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quiet_curiosity ([personal profile] quiet_curiosity) wrote2007-02-05 04:25 pm

Back and Forth, for [livejournal.com profile] 31_days

Title: Back and Forth
Fandom: Sex and the City
Characters: Carrie
Words: 551
Rating: PG (it’s seems so wrong to be this way…I know, I know!)
Disclaimer: Sex and the City was created by Darren Star and distributed by HBO. I receive no monetary benefit from this work.

For [livejournal.com profile] 31_days, prompt February 05 – the golden apple

It’s that time of year again: the air is chill yet crisp and love is in the air as everyone prepares for Valentine’s Day.

Well, nearly everyone.

We’ve all encountered that awkward silence that comes after our friends describe what they will be doing for Valentine’s Day and then realize that you, “poor and dateless,” have no plans. They mean to be kind but their silence says it all: “Nearly 40 and without a man – how sad.” I’m not sure that that, in and of itself, is bad. After all, many people live perfectly fabulous and fun lives with just themselves and their friends. However, your friendly columnist has a few other issues in her life that muddy the waters a bit and make her friends worry all the more.

It’s over with Big. Again. How many times have I written this? Every time I think I’ve grown beyond those petty, teenaged games, I find myself playing them with him. I place myself out there at each available moment; he picks me up for awhile and then drops me when something new and shiny wanders around. Moments alone with him away from the crowd end up feeling like snippets out of The Waste Land:
“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes bad. Stay with me.
“Speak to me. Why do you never speak. Speak.
“What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
“I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

It’s trying, it’s self-denying, and it’s driving me insane.

And I think for a moment of what I have put into this relationship and I remember the story of Atalanta and Hippomenes. For those who have forgotten, Atalanta, grief stricken over the lost of her lover, refused to marry anyone else. Her father made a deal with her, saying that anyone who beat her in a foot race would be her spouse and she agreed, as she knew that she was faster than everyone else. Hippomenes wanted her and prayed to Aphrodite for help. She gave him golden apples to leave in Atalanta’s path so that she would notice them and be distracted enough to slow down. It worked and Hippomenes won the race and he won her. But he didn’t pay Aphrodite back and she turned them both into lions. The lion thing doesn’t make much sense today but the Ancients believed that this transformation kept the two of them apart.

And, for some reason, it all made sense. We both drop little hints and baubles to distract the other from our faults. This distraction works and, for a while, we’re fabulous and the envy of all the people who don’t know us well. But this only lasts until we remember what drove us crazy about the other one and split up. And though we know that it will all end badly, we drop the hints again and go back for more.

We all seem to keep going back to relationships that are doomed by are own actions and yet we can’t pull ourselves out of these self-defeating cycles. It made me wonder why do we do so. Even with the depleting pool of men, surely there must be better options than to stay within broken relationships. When is time to just keep our apples to ourselves and move on? …

Excerpt from The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot. The lines quoted are 111-114.