I Love You & I Like You

If you haven’t seen the comedy series Parks & Recreation, you are missing out. I was missing out too (until earlier this year). It is now a favorite. I’m tempted to re-watch it, already. 🙂 Ben & Leslie’s love story is such a cute secondary plot. Their friendship was the foundation that brought them to this moment. You can’t help but love their love. It adds an extra bit of fun that they were enemies when Ben first arrived in town.

Today, I’ve been thinking about the beauty of friendship as the foundation of a love story. Lo and behold, Ben’s “vows” to Leslie popped up in my Instagram feed this evening. In the novel I’ve been re-writing, a friendship forms between my protagonist and her love. But it’s complicated – their love becomes complicated. Their friendship is what ultimately keeps them tied to each other and draws them back into each other’s lives – after time apart.

There’s something about a love like that.

The Constant

desmon lost, the constant, LOST,

If you’re new around here, the television show LOST, is my absolute favorite. Today is the 15th anniversary of the season 4, episode 5 – also known as The Constant. I will admit that the bar is low when it comes to TV/movies that entertain me. Hahahaha!! But what I love about LOST is what I view as the writer’s biggest gift to faithful viewers – the characters. People who weren’t huge fans of the show or who may have been infrequent viewers were hyper-focused on the plot. I get it. But as a character-driven writer, I was in love with the show because of the writer’s dedication to the characters and their stories.

The Constant is absolutely my favorite episode of TV (of all times). It was one of the bright spots in six seasons of LOST. And it’s a great TV moment, overall. Here’s a great recap and here’s the moment . . .

Hiding Love?

kristin hannah, the nightingale kristin hannah, elaina avalos

I’m currently reading the novel, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I like the book and the characters more than some I’ve read recently. But I’m still reading so I’ll reserve my fully formulated thoughts on it until I’m done. There are some beautifully written phrases in this book that make me think.

This scene is one that stopped me in my tracks after reading it today:

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Isabelle seems unbreakable. She has a steel exterior, but it protects a candyfloss heart. Don’t hurt
her, that’s what I’m saying. If you don’t love her — ”

“I do.”

Vianne studied him. “Does she know?”

“I hope not.”

Vianne would not have understood that answer a year ago. She wouldn’t have understood how dark
a side love could have, how hiding it was the kindest thing you could do sometimes. “I don’t know why
it’s so easy for me to forget how much I love her. We start fighting, and…”

I sometimes feel as I’m reading this book, that I am most like Isabelle – of all the female characters in the book. I wouldn’t have expected that when I first started reading. But there are some similarities in our experiences, that I can’t quite deny. The scene above was one of those stop me in my tracks, moments. Vianne’s tenderness for her sister, in this scene, was a long time coming. In fact, it’s one of the reasons she’s not my favorite character. Her harshness toward her younger sister is entirely uncalled for. She is selfish. But there’s something about her saying, “She wouldn’t have understood how dark a side love could have, how hiding it was the kindest thing you could do sometimes,” that really got me thinking today.

Hiding love seems like the opposite of everything I believe and stand for. In most ways, it is. On the other hand, sometimes – it is what it is. Choosing to hide it, under some circumstances, may be what’s best for the one you love. In The Nightingale, Gaetan admits to Vianne that he loves her sister. He also says that he hopes Isabelle doesn’t know. To fully explain is to share spoilers for the book which I don’t want to do. But I will say that the characters are in the midst of loss and war all around them. For her well being, Gaetan doesn’t want Isabelle knowing how much he loves her.

Their work is dangerous. And life is fleeting in the midst of German occupied France. He made a decision – for her own protection and well being – that he wouldn’t let her see that love. He still makes choices that are protective and caring. But outside of that, he maintains his hard shell, to protect her from the things she won’t protect herself from. I’m sure there’s a chance that Isabelle’s steady and constant love for him – in spite of that – makes Gaetan love her even more. But Isabelle wouldn’t have known that through most of the book. I hope she knows before the end of the book.

So while hiding love seems antithetical to what I hold most dear when it comes to loving others, in some situations, it’s a necessarily painful part of loving another. I read through more than half of this book to get to the point where I could like Vianne more. This scene does it. But it also makes me love Gaetan (didn’t like him before this), for the way he protects the woman he loves, as best he can – in a situation that is unwinnable. To me, that is an incredibly beautiful love.

She wouldn’t have understood how dark a side love could have, how hiding it was the kindest thing you could do sometimes.