by Ian G Graham.
My first love was a scientist – a strict materialist – feelings she expressed were sharply crafted with the precision of Ockham’s razor.
I felt completely captivated by the power of Jacinta’s intellectualism and deeply moved to offer her my heart and hand in marriage.
Ted I will marry you, she replied in the firm analytical style I had come to love and admire her for. My emotions are elevating now not only out of the archaic history of my brain but from the instinct of survival.
As I listened to her measured response on bended knee she continued….
It is no accident that emotions and feelings such as wrath, fright, passion, love, hate, joy, and sadness are so-called “mammalian inventions” of the brain originating in the limbic system.
They arise from parts of the brain that evolutionists say developed in the intermediate stage of human existence. The more rational faculties of the neopallium part of the brain came later and involve the process of reasoning and judgment.
All this is to say that we need both emotions and reason to be human; of the two, it is our greater ability to reason that makes us distinctly different from other mammals, “she said.
And so during what was a sweltering hot summer that year we married and the two became one through mammalian inventions and after we returned from our honeymoon (bathed in the blindness of love) to our first home, she spoke so eloquently to me…
Ted, don’t speak to me my serotonin levels have hit rock bottom and my brain is awash in glucocorticoids, my blood vessels are full of adrenaline and if it weren’t for my endogenous opiates I’d have driven the car into a tree on the way home. My dopamine levels need lifting. Pour me a chardonnay and I’ll be downstairs in a minute.
So, we settled into married life…
Many years passed and we remained happy and when my mother died due to respiratory complications, Jacinta was by my side. With carefully chosen words, she consoled me in a most practical way…
Grief for the death of a loved one is a major task of cognitive updating revising all our habits of thought to fit a world with one less intentional system in it. Ted I cannot fortify you say, after the funeral of a familiar intentional system.
But my intentional system was soon about to accommodate more strain because…
following the year my mother passed away I faced more heartbreak when Jacinta decided to leave me after she received a grant to embark on research into whether sugar impacted on the fertility of bears in the Artic. She told me she may be gone for several years and because her career goals were so opposite to mine, I was a problem for her.
In the end I had to accept this with great sadness, after-all Jacinta was the one with ambition and the prospects for success were naturally-seeded within her, I was just a struggling writer.
We parted amicably and I never saw her again….
Saddened by the empty space left in my life with her decision to leave, I began to drink heavily and work sporadically. Writing and wine was all that I had for two years. Mother wine brings some reprieve for a broken heart on many a lonely night. I had resigned myself to that low condition, although inwardly I did hope that love would knock softly at my door again… and eventually it did.
The seeds of new love were sown when I met Tammy at my local poetry group. New green shoots in life found air with the love we shared through writing – plays, short stories and poetry.
The attraction grew as we continued to meet for the weekly group readings and eventually we began seeing each other for dinner and coffee at Dominic’s Café on weekends. We fell in love but it was so different to anything I had ever known with Jacinta. Tammy began writing to me regularly…
On our first dinner date, she wrote…
I bring you this evening, as an offering, my joy at having plunged my body into the silk and gold of the frank and joyous wind and the gorgeous sun; my feet are bright with having walked among the grasses; my hands sweet with having touched the heart of flowers; my eyes shining at having felt the tears suddenly well up and spring into them before the earth in festival and its eternal strength.
Often she wrote notes to let me know she was thinking of me when we were apart…
Space has carried me away drunken and fervent and sobbing in its arms of moving brightness; and I have passed I know not where, far away in the distance, with pent-up cries set free by my footsteps. I bring you life and the beauty of the plains breathe them on me in a good, frank breath; the marjoram has caressed my fingers, and the air and its light and its perfumes are in my flesh.
Soon we were wed and on the first night of our honeymoon she poured herself over me with these words from the depths of her soul…
Gently, more gently still, cradle my head in your arms, my fevered brow and my weary eyes;
Gently, more gently still, kiss my lips, and say to me those words that are sweeter at each dawn when your voice repeats them, and you have surrendered, and I love you still.
And when the day rises sullen and heavy; the night was crossed by monstrous dreams; the rain and its long hair whip our casement, and the horizon is black with clouds of grief.
Gently, more gently still, cradle my head in your arms, my fevered brow and my weary eyes; you are my hopeful dawn, with its caress in your hands and its light in your sweet words.
Love arrives so softly sometimes
we don’t even know it’s there.