Uncharacteristically for me, Sunday night I found myself at a loss for words. A good friend was very, very upset, and for hours another friend and I sat with her, trying to comfort her. She was so beside herself that we were sure it had to be more than she was saying:
Why didn't he love me?
If he didn't love me, who ever will?
I am wasting my good years and eventually I'll be old and ugly and then no one will want me at all.
These are feelings that plague us all, but most especially her. She had been tossing them around so much and so often during recent months that quite honestly, I was beginning to get sick of it. I didn't fault her for feeling them, but for constantly talking about them and not seeming to process them. It was just a tape playing the same cut over and over again. I was sadly beginning to question if I could actually be a good friend to her.
You see, there are two things I really have no patience for : repetition and gross insecurity. Combine the two, and I will quickly wish you well and make my exit.
So it was with these thoughts of having a little chat with her that I went to her place on Sunday, only to have her break down in wracking sobs when the last group of people had gone, leaving me and another friend to try to piece her back together. I certainly wasn't going to say anything about what I had been feeling after that.
Eventually, she calmed down enough to zero in what was really bothering her. Her essential quandry was this: what does life, and what we do in it, matter if we must die in the end?
Obsess over the same guy and not make headway - boring!
Have an existential crisis and question the meaning of life - now that's my kind of woman!
I was at first so surprised that I had no idea what to say. She reveled in my loss of words and promised to record the date as the only time Penelope had been rendered speechless. Then I tried some yin-yang approach and argued that if the end of life mattered to her, therefore life itself must. She wasn't buying.
I asked if the only reason life had no value to her was that it was destined to come to an end, would life have value for her if we were immortal? She laughed and said she wasn't sure, but it was a damn good question.
What do you think, boys and girls? Does death negate life? Since, in fact, we are all going to die, does what we do or who we are or what we live matter? Now there's a question I'd like to see in a poll on a webpage sidebar!