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January 17, 2020

The Fast and Slow of Recovery

An eighteen year old affair ended today. What started with Pride and Prejudice culminated with Persuasion. I devoured all the books written by Jane Austen, even those she left incomplete. Everything about her was prim and proper; her work, her views on life and her words.

I always longed to be like the heroines created by Jane Austen; Victorian, calm, poise and perfect, who though protected by chaperones, still managed to find true love. I dreamt of such love stories, like she weaved, for my own life. I expected a dash of Darcy in all my men though they carried with them shades of Rhett Butler. My fascination for teas and walks were woven by her. I wondered what it would be like to be a debutante. I pictured myself through her words, saw my carriage waiting for me and the waltz in the ballrooms. In my current chase to meet my livelihood and fill my pocket, I feel those Victorian days weren’t bad after all.

My dream life is just as she describes a day in Elizabeth’s or Emma’s or Anne’s or Elinor’s life – visiting the country, having tea, reading books, going for long walks, fainting at the slightest misfortune and dancing in the evening with friends and neighbours. Though dreams seldom come true, Jane Austen used to transport me to this world of my dreams through her words and those moments, my imperfect life shines out perfection.

It was with a tinge of sadness and envy that I put down the last Austen book. Sad, that there will be no more work of hers to dive into; envious of those people out there in the world who are yet to broach into Jane Austen-ism. I envy the wonders awaiting them.

A phrase in Persuasion stayed with me, “Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from.” To the uninitiated, she is referring to a love letter. Gosh, gone are those lovely days of sitting late into the night and pouring out words for the loved one in a piece of paper.  Without digressing, speaking of certain ‘love’ that we should not recover soon from, unrequited love carries with it exquisite pain and pleasure that makes man/woman believe that it is the ultimate form of love.

Even I believed the same notion, once upon a time, when I placed my unrequited love on the pedestal and worshiped it inside the four walls of my room with sighs and tears. I loved the intense emotions that ran through me and I merged with St Teresa sharing her agony in ecstasy for the apparition I have identified as my object and subject of love. Each day I added more decorations unto him and each night I wept in pain yet secretly finding pleasure in my virtuous capacity to be steadfastly loyal to the subject who isn’t aware of being adorned as the god in my private altar. I sat amongst others in the world glorifying myself and my amazing capacity to love and be unnaturally acceptable of the truth that I may not be loved in return. This kind of love was something I did not want to recover from soon.

Eventually, I did.

As every bit of literature carries with it a moral, I guess the moral I want to highlight here is that everything that is good or bad, comes with an expiration date. It is on us how slow or fast we want recovery. And always, remember, there are some things/feelings/people, that are not to be soon recovered from!

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