…than to never have loved at all. Isn’t that the way it goes? I never really agreed with this saying when it applies to real life. I mean, losing love really sucks, and if you’ve never been in love, you don’t know what you’re missing. Right?
But I do agree with this saying when applied to books and movies. After watching Atonement the other night, I realized that all the big, great love stories end tragically. Does anyone ever really get the girl (or guy) in a drama? I went through a quick list of classics: Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet, Endless Love, Out of Africa, The English Patient, Love Story, Brokeback Mountain, Ghost, Titanic. I guess star-crossed lovers only end up together in romantic comedies.
Which, of course, brings me to my current YA work-in-progress. Yes, the same one I’ve been working on for over a year. The love story. Yes, that one. It’s strange to think about the two lovers not ending up together. After all, they adore each other, they overcome tremendous obstacles, and I really, really love them! They must be together or the world will stop spinning! But, I also know that the tone and theme of the story may call for them to go their separate ways. Waaahhh! I know, so sad, right?
In the end, maybe it’s the longing for the love that can never be that touches readers more than the acquisition of that love. I mean, I was really happy when Harry and Sally finally kissed on New Year’s Eve, and promised to stay together forever. But when Francesca decided to stay in her truck on that rainy afternoon and let Robert Kincaid drive away from the Madison County bridges forever, knowing she would never set eyes on him again…well, that image still haunts me at night. And I read the book 14 years ago!
Maybe “having loved and lost” is the key to a good romance. I looked up the word romantic in the dictionary. It says: involving a relationship that is idealized, exciting, intense, and impractical. Impractical? Hmm... Interesting. I guess that’s why we don’t see romance movies where Harry and Sally or Robert and Francesca are arguing over paying bills, or trading in their convertible for a minivan, or saving for their kids’ college fund, or folding laundry together. Practical? Sure. Romantic? Not so much.