By Blake Morrison
Submitted by Kirk
Date: 2003 Nov 12
Comment on this Work

from 'Things My Mother Never Told Me'

So much for love's vertical axis.  What about the horizontal, progress through time?  Can love be measured chronologically? How do you measure the wild fluctuations lovers go through in minutes ('I hate you', 'I adore you'), let alone hours, days, weeks and months. Is there a line at all?  In retrospect, remembered at a safe distance, love appears as a series of squiggles and dots -- vignettes, not a seamless narrative.  Reflect on your own love-life and you'll see. A phrase, a hand, a birthmark, the beads of shower-water on her shoulder, the ferns we lay in as hikers passed along the fell-path, that day at the swimming pool, the amber slash in her left eye, the taste of her sweat, the tremor running under her skin just afterwards, the way she always eats the apple core, her laughter, her hair clogging the sink, her mispronunciations, the color of Lake Louise as we stood gazing down, the evening she'll say the thing I've been wanting her to say, a hotel room in Stockholm, her right breast cupped in my palm as I sleep behind her nape, the secret night away we've been promising ourselves, paella and wine on the empty terrace restaurant, me washing her sleeping bag in the sea after she got sick from eating shrimps, that funny tooth, that dress, that other dress, the model in the Scottish Widows advert, my hand between her legs as she drove the car, the photo ofher leaving the beach at Vai, the sudden thought (while out jogging) of the men she had before, that raffia bag she carried, the cards she sends, the e-mails, the phone call I'm still waiting for, the bump of her ankle, the curve of her leg, the shape of her mind. Love persists as an idea, the current under all we do, but these, the ways we remember love (or register it now, or anticipate it happening in the future), the palpable signs, have a separate existence. The in-love bits are just that: bits.  Without them there'd be no line - no marriage, no children, no future.  But on a graph the bits that matter don't show up.