I think Voldemort had the right idea. Not the whole, evil-wizard-genocide- thing, but divvying his soul up into Horcruxes. He split himself into seven different pieces, so no one singular event could ever destroy him in his entirety. And while that may seem like an obvious ploy to stretch a four book series into seven, I think the sensibilities of He-that-must-not-be-named are pretty sound for the dating world.
Because when I review my life and I think about the moments that were most likely to kill me, aside from one bad car crash and that one distinct (but possibly fictional) memory I have as a child about almost falling into a volcano– the rest of them were all relationships. It’s the post apocalypse of a failed relationship that was most likely to put a rope around my neck or a bunch of pills and whiskey in my belly. And it’s silly and stupid now looking back on all that emotion or angst (thank you Xanga for saving all those fun memories), but at that time I was wrecked. And I’m not the only one. Everyone I talk to has some big battle-scar from where someone carelessly ripped their heart out.
And it’s silly, because we learn about love and dating completely the wrong way. We’re taught at such an early age that there’s just one person out there, one person you fall in love with and marry and that’s it. But that’s the over-simplified end result. That’s the finish line of a very long and lonely journey; I’m talking Lord of the Rings three movies of walking just to get a ring… hey that movie makes sense on a dating level too! Nobody ever bothered to explain that all the couples I saw growing up were the evolutionary survivors over many bad dates and dead ends. They’re the finalists of the super-championship-playoffs-bowl of a very long bracket game of “dating, destruction, and dysfunction” (which coincidentally, sounds like a really great book title). Parents never mention their crumpled-dance-cards, or sordid past because “mommy and daddy and a few other boyfriends and girlfriends before we met” is never a good bedtime story for anyone.
And all the books, tv, and movies aren’t any better. They teach us that love is this magical absolute all or nothing event. It either satisfies you completely, or destroys you entirely. There is no middle ground. You’re either standing in the pouring rain with a boombox raised high overhead, or walking down the aisle in a white dress, with the handsomely rugged man waiting at the end. So we go through life throwing our whole hearts at other people, screaming “Love me, damn you! Love me!” And if that person isn’t throwing their heart at you, at the exact same time, with the exact same velocity– it ends like a really bad game of water balloon toss. *Splat!!*
Because I really think Voldemort had it right. Split your heart up, so no one person can kill you. Everybody who has a possibility of happily-ever-after gets a piece of my heart (yes this includes you cute girl at the Gelato place). And if you fuck it up, well you get your piece taken away, and I remain more or less intact. But if you do well, eventually you get a bigger piece. And eventually, one girl is left holding all the pieces… like the end of a really long Monopoly game where she has Boardwalk AND Park Place, and everyone else just has a railroad and one of the purple properties.
I still want the forever and happily ever after do-or-die romance, but at least now I have a system where I can figure out if she’s worth the dying part. Because I’m not expecting anyone to give me their heart lump-sum anymore. But I haven’t given up hope, that eventually I’m going to have all of someone’s pieces, and they’ll have all of mine. Like Backgammon.
Love is like Backgammon.
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