Tim Robbins raises a great question – Who knows how to make love stay? – the pondering of such a question is like a love affair in itself. One ends up asking – Do I know how to make love stay? – but then ceases soon after realizing their vainglorious self-assessment and retreats to a fundamental question – How can anyone make love stay? – What have we done wrong so far? Is love something that comes and goes or is a constant, a North star to which everything we do is fixed? Is there remnants of our love left with past lovers or do we take it all with us? Or do we drop it all back into the universe and find new love?
Do I, a vulnerable, neurotic slab of matter with long hair and psychedelic tights, know what love is?
I know enough. Why bother pondering something if you are going to prematurely rob yourself of the possibility of knowing Love’s face. The magic though, that’s where Tim Robbins has a stroke of brilliance on his Remmington SL3.
He made me, in those few lines, realize that all these long 27 years (mostly spent in foetal position under a blanket of self-pity) had been expecting love to be the magic. Love was magic happening without having to do a thing. Love was an overwhelming force that was indiscriminate, all-encompassing and dominant – and if true, easy. The ease signified rightness, and the rightness would in turn signify Love. I had been wrong.
Wanting to make magic with someone was love. Wanting to celebrate two bodies – through the means that lovers naturally devise – and two minds through understanding, compassion, imagination and generosity – by using the sparks made by the friction to create a fire that burned down walls and painted graffiti over stop signs – that’s love put to work in the hands of two souls who want to give it a home. Who want to make it stay.
Love stays where it is wanted. Where it is nurtured. Where it is given space, food and water. Warmth.
Just like a cat. If a cat lives in a home where meal times are sporadic, water is sparse and he understands his true name to be ‘F*#*% off!’, it’s going to wander over to one of the neighbours, probably the one with an open door and the smell of baking. It’s going to let this strange human stroke its fur because it hadn’t been stroked enough. It’s going to like the way this stranger calls it ‘kitty-cat’ and gives it warm milk. After long enough, the cats moved out of the House of Chills and move in with this generous stranger who offered kindness and a new name that fit. After longer still, Kitty-cat stays. Maybe the old owners won’t even notice it’s gone. Until one day they’re in the middle of a divorce, fighting over cutlery and one asks the other ‘Who gets the cat bowl?’ and they both realize they no longer have a cat. The cat strayed. Because the bowl was never full.