The holiday season: so filled with joy, songs about angels and trees, and the glorious taste of capitalism; positively refreshing. This weekend I will be attending my annual family Christmas party. Escaping the chaos that is the Christmas Carnival, I board the train at Union Station and head back to Mississauga.Wearing a baseball cap and oversized sunglasses, I am wrapped in my scarf and I avoid eye contact on the train. Pretending to be enthralled with a riveting expose in the December edition of Vogue, I find myself distracted.
Heading back into my old city, images of that night play through my mind.
The moon holds high overhead, and the water crashes on the rocks. Standing by the lake, watching you walk away. Tears flowing, sweat forming on my forehead, you disappear into the night.
The conductors voice beams over the loud speaker breaking me from my thoughts. Standing up from my position at the back of train car, I walk to the doors. I feel some sort of anxiety coming back to my hometown…it is unnerving and I do not know why. Looking around at a lake of memories, I remember the reasoning as to why I left — Ridding myself of the scarlet letter adorned onto my lapel, I moved to the city to avoid the life that I left behind. Taking a Uber to my parents house, I open the door into my childhood. After casual conversations, I head to the basement to reminisce through boxed belongings and to look for nick knacks to decorate my new townhouse. Sitting cross-legged on the carpet I used in my first apartment, I find a box labeled “Do not open, and do not throw out”. I immediately remember distinctly sealing the box with tape, hiding the pain of the summer.
Grabbing a letter opener, I stab the blade into the centre fold and slice open the memories.Gifts, mugs, books, cards and the polaroids. Black and white, yet so intricately filled with colour. The images dance across my eyelids reminding me of what has passed.Closing the box, I put on a half-believable smile and mingle with my family. Looking at a room filled with varying ages, opinions and stories fill the air. Speaking to my elders and married couples, I always have found it strange that they reside in separate beds. Separate bedrooms but married for twenty plus years? something does not align.
In a romantic economy where separate beds take precedence, what follows; Separate bedrooms lead to separate lives and separate lives lead to separation. The dichotomy between fear and love creates a distinct break between the ideals of modern relationships and the sanctity of marriage. Do separate beds indicate something more? I began thinking about the relationships of those close to me. When you come to a certain age or period of time, is the relationship held up by love or by dependency?
As the months pass and two become one, the unfathomable idea of separation is traditionally bred out of fear. The idea of being away from the person that holds our heart is nothing but a terrifying idea that cannot be understood. I cannot seem to understand why couples past the baby boomer generation are programmed to stay together no matter what, yet relationships in this modern generation are futile and can be broken at the slightest of circumstances. The disconnect between the generations is far more complicated than the simple understanding of iPhones and social media; It genuinely confuses me to not know if the relationships of the elderly are actively held up under the precedence of love, or because of alternative means. Dependent on one another for accompaniment yet it is quite evident that emotional distance is present.
As the night continues on, and the relatives begin to leave, I sit down with my mother and watch The Holiday. As Jude Law dancing across my television screen, I begin to judge the romantic decisions of the main characters. So quick to fall in love and quickly making rash decisions, I cannot help but compare the love of fictional characters to my own. When watching television or films, I seem to find myself falling for those who are either fictional, live out of the country, or those made to break my heart.
Lost in the woods with failed religion, I run to my meeting. Draped in fur and face concealed by a black ball cap, the heel of my boots pound the concrete.
I let you be my heaven and I let you be my hell. I let you be the parts of me I wanted to have, and let you fill the parts I did not know I contained.
That’s no longer me, and when already in hell, you must take off your jacket and embrace the heat. Fighting the streets leaves nothing but blood on the concrete.
Hundreds of questions shoot around my brain. Picking up my blackberry, I scroll through my contacts deciding who to burden with this dialectic dialogue. Stumped, I grab a glass of wine and turn all question to the all answering god, Shonda Rhimes. Consumed by the world of Olivia Pope, I think about this generational challenge.
Have modern relationships fallen under a caste system, and have we become nothing more than vigilantes attempting to create order in a society of falsified love?
Heading out to dinner with Chloe, we attend the opening of a new Toronto lounge. Seated in a comfortable plush couch, we order drinks and some food. After a casual conversation, our waiter (from here on called Derek) returns with our dirty martinis and cucumber and seaweed skewers. After a lingering and topical conversation, it was clear that Derek was looking for more than just a tip.
Why is it that people in this generation will happily bed someone for the evening but not for life? I am not saying that men and women in the sixties, seventies, or eighties didn’t have some casual hookups, for many grandparents experienced more than just movies at the drive in. In older generations, a partnership was more the traditional route but it seems that the generations have separated from this.
It is easy to give up on a relationship without putting in an effort, and the alternative is what we must learn from generations above. In the world where separate bedrooms lead to separate lives and separate lives leads to separation, we must learn how to combat the future and not give up on what is worth fighting for.