“people put so much effort into starting a relationship and so little effort into ending one” ~Marina Abramovic
she has a exhibition at the moma that i will find time to see in the next few weeks. she is a performance artist and among the many fascinating things i’ve read about her and her work was a recent profile in the new yorker. for 12 years, she had a symbiotic artistic and emotional relationship with the artist german artist, ulay. they embarked on their last piece together on march 30, 1988.
she started walking from the from the mountains on the eastern end of the great wall of china, and he, from the desert in the west. it took them three months and thousands of miles before they finally met in the middle to say good-bye.
maybe it’s because i leave for china in a month. maybe because i’ve said so many good byes. the poetry of this moved me. this was 1988. cell phones weren’t in wide circulation. there’s no wireless connection, no way to communicate. just two people who had decided that they had come to the end of their journey together. months and miles of solitude, of contemplation, of conviction.
at the end of it she said, you are alone.
i know i am fickle. i’ve been told it enough times. i reread journal entries and see complete ardor subside to total annoyance in a matter of days. i’ve been prone to betrayal and destruction.
when i was 14, deirdre was one of the coolest girls in my freshman class. i wanted her approval and i guess there was something she admired about me as well. we cultivated a friendship that was based on mutual interests, humor, and i suppose the desire for each other’s approval. we could look across the room at each other and know exactly what the other person was thinking. we went to colleges on opposite sides of the state, but we wrote each other letters, traveled together; we were best friends. it never occurred to us that we would ever grow apart, that we would ever not understand each other. really, at the age of 24, we were still sort of new to how relationships must evolve. we started to disagree, to misunderstand, to judge, to offend. it hurt and it drove us apart, though we kept trying to mend it, but at the end of the day something had changed and we didn’t know how to fix it.
i was going through a tumultuous time and i was a little crazy then. i set up a dinner for us and a group of friends. i got wrapped up with some boy and showed up two hours late for dinner completely wasted. i didn’t know it then, but i was trying to ruin it or push some sort of boundary with her, because i felt like she was no longer on a pedestal for me and she couldn’t accept me as an equal. three days later we talked about it. well, i apologized and she screamed and insulted me. i took it, because i wanted a break from her. at the end of the conversation, we both got really quiet. we were both sad. we hoped we’d be friends again, but we aren’t.
that was about ten years ago. we’ve seen each other, we’ve tried writing. there’s affection there, but it’s never going to be the same. it’s over.
i found out a couple of years ago that she was pregnant and something in my heart ached. there was a time when i would have known the moment she thought she was pregnant, and now i was hearing it second hand five months in from one of my best friends from college who ran into her on the streets of san francisco.
you half expect it with lovers; i think that’s why it’s even more complicated with friends.