Life Gaps

I’m watching this movie with Michelle Williams, Seth Rogan and Luke Kirby called Take this Waltz and it’s such a beautiful exploration of the casualties of marriage, connection and decisions. I’m not going to rehash the movie because I’m still watching it and I have no idea of how it will end but there is a scene in the movie where Margot, the wife, meets Daniel, the would-be-lover at a bar and she asks him to tell her what he would do to her. It’s such an unbelievably sexy scene where they don’t even touch each other.

I’ve been on both sides of this story — I’ve been the wife who meets a Daniel and has an affair with him, ultimately leaving my marriage for the new lover. And now I’m the one who is abandoned for someone/something else. The scene at the bar where Margot and Daniel share their desire through words, sighs and heated looks resonates with me as something that I thought I wanted when I experienced it. It’s deeply intimate, sexy, intense and everything a marriage of 5+ years isn’t. It’s a stark parallel against the comforting, loving and safe relationship of marriage. For some, the pull of the new, exciting and unknown against what we have is too powerful to ignore and to resist.

Margot and her husband go out to dinner for their anniversary and she sits there wanting conversation with him — he remarks that they don’t have to speak with each other because they know everything about each other already. The look on her face is what I’ve felt so many times in my marriage. Towards the end of my marriage I missed speaking with my husband — he stopped having conversations with me. For a few reasons — one, he was spending time speaking with someone else, and two, he wasn’t interested in speaking with me perhaps because he knew everything he wanted to know already. Maybe three, he didn’t want to spend time speaking with me anymore because I didn’t make him feel interesting since I already knew all his stories and his anecdotes. I didn’t look at him with curiosity anymore. I looked at him like I knew him because I did.

There is a beautiful scene in the movie where Margot and Daniel go to an amusement park and they ride one of the rides in the dark and they have the most amazing time. Having a affair is like that — you ride that ride with the music blaring, wind in your hair, the smell of the other person next to you and for that brief time that is your world. Just you and them. But then the ride stops and you’re left off in the emptiness of the world. Where there is no music, where there is just cold light of day. You can’t ride the ride forever.

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