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Holding on to our memories of love

Luba Kassova | February 13, 2024
Holding on to our memories of love Holding on to our memories of love
Last weekend Richard and I ended up spending the whole of Saturday afternoon binging on all 13 episodes of the highly positively reviewed “One Day” Netflix series. Richard had been feeling poorly that day, one child had a friend over, the other was at his dad’s. It felt like a fitting pastime for a lethargic couple on a rainy winter’s day.
Initially mildly irritated by the poor attention to detail that some scene settings revealed, and the story’s insufficient focus on the reasons behind the characters’ simultaneous attraction and repulsion to an intimate romantic relationship with each other, we ended up being profoundly moved by the story’s evolution, the acting, the ending.
One Day is a love story, admittedly more tragic than comedic or romantic, so no, not a romcom. It is a love story of colliding human fragilities, of wrong and right timings, of recoiling from pain at high cost, of birth and death dates, of the inescapable loss that lurks around every corner of our human existence and of the transcendence and resilience of love.
By the time we had burned our way through all the episodes, it was dark outside. Richard and I spoke briefly and quietly about the feelings and thoughts that the series had evoked in each of us, but it was late. The kids needed to eat. We hurriedly got up.
A moment later we found ourselves in a tender embrace in the middle of the kitchen. I broke down sobbing, my arms wrapped around Richard, his around me. I had been slapped by a forcefully lucid thought that the one thing I knew with infinite certainty was that one day we were going to say goodbye to each other. Luba and Richard in their current shells were going to cease to be together, cease to exist. My meditation training urging me to stay present in the moment, for only that is real, was ridiculed by this crystal-clear thought that dragged me through the mud of my future. I found myself in the most arrogant of futures, whether a minute or decades away, the future where we’d said farewell. I surrendered to the unforgiving pain that came with this realisation. It erupted out of me in the form of visceral sobs interspersed with long expansive inhales, confined only by Richard’s arms around me. My arms wrapped around Richard cradled his contrasting, delicately contained but no lesser pain. We surrendered to the awareness of loss in our own extraverted and introverted ways, firmly choosing not to run away from the anguish we felt, locked in our embrace.
While experiencing the inevitability of our mortality, unexpectedly we also felt ineffable joy. I felt the joy of sensing Richard’s heart beating, feeling his warm body, his aliveness reverberating through my whole frame. I later found out that he had felt the same. Yes, we knew what the future held, but it was not here yet. The prematurely felt moment of tragedy was enraptured by a joy which could not have been born had we not felt the impending loss. Through experiencing the pain of death, we experienced the ecstasy of life, the power of love. Out of this moment grew our little gift to the world, a momentary flower that blended into the vivid ever-pulsating meadow of universal love.
Gratitude rushed through my body as I remembered Richard’s gentle reflection just a few minutes earlier. “We must hold on to our memories of love.” And so, we did. Tightly. On a grey Saturday in February. Just another day. One day.

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