So I'm reading this book, "The Mermaid Chair", and the protaginist has fallen in love at first sight...with a monk. And she's already married...been married for 20 years or so, I'm guessing, and never thought about 'cheating' before. So while this certainly isn't the first book I've ever read about, or partially about, infidelity, it has me thinking...about art. About how good art can take a person down the road not taken. Good books, good paintings, or sculpture, or music...good poetry, or films, or even TV...(tangent...sometimes I think novels and TV can be the best at showing you other lives...because they have time that poems, films, and paintings don't have. A good TV show can take months, even years to show you the full reprecussions of decisions made...like a good book can, but not a lot of films or paintings...)
Hell, even BAD art can be poingnant sometimes, and take you down a road that you would never WANT to travel in your real life...let you see, feel, and know what that life might be like. And don't we all 'suppose' sometimes, think of wonderful or horrible or everyday, mundane things, and wonder how our lives would be different if we made different choices, or were faced with different circumstances? I fear I am hopelessly morbid, because anytime Ted and Maya are out together and come home an hour or two later than I expect, I wonder if maybe they're dead. And then, what would I do with my life? Who would I become? What would change, and what would remain, about me? Would the pain make me into a bitter, horrid person? Or would I recover? We all LIKE to think we would deal with things in a certain way, but it's impossible to KNOW.
It's easy for me to say, that even though I am pro-choice, adamently so, I would never have an abortion, because I've never had to make that choice. I wanted a child, and I got pregnant, and she was healthy and normal and perfect.
It's easy to say I would never cheat on my husband, but I've never been faced with the situation this character is facing, this crazy feeling of being in love for the first time...though honestly, I haven't finished the book, maybe she won't cheat on her husband. But what if I had married some guy who I didn't love as much as I love Ted? Or what if that really isn't the key factor? What if it has more to do with who I am in our relationship, or who we are together? Or who I was at a certain point in our relationship, what I was going through at that time. What if...that's the beauty of good art. It can take you down these roads, show you the beauty and joy of them, the sorrow and anguish, the ugly consequences, the pain that we bring upon ourselves and each other, and yet we can, hopefully, live our lives in a much more reasonable way...working and loving, paying our bills and taking our vacations, cooking, cleaning, fighting and making up. It allows us to live our lives and make our choices, and still have a glimpse of how else things might have turned out. That's what art does for me.