I have been thinking a lot recently about what is real and what is fantasy in relationships specifically, about love and lust. Some of the people I have spoken to have grabbed hungrily onto my words, wishing to deny any sense of fantasy when all we have is fantasy, never anything real. They are the grabbers, the hungry-needy. They are not the lovers. But then when you find something real and all others tell you it’s fantasy… well, they just don’t understand.
I once had a love affair with a man whose name I never knew. You might be thinking it was a one-night stand. In fact, I never touched him or spoke to him. You might be thinking it was a crush on someone in the public eye. Neither/nor.
I was standing on the train from Athens City heading for Piraeus Port where I was catching a ship to Rhodes. I was 25 and had a rucksack more than half my size and nearly my own weight. I was with my abusive ex. This was the second stage of our journey after he had left the monastery.
I noticed a man looking at me. He was maybe twice my age, shorter than me. He was a business man, wearing a smart suit and carrying a brief case. He had the most beautiful, liquid chocolate eyes I had ever seen.
We stared at each other. Occasionally I would look aware, scared that L. would see me looking at another man. But always I would look back to this man.
We spoke to each other with our eyes. It was love. He was so gentle and kind. There was nothing in him that grabbed at me or smirked over me. He looked at me. I looked at him. Our souls loved while around us people read newspapers, chatted, spoke to each other with their frontal brains, everything within normal social bounds.
And then this man’s stop came. He gave me an almost imperceptible nod of the head, like a courtly knight bidding farewell. And I felt a pang of grief at him going.
Was that nothing? Was that fantasy? For us it was a real moment of joining and love; with no words, no touching, nothing that the conventional world would class as real.
There is more to making love than coital positions.