated from the sensual world and the eyes focused on eternity, instead of fleeing the world, the same world opens itself to you. And what does it profit a man if he gains his heart but loses the world?

***

Most try in vain to gain both wisdom and happiness. One has to choose between the majesty of the world and the kingdom of the heart, between the philosopher and the saint.

***

To be a philosopher is to be alone. Hence his profound melancholia.

To be a saint is to be the bridegroom of God, which amounts to being alone as well. A marriage with an absentee husband. Hence the saint's tears.


***

Emerging from his seven solitudes, Zarathustra went to the people and spoke from his heart. But no one understood him. Some even laughed at him. They did not know that God was dead. Zarathustra went back to his mountain with his head bowed. But from those heights he regained the horizon and could see everything again.

Heraclitus secluded himself in a small hut in a mountain far from the people. Hearing of his wisdom, some would travel long ways to see him as if he were an attraction. Legend has it that when some men did see the philosopher they were disappointed. Instead of chancing upon him writing or striking the thinker's pose, Heraclitus was sitting by the stove in his kitchen. The thinker of fire was warming himself. Seeing the disappointed faces of the visitors who expected much more, the obscure one gave them something to think about on their way home: He said, here, too, the gods dwell.

I fancy to think that the weeping philosopher was not really warming his body; he was heating his icy heart.

***

What is the difference between waiting and looking? None.

For to wait for something means to clear the horizon where what one is waiting for can--if it does--emerge and become visible. Now this is the same as looking for something. When I look for something I attentively and consciously train my eyes to see, to watch out and to not let something pass me by. And when it comes to the essential, when I do not know precisely what I am waiting and looking for, I force myself open, much like not letting your eyes blink or avoiding sleep.

What is essential, again, comes in the blink of an eye or in a flash of lightning or in a drop of water. What is essential, a dream, a love, an opportunity, can only pass us by at most twice but usually once. Hence this eternal watch and perpetual insomnia. Lives are built and lifetimes arranged around a few events (birth, accomplishment of a dream, finding the beloved, then death). How to keep awake and shake off the useless restlessness of our days? Only one thing delivers sanity: sleep.

Sleep and the manic world is silenced and sentenced to a deathly slumber. Sleep: the eclipse of the world. Now nothing can pass you by.

***

What is that absurd feeling that sets in after knowing with certainty that love had chanced upon you, and you let it go? What is that sickening emotion which points an accusing finger, lets out a pregnant sigh, terrorizes the mind with a barrage of questions that shall never find conclusions, leaving you imagining--no, already obsessing--about what they call "what might have been"?

"What might have been" is nothing; not merely because such a possibility did not become real but more so because possibilities in themselves are a pure nothing. Possibilities do not exist. While what philosophers say may be true, that potentiality is already inherent in that which comes into being (given that being cannot come from nothing), I do not see potentialities walking on the street. I can only see real beings in Being and never possible beings, partly in Being and partly Nothing.

So what does the heart fret about when it missed the chance to love? Nothing. What does the lover complain of if he failed to love and be loved? Nothing. What do I lose when I lose a possible love? Only "what might have been," which again is nothing. I can never lose what was never mine.

***

The nothing can no longer be lost for we already swim in its thick waters. The point is to be alone and dive into the abysses of the Nothing. The first to surface and to hold onto something, like "what might have been," is a coward and a cheat.

***

Goodbye to love: the greatest decision possible because it is to decide to live while already dead. The philosopher.



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