Whether or not I’m in a relationship, I have become rawther cynical about the possibilities of romantic love–so much so that the other day I gave a mean little shove to two teens with entwined tongues who were blocking a subway door. But Elizabeth Alexander’s New Yorker elegy for her husband doubles as a testimony to what two people can offer each other in the name of clear-hearted intimacy. Of a dream she had a few years after his death, she writes:
I look back. I look back. I can still see him, smiling and waving me on.
It was the two of us walking the road and now he has let my hand go.
I walk. I can always see him. His size does not change as I move forward: like me, he is five feet nine and a half, exactly right. I can still feel the feel of my hand in his hand as I walk. I wake and the room is flooded with pale-yellow light.
This essay is the most beautiful thing I have read in a very long time. It is so beautiful and so lovingly, piercingly true that, though I still think successful marriages are less attainable than Greta Garbo (now), I am once again grateful that they can exist.