the invention of the relationship

the invention of the relationship

A Story by James Bonner

I caught up with her at the station.  The train was idling, waiting for something, a steam was clearing and friends and families were embracing, chatting, and crying for loved ones leaving, and others returning.  I nearly lost myself in the crowd looking for her, worried that I missed her.  The train whistle a reminder that the train would be leaving soon with or without you.  She was sitting on a bench hugging her bag when I noticed her.  From this distance it looked as if she were crying.  Long ago I hoped that I would have learned from my assumptions, but I am constantly taken back by my lack of intuition.  Someone who has been wrong as often as I have should have statistically been right by now.  She was laughing, and not at all surprised to see me, in fact, she expected me and had been considering whether it would be more fun to watch me chase the train as it left or to wait to witness, first hand, the look on my face as she walked away.  She then stood, and left.  I sat on the bench there for a while and watched the sun slowly set in a distance until the light faded and disappeared.  I thought about the invention of the relationship.  Because, whoever invented relationships should die.  I might be slightly bitter still, considering, however, I couldn't escape thinking about what it is that makes a relationship, and what it means exactly to be in one.  I kept thinking how often throughout the course of this last one we both had issues with expectation, both our own expectations that we accepted mutually, those we tried to compromise on, and then those that seem to separate us.  It seems to me that there are only so few expectations that you can communicate to each other, the rest are conditioned by: our parents relationships, the general opinions we form subconsciously from experience, and various affiliations (political, religious, cultural et cetera)  The only way to work through these is a willingness of continued sacrifice, and really getting to know and to feeling comfortable with that significant other.  We find ourselves making a subconscious presumption that because we have been conditioned with certain expectations that everyone has.  It almost seems too obvious to mention but we have to learn to communicate and being as honest as possible while communicating, it's easy early on in a relationship to want to say what you think the other person wants to hear, don't do that.  We did that.  Be honest. 


We were sitting on a bench in a park in the center of town, near a gazebo that we had carved a heart and our initials in one afternoon on impulse, and laughed.  We talked about our future and our dreams though we revised them a little to include each other, then we latched on to some common interest and we ignored everything else.  It may seem to early on, when all you want to be is playful, to talk about how serious a relationship you are looking for, who you want to be, a career, kids etc  but having this conversation now just makes it easier to have later, and it is ok for everything to change.  No one should expect that conversation you had months ago in that relationship to bet set in stone.  When, in our relationship, it came to that point we didn't know how to talk to each other.  That wasn't something that we developed.  Then we just forgot to know each other.  I realized this, and still couldn't say anything.  One morning I woke up to a note left on the fridge, I ran to the train station to catch up to her, and have since been sitting alone on a bench watching a train disappear in the horizon.  I would, every few minuets, quiet my thoughts thinking that I heard in the distance a train whistle.  I sat silently for a while until I realized I was wrong.  I think I tried to hard to grow with her.  I had this idea that in order for us to work we needed to grow, closer, together.  Thinking about it now it seems ridiculous to expect that.  If I was going to expect anything at all I should expect us to grow independent of each other, not away from, not towards, just near.  We should have grown independently, together. 


One evening we were taking a walk through town talking about any number of things that we could fathom between here and there, and we disagreed about something.  You would have thought it was the end of existence as we knew it.  I felt compelled to apologize just because I thought differently.  Having generally similar interests is not something that many people are thinking about, at least beyond having like interests.  Obviously having common ground is important, especially to her in this situation, nevertheless it isn't something we think about because it is just an understanding but the thought is incomplete, you also need to have the right dissimilarities.  Everyone is familiar with the idea that opposites attract, do we ever really consider what that means, though?  Our dissimilarities are just as, if not more, important in a relationship than our common ground.  Firstly, it means there is still a degree of self, meaning we haven't spent this time slowly becoming the same person.  Secondly, we have something to talk about.  It is easier and more interesting to have a conversation with someone about something you think differently on than something you agree about.  This is how you learn.  And, it can allow you to come to a same conclusion by different means, like science and religion.  Also, you can see how well you react to one another when you disagree.  You will agree on some things, but not everything, and when you do disagree are you capable of being accepting of that.  Can you discuss it without arguing?  


Regardless, I've been sitting here for hours, the warm evening air has now turned cold and damp, a full moon distracts me from being distracted.  All I have to show for these wasted hours is that I have learned nothing.  I'm just as confused now as I have always been, and even if I did have some profound moment of enlightenment it wouldn't make the slightest difference next time around, because the rules change.  It's all general.  I'll know what I have always known, to try and communicate as well as possible as early as possible, to not assume that everyone thinks and reacts the exact same way I do, and realize that it probably isn't personal.  These are the personal interactions we cherish, and will continue to cherish, they make a difference in our lives.  When you don't have one you want one and when you have them sometimes you catch yourself questioning your sanity.  You know you'll get hurt again, but we believe its worth it, or at least that this one will be different, and it will be, but will it be the last? Either way it is worth a try. 

© 2010 James Bonner


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Amazing how many valid points you made, on so many subjects. Some that I had never even thought of until I read this. Great article.

Posted 13 Years Ago



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Added on September 3, 2010
Last Updated on October 3, 2010

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James Bonner
James Bonner

Santa Fe, NM



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I am a writer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. WritersCafe is like my dessert, an opportunity to experiment and develop different aspects of my writing through feedback from fellow writers. more..

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A Story by James Bonner