Thursday, May 26, 2016

William Myrl; Letters to No One (55)

Dear No One,
I enjoy romantic comedies. USA showed one called That Awkward Moment recently, it had Zac Efron and others. The lead love interest wasn't an actress I'm familiar with. She was oddly lovely, or lovely odd. There are certain faces that are better for being quirked, slightly mismatched, and I'm a fool for overlarge eyes. Perfect faces are deserving of admiration, and imperfect faces of love. It was an unusual movie in that the protagonist, Mr. Efron, had no past. His deficiencies as a human being were never explained, though they were naturally overcome by the end of the film. Have you ever seen it? Do you know who that girl is? 
Bears (the girl I was with when I was a real person) used to have us watch romcoms together. You've Got Mail was a favorite. Ever notice how overplayed the publishing industry is in movies and books? It diverges strongly from occupational base rates, but who would writers write about if not people like themselves? 
In jail, there is a solid block of the population that believes itself to be in relationships. These fellows are watching a movie all their own, and are all too dependent on what flickers across the screen. Some of them are married, it doesn't really matter. When a man and a woman vow to remain together forever, through better and through worse, they don't use their imaginations. Incarceration is an acid that dissolves all manner of bonds, even as it creates new ones. There are some relationships that endure, and they generally begin after incarceration, by mail, with a partner who knows what they're getting and what they're not. Proximity is the foundation of social interaction, its a simple if somewhat emasculating thought. Geography plays a greater role in networking than our own choices do, and prison is the heart of nowhere.
Bears and I, we're still friends, if distant ones. I've been under arrest for more than twice as long as we were together, and I don't have another reference point for relationships. The fact that I hear from her at all after so many years is amazing to me. It's not something I could have reasonably asked for, all that time ago.
There are certain parts of oneself that have to learn to quiet themselves, if we are to avoid unrest. You learn to live without what may once have been considered necessary. It is not a temporary condition, as so many of us will never be anywhere but here. I will go home one day, and people of my good fortune have difficult imagining choosing to go on if we knew there was nothing but this. Humans don't really make a choice to live though, they just keep living, with or without hope.
Everyone is beautiful in movies involving Zac Efron, and I wish it were that way in life. The world is often uglier than the stories we tell about it, and its endings are slower too.

William Myrl (Smitherman)

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