The Thing I Like About …

Moonstruck: the parts where her mother asks her if she’s in love.

Loretta has had “bad luck,” as she puts it – she’s a widow, and now, in her late 30’s, she’s decided to marry Johnny so that she can have that feeling of stability and purpose and partnership. Her mother asks her if she loves Johnny, and Loretta says, “No, but he’s a good man, and I like him.” Her mother says, “Good. When you love ‘em, they drive you crazy, because they can.”

Later, Loretta has fallen for Ronnie, and all of her plans and presuppositions have changed. Her mother asks her if she loves Ronnie, and Loretta says yes. Her mother says, “Well, that’s too bad.”

When we love someone, life can become complicated, as we try to intertwine ourselves with this other person; our happiness becomes connected to this person’s happiness, even though we can’t really make that person happy any more than we could anybody else. When we love someone, we give over something of ourselves, and it’s always scary, from the beginning to the end.

To settle for someone we “like” and who is a “good person” … well, it’s just easier, and simpler, and there really isn’t anything wrong with it. To settle is very peaceful and straightforward and fine.

But Loretta and Ronnie felt – or so they said – like they had been dead. And now they feel alive.

Does this mean being in love with someone will always be complicated and scary and crazy-making? Yes. Yes it does.

But you’ll be alive.

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