Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

Author:Hope Edelman
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub, azw3
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Published: 2010-05-25T21:00:00+00:00

Chapter Seven

Looking for Love Intimate Relationships

Surely whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her I shall follow, As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid steps anywhere around the globe.

—Walt Whitman, “Vocalism”

MY FRIEND HEIDI SENT ME those lines on a postcard more than ten years ago. I still remember how each word was measured out in her neat calligraphy. Heidi and I met in the eighth grade, which gave us ample time to watch adult patterns develop and repeat. She counseled me through the dissolution of my first adult romance, and my second, and my third. By then, she knew my weaknesses. So on the back of the postcard, mailed from Boston the day after we’d discussed my most recent love affair, she gently warned me about following a false prophet who lured me with words I wanted to hear, and she signed the card, “Be careful with your heart, sweet you.”

This was not mere cautionary verse. Heidi had seen me, many times, give my heart away blindly, and too soon.

I won’t recount and relive every romance I had before the one that ultimately turned into a marriage. The details are messy, and they start to repeat themselves before long. I had several good relationships and a few long-term ones that started slowly, plateaued for a while, and ultimately ended when two people grew apart or found they couldn’t withstand change. But in between I had plenty of romances that ended before they really began. This is how I’ve always seen it: Once is an event, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a behavior. Everyone has her patterns. This was mine.

We would meet at a party or at a softball game or on a train. He would take my phone number, and call the next day. Then he started bringing presents, cooking dinners, asking to see me every night. I reveled in the attention, thinking, I am adored. I am loved. He wanted to know about every detail of my day. He told all his friends about me. “You’re are everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” he said. “I will make your life complete.” He would start planning for the future. That was week one.

Week two, I would start feeling the first shiver of unease. Should relationships begin so fast? I would muse to a close girlfriend, and ignore her wise response. If he felt this way, I would tell myself, it must be real; it must be true. We would spend our first night together, and he’d call in sick to work the next day. We would make crazy promises to each other on street corners, make love at midnight and again at dawn. I would know, even as I lay beneath him, that I was letting sex masquerade as love, but inside the parentheses of the moment I could make them one and the same. In the half-light of early morning with adorations whispered in my ear, I could convince myself that when


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