On a Beatrice

I don’t know. While Mom was alive, I wanted a woman who resembled her. But with her dead, there’s no yardstick to measure other women by. And after all, Mom was the only woman like herself. The mold has been broken. I don’t look at other women the same way anymore. Since her death, I don’t really want another such relationship. It was full of pain and grief that I medicated with alcohol. What made our relationship so painful? What was frustrating about it? We were too close to each other. Enmeshed, and for too long. Thirty five years of knowing somebody is a long time. At least for now, I’m not much interested in women. The sun is going down and the sky looks cold like winter. I’m only beginning to learn who I am.

My next relationship may be much different from the one with Mom. She may have totally other qualities that I admire. Why am I so crazy about L—? She is the epitome of grace, though she herself is oblivious to her charm. She doesn’t esteem herself as highly as I do, which adds to her credit. She is built nothing like my mother, being tall and slender, light and supple. The shape of her head is worthy of sculpture, and her smile warm and fizzy. I missed seeing her in church this morning, though consciously I thought of her not until now. L— is a love from afar like the idealized loves of Dante, Petrarch, and Sidney.

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