Thaw (n) – A very brief positive moment in a troubled romantic relationship often causing individuals involved to get high on the ephemeral goodness and galvanizing them to go all in for higher stakes without directly addressing underlying deep-seated tensions
“It was the bloody thaw!” says a woman just coming out of a two-year long divorce process, when asked why she married him in the first place. “But after the thaw comes a long ice age.”
Drinking tea at a corner table of Acacia, she does not seem bitter at all even as she says this. She has since landed her dream job, working for a cause that is dear to her. She is dating someone new and attending swanky parties in town, surrounded by many friends and family. As if the failure of a twenty-year-old marriage isn’t sad enough, the nasty divorce is leaving her with certain burdens instead of making things easier for a former partner. How can anyone be so callous to a loved one? Yet, there she is, sipping her drink strongly, calmly and catching up with me in the cool ambiance of the tea salon.
It was a love marriage for them, each ticking the other’s check boxes at the time. Issues which finally led to their downfall were always there. The couple was cognizant of them, and yet they were genuinely in love and didn’t dwell too long on these signs. Communications and more commitment would straighten them out in time, she had thought.
In retrospect, she says she has picked the wrong filter: these check boxes thought to lead to the kind of companionship desired. The fluff changes over time. You change. Your parents change. Twenty years later, she says that the only critical check box is if, behind all the fluff, your partner is still kind to you and can remain empathetic in times of conflict and disagreement. Your partner maybe a great parent, a wonderful boss, and a kind neighbor. But the real personality that counts is not how the person presents him/herself to the outer world, but how he/she relates to you intimately and internally.
Getting hung up on the thaw happens so naturally that you’d be surprised. Booking away plane tickets and planning serious trips, saying yes to things you are uneasy about, all at the face of distress. Consequences of denying your own intuition.
It makes sense just a little better after each conversation such as this with people like her. This is why adults have warned you about the dangers of vehemently picking filters at 24. In your twenties, you don’t know what you don’t know. You haven’t seen enough of the world or people. The best you can do when you are in your twenties is to try to find a fine balance between being intentional about these things, coming up with meaningful check boxes, and not getting too hung up, too dogmatic about them all at the same time.
I’m also starting this tradition to donate to a cause of choice in honor of/ in tribute to all former lovers during Valentine Week.
In any case, I saw these guys in Singapore. Seems fitting here.
The Mother We Share by Chvrches
Never took your side, never cursed your name
I keep my lips shut tight, until you go
We’ve come as far as we’re ever gonna get
Until you realize that you should go
I’m in misery where you can seem as old as your omens
And the mother we share will never keep your proud head from falling
The way is long but you can make it easy on me
And the mother we share will never keep our cold hearts from thawing
In the dead of night, I’m the only one here
And I will cover you, until you go
Cause if I told the truth, I will always be free
And keep a prize with me, until you go
Into the night for once, we’re the only ones left
I bet you even know, where we could go
And when it all fucks up, you put your head in my hands
It’s a souvenir for when you go