What do these texts suggest to you about idealism and truth in an individual’s life? (2009)
Based on Gwyneth Lewis’ poem Prayer for Horizon and a visual of two lovers in a car, parked at the beach.
When an individual is consumed by an ideal, the ability to face the truth of one’s
situation will often be prevented due to a false sense of security; in result, said
individual will fail to recognize the need to obtain their independence.
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“I wish you mercury sight… so that you know where not to be.
I wish you the gift of knowing where your own knowing ends.”
When I was younger, I always used to imagine those of us fortunate enough to go to heaven were also blessed with a chance to start over: to live your life becoming younger again in the sky, before being born again in a new life you chose. I always used to imagine a little child, having lived many comfortable years in heaven and ready to let go of their present life, begin to exit the white gates of the sky before being offered a choice… What would you like your life to be this time?
I always used to imagine I was able to make such a choice, to turn back the time and ask for different parents. But alas, I have never gotten what I’ve wanted.
At least, I have never gotten what I’ve wanted, until he came into my life.
My parents hated me, as I did them. Both their lives were driven by the obsession of alcohol in which they felt gave them freedom to escape. It was only when I, the mistake, came along that their addictions had consequences. I ruined their lives. There was never a day my parents let me get away without being reminded so.
When I met him, however, I was given a second chance. We fell in love and he promised to set me free from the chains of my parents, so long as I was willing to run away with him. It had felt as if I had finally become the child up in heaven… I felt as if I could be reborn.
Sitting in his car now, the horizon which floats above the sea in front of us begging for my eyes’ attention, I feel his lips travel down my neck. I think about the man I have chosen to love and who has saved me from a life I did not want, gave me the choice to choose who I wanted to have in my life – giving me a second chance.
Where did it all go wrong?
I can only focus my vision of sorrow on the waves which crash freely. I match the flow of my breath to the sounds of the ocean, as I feel a lump in my throat restrict air to enter my lungs, before closing my eyes under the pressure of my thoughts. Visions of when the sight of the sunset filled me with happiness mock me. My eyes shut tighter when I picture my smile which once beamed with his lips on mine, the reflection of our love in the car’s side mirror.
The image reminds me of a time when he did not hit me.
His lips stop and I hear his voice whisper low in my ear to get my attention. Instinctually, I pretend as if the crashing waves have masked his call.
I am stricken with the fear of turning my gaze to him and he sees the pools of regret in my eyes. Then, I know he will hit me again like my parents did… At this thought I almost want to hit myself instead.
He is not like my parents, he loves me. The only reason my lover gets violent with me is because he can sense I am hesitant in our relationship, and it hurts him. It isn’t his fault, it is purely mine by making him feel such a way. What gives me the right to make the person who gave me the choice to change my life, who loves me, sad?
I don’t want to hurt him anymore. I don’t. If he knows I do not love him, he’ll get angry… He’ll leave me and I’ll have to go back to my parents: I have nowhere else. Oh god! I don’t want him to leave when he sees I don’t love him, I– No! You do love him, Sarah. Come on! You do! Just because you’re afraid he will hit you doesn’t mean you don’t love him. He hits you because he loves you. He hits you because he loves you!
When he whispers again with more strength, my eyes almost open in surprise. Suddenly, my mind is only repeating one thing.
Show him you love him, show him you love him; please, show him you love him.
This is the life I asked for. This is the life I had fantasized ever since I was a little girl – to live a life a product of my own choices. The urge to run away is now overwhelmed by the need to show him I love him, to show myself I still love him.
Finally, I turn to him as I hold in my breath.
The moment we make eye contact, tears stream down my face and his soft smile turns into a deep frown. He asks me why I am crying and fear once again strikes through my heart. I open my mouth to tell him I love him, but everything is silent aside from the crashing waves.
His lips stretch into a grimace of a smile. I recognize this expression, fear consuming me. I try to remind myself I chose to be with him in the beginning, after all, and I haven’t left because I must still love him… I have to. He takes care of me and continuously offers to buy me what I want, and as he says, gives more than what my family or any other man was ever able to give me. How could I not love him? I am the most secure by staying in his arms.
I do not notice he has recognized the love for him waver in my eyes, until I feel a sting on my cheek.
My tearful eyes look up at the man who has just hit me in panic. I stare at his enraged face, skin scrunched and scowling with resentment. His eyes widen, face softening, once the sob I choke out permeates the silence. Hands come to wrap around my shoulders and I continue to weep, while he attempts to comfort me with both his arms and his words.
“I’m so sorry, Sarah. I love you, you know that right? I- I don’t know what came over me.”
I sob harder and nod. He interprets this as confirmation for himself that I am enjoying his touch, basking in his comfort.
“I hit you because I love you, alright?”
I am far from comforted as I look up past his shoulders through my tears. I see the horizon is slowly getting more and more difficult to spot in the darkness, but the lighthouse at the other side of the shore begins to flash.
When he asks me if I would like to leave, I nod. The cold hardness of his body dissipates from around my figure when he moves to grab a can of alcohol from the backseat. After cracking it open, he throws his head back to drink the liquid in one shot.
Once finished he throws the can out to the back once again before turning the ignition. I see his head turn to look at me, but I continue to look at my tear-stained reflection in the car’s window.
We begin to drive away.