Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"The FLYING Conversation" - Winnipeg, Canada

I just flew in from the Vancouver Film Festival where the film was presented (more on that to come) to Winnipeg where it is opening at the Cinemateque here. On the telephone tonight, a girlfriend of mine back in New York told me about a discussion she had recently with her boyfriend:

“….We had the flying conversation…. You know…. And we both decided we couldn’t do it….”

She was in the middle of an idea, but I was lost, so I interrupted her: “Flying?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said, “We talked about flying and we decided it wasn’t for us.”

“Where were you flying to?” I asked confused.

“Nowhere….” Her voice was irritated.


“You know we decided we didn’t wanted to do what Patrick did for you in flying…. Both of us felt we couldn’t stand it…”

“Stand what?” I was having a slow day.

“You know, to be with someone who was seeing someone else…”

“Oh” I said finally, all the pieces coming together.

“He was amazing….”

“Yes,’ I said. “He was…”

The conversation moved on to other things, but I kept thinking about what my friend said long after I got off the phone. I realize how unusual it is for men – or women for that matter – to stand the jealously of someone they care for loving another person. Even though Patrick did that for me, I wasn’t sure I could do that for him if the situation was reversed.

I feel I could love two people at once – I’ve done it, although it was hard. But I think I would be furious if my partner did the same. I know it sounds strange, because I have been with a married man, which means of course that I have accepted that the person I love is with another woman and me simultaneously. But being with a married man (or woman) is often different than one might think. In my case, my married lover always told me that he didn’t love his partner. He was just trapped because he didn’t want to leave his children. And I believed him. (Ok, now the Diaspora of female sisters can stop sighing and rolling their eyes – yes I admit I am a little slow….) In my mind I believed he only loved me; the other woman wasn’t a factor at all so it wasn’t about sharing his love. My acceptance of being with a married man is not the same as having your boyfriend or girlfriend, your husband or wife, actively loving you and another person at the same time and admitting that he or she can love two people at once.

But it floors me when I think that that this is so intolerable for me and for most people: Why are we so narrow as human beings? Why is possession so important? Why do we always have to be the only one to be loved?

I guess I am not capable of flying either.

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