We are well aware that the woman whose face we have before our eyes more consistently than light itself, since even with our eyes shut we never cease for an instant to adore her beautiful eyes, her beautiful nose, to arrange opportunities of seeing them again - that this woman who to us is unique might well have been another if we had been in a different town from the one which we met her, if we had explored other quarters of the town, if we had frequented a different salon. Unique, we suppose? She is legion. And yet she is compact and indestructible in our loving eyes, irreplaceable for along time to come by any other.
Marcel Proust, The Fugitive, p. 513
"Unique, we suppose? She is legion."
We are taught to believe that in all the wide world there is that one woman that we are destined to marry. Part of it is the brain playing its evolutionary games to make us stay with that one person to raise our young (which are absurdly helpless because of our slow-developing brain). Part of it relates to the mythology promoted by popular culture. But is it true? I'm certainly on record, especially in this poorly-written blog, of suggesting that the opposite is true (and, yes, I accept the irony of me, of all people, saying that). I shared the story from last year's India/Sri Lanka trip where the students had such a profoundly different response to La La Land than Cyndi and I did. To the students it was a tragic story because they didn't end up together. To their professors, with a couple extra decades under their belt, the ending was redemptive. However, that wisdom (or acceptance) comes from years of life, and often heartbreak, but it's not something that we believed at our students' tender age. Instead, we would have agreed with Proust: "And yet she is compact and indestructible in our loving eyes, irreplaceable for along time to come by any other."