Octopi Eggs and the Nature of Love

I have underdone my reading today. I read pages 92-125 of The Soul of the Octopus. This is in part because I had a psychiatrist’s appointment today, and then Mom and I ate lunch. Still, even if I pick my book up at 6:00 PM and keep reading till time to go to bed, I doubt I will finish The Soul of the Opticus by then. So I shall read the rest of it tomorrow… and read part of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh and Other Poems… but will not finish it this weekend, because I will read Longus’ Chloe and Daphnis on Sunday. Nonetheless, I love reading The Soul of the Octopus, with its description of how a mother octopus cares for its eggs. The mother Octopus, by the way, dies shortly before its eggs hatch. It is as though the “swan song” for this species is when the mother appears to love the young it will never see.

It is especially moving to me (despite the mother eating the father to produce the baby octopi) because I am in a romantic mood myself. I am reluctant to mention the name of the man whom I am in love with–he might not appreciate the thought–but my romance is with a person as special as caring for an octopus was to Sy Montgomery. Of course, I would not eat my dinner date and cannot (now) produce offspring. I am forty-two, and I have various biological problems which would make it unsafe to have a child anyway. Yet the ability to have love… if only it could exist in my life.

I cannot say every man I ever asked out was a wisely chosen one–one turned out to be abusive; one turned out to be immature with immature friends; and one (though mercifully he forgave me the misunderstanding) was homosexual. Yet when I was young I had a theory: if I could find that one man who said or did the right ephemeral thing to me that was love, then I could will him to be my boyfriend, then maybe it would all work out. It would be less than knowing them well but more than a handshake. I never dated strangers–well, I went on a few disastrous first dates that terminated at the date’s end–but generally I dated only men who I thought of as “close friends”. I also sought with St. Francis rather “to love as to be loved.” I could never let go of a person I was infatuated with; and yet, I have to admit myself forever unlucky in love.

That is why my new love may not sound promising to the reader, he may sound even a foolish hope that cannot be. I admire him; he is a soldier of sorts, strong and brave. I believe we know each other well, too, but for some reason I imagine myself to be closer to people than I really am. He is like my childhood hero Harry Truman was called, “an extraordinary ordinary man.” I know worshipping the man you want to date as though he was a hero is a little blind, but then love is always blind in a way, and I believe in his destiny. I wish he would look at me as I look at him, and yet I am too afraid to mention it to him that we could date. Perhaps it would not be appropriate.

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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