Bonus Round Patient Pages
Encouraging patient/doctor/caregiver communications


October 5, 1999: In This Kingdom By The Sea.


Dear Sparky,

Have you ever cried after you read an achingly beautiful love story?

I remember the first time I read "A Tale Of Two Cities," when Sydney went to the guillotine, my tears wetted the paper and I wrenched the book because something inside me hurt so much. When Gatsby was shot a small knot formed in my throat and it hurt to draw breath from my lungs. I always feel so silly when I cry like that over a fictional character in a book, when I cry so intensely that the front of my shirt is speckled with tears.

And I always feel like that is what makes the story truly fictional--that sense of undying, steadfastingly true devotion to another person. That that doesn't happen in real life, that the best we can hope for is to find someone we are mildly attracted to and someone we can sort of relate to.

It always amazes me that after the torment these characters go through at the hands of their love... that they still love that person, in the end. Gatsby died still loving Daisy, Sydney went to the gallows still loving Lucie, that amazes me.

I wonder how many people have that or have felt that with someone, how many people know what it's like to always be thrilled by the touch of a lover, and to respond to that touch as though it was the first, not just one of many.

I hate the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", I told myself years ago that when I found myself someone I wasn't afraid to commit to, someone I could worship and adore with abandon and someone who would do the same for me, I told myself that that person would be known only as my lover. Because that's really the only term truly encompassing of what I want--I don't want a boy who's a friend, I want a lover.

Another problem with those juvenile terms is that they are used so freely--to describe a friend, someone dated casually and someone dated seriously. It's as though using it so often and in regards to so many different relationships has taken away a bit of it's luster, that it's not special anymore, a term reserved for the person who truly moves your heart to realms it has never been in before.

That's why I like lover, people never say it unless they mean it because professing love in this society is almost like trying to swim for the first time, we are so afraid of drowning that we practically never try. I used to read all of those teen magazines when I was younger and the guys quoted almost always called it "the L-word", "The four letter word," etc. If they are so afraid to say it how can they really feel it? I always wondered that... and that's another reason I promised myself that I would only use the term "lover" because if I love someone, I don't want to be afraid to let the world know. What good is love if it's only shared in secret?

This may seem strange but I've never been a true fan of "Romeo and Juliet"--I always thought that theirs was more of an infatuation than a love. That they were young and fickle and didn't know what love meant--I don't think it's honorable to die for one's love, it's more honorable to live for one's love. Because love doesn't flourish in death, death doesn't make it grow, it just kills it--if Romeo and Juliet took the love that they felt and continued to live even though they were apart, that love would sprinkle their days with sun and shine their nights with stars, because love doesn't stop, being separated from your love doesn't take the love you feel away--in a way it magnifies it, makes you realize how much you truly love that person. If they were really so overcome by love then it would show in everything they did, and in the end only their selfishness showed.

But Sydney is different--Lucie didn't love him, what he did was truly selfless. He died to preserve all that she loved and cared about, he died because if he didn't, a part of her would die. I don't think Lucie deserved him, and I don't like Charles Darnay at all, but I admire Sydney for what he did. Unlike Romeo and Juliet his thoughts were not on what he did not have, he was not centered around the thought of living life without Lucie beside him, he was concerned only about her. He saw his life as empty and barren, the only beautiful part to him was his love for her--and as much as he loved her, he wanted her happiness more. So he died for her and she did nothing to stop him.

And Gatsby is an entirely different story--when I think of Gatsby and Daisy I think about shirts. Beautiful, imported silk shirts flying around a dressing room, painting it with vivid colors. In that moment he wasn't Jay Gatsby, nouveau riche and she wasn't Daisy Buchanan, wife of Tom. They were just James and Daisy and they were in love.

Which is, I guess, why love is so beautiful. It turns inconsequential moments into magic and it transforms mundane lives into extraordinary ones.

Deep down, a part of me never doubts that someday I will have that love--that someday I will have a love so intense that it reflects out onto my face, that it glows within my eyes and everyone everywhere can see it.

I don't want to give the impression that I lack love--I don't, I have more people who love me right now than I ever have before and I cherish and love all of them in return. But I'm talking about something different--something truly special and unique, something that with every moment that I feel it, it makes me glad to be alive.

Love you with all of my heart,


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