adj. Not reciprocated or returned in kind
Of course my day started with a conversation about homosexual rabbis. I was on the mountain with a recently widowed member of my bereavement support group and we somehow got on the topic of gay. Those who know me know that a conversation about the sexuality of a rebbe is pretty much par for the course.
The woman i was talking to was the kind of woman that is rarely bred anymore . Composed and charming, she has done good works all her life. A loving wife and mother and centre of the family. Financially comfortable, but not ostentatious. She has grace. Katherine Hepburn. She was the woman who found her husband of 40 years dying on her kitchen floor a few months ago. She was the woman who had to learn how to cry. And she is alright with rabbis having sex with whatever gender they choose.
She had seen a movie she said, where a Lubavitch young man moved into another man's house. They fell in love, but it was unrequited, because the ultra orthodox could not be gay. She said it ended badly. She felt it was so sad that a person could be forbidden love in this way. People should not be denied love she said.
It made me think about unrequited love. Exquisite, obsessive and heart wrenching pain. Pain of loving and it not being returned. Yearning. It is not just romantic love that can be unrequited. It can be for parents, for best friends, for siblings and for fantasies. That is the thing, it is idealized love.
Because it is not returned, your imagination grows it into the most perfect love, the love that will stop the ache, the love that will fill your soul. No wonder it hurts. It hurts because you create exactly what you think you need, and then tell yourself you can never have it. If it was returned would it match up? Would it pale and be a disappointment? Would the Lubavitch men turn into an old gay couple, getting on each other's nerves and farting in each other's beds? Is that love worth killing yourself over?
It is the impossibility of unrequited that makes it so all consuming. Its size is infinite. Unreconcilable. The more impossible, the stronger it is.
Then I thought about my widow. And then I thought about grief. I though about losing your partner to death and remembering them as beautiful and perfect. And then it made sense to me. unrequited love.