Love is a tough thing for an Orphan. Sexual relationships are particularly hard. The first time I was in love with someone, I knew it because I no longer felt lonely; I didn’t feel that void the loss of my parents left in me. I felt spiritually full.
The Young Pope, a Television show on HBO by Paolo Sorrentino has a great quote about love and orphans. In fact, the show talks about being an orphan quite a bit. I was surprised at how well Paolo, the writer, seemed to understand how it feels to be an orphan. I did some research on him and he was orphaned at 16. I highly recommend the show; it’s strange, but there’s a lot of good in it. Here’s a link to the youtube video where he talks about love and the quote is below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcWkQR4lL3E
Don’t laugh at me, my love.
I know it, I’m awkward and naive when it comes to love, and I ask questions straight out of a pop song.
This doubt overwhelms me and undermines me, my love.
To find…or to lose?
All around me, people don’t stop yearning. Did they lose or did they find?
I can’t say. An orphan has no way of knowing.
An orphan lacks a first love. The love for his mama and papa.
That’s the source of his awkwardness, his naiveté.
You said to me, on that deserted beach in California, “you can touch my legs.” But I didn’t do it. There, my love, is love lost.
That’s why I’ve never stopped wondering, since that day: where have you been?
Where you are now?
And you, shining gleam of my misspent youth, did you lose or did you find?
I don’t know. And I will never know.
I can’t even remember your name, my love.
And I don’t have the answer.
But this is how I like to imagine it, the answer.
In the end, my love, we have no choice. We have to find.
There is a lot to dissect in these words. First let me tell you my story:
For myself, I can’t begin to describe how awkward I was around Fran at first; she was so tolerant. I like to believe she saw something in me, that while I was awkward, I was also earnest. My heart was in the right place, though I did not know how to achieve what I wanted. She was very beautiful, a model, but more than that she was very kind and understanding. She was exactly what I needed at that time.
I first tried to get her to go out with me when I was 21 – she refused. I was awkward, I was strange – I must have seemed so alien to her. I didn’t understand myself then. I still don’t; not completely. I think she tried to help me find my place; she took me to an Asian temple in a commercial building; a place where she told me she found spiritual solace. I failed – I grew frustrated and stopped talking to her after trying to get her to go out with me for a couple of years.
I got very busy at work – I had quit school at that point and was focusing on my career. At one point, I’m not sure why, her email appeared in my inbox when I was writing someone else. I decided to reach out to her. She responded. We had coffee. She was moving back to her native country – she told me she wanted to focus on her singing career – she has a beautiful, powerful voice. That was not the whole truth, she had tried to get her company to sponsor her visa and the company would not. She had to move back to her native country.
We actually kept emailing each other and eventually texting each other several times a day. We started to talk on the phone, eventually for hours every weekend. I started to make very good money, started travelling. I asked if I could visit her – Fran told me she wanted me to want to visit her country; not just to see her. I have a good friend from there as well, so we met up there; Fran, myself and my friend. I felt myself falling for her again – I asked if she would be in a relationship with me then, she didn’t say no, but she wouldn’t say yes. I was frustrated again, I had traveled halfway across the world to be with her – we were talking every day – still she refused me. I remember being so confused…the last time I saw her that trip, we were on a cab ride back to my hotel and she wept. Clearly she cared for me.
We kept talking, and talking. I asked her if I could visit again, would she go on a date with me? I needed to travel to Korea, and would stop by Fran’s country on the way for the weekend. She said yes. So we did. I bought a flight to her country the following month and we spent the New Year together. She flew to visit me in the US soon afterward. We started talking even more. I met her in Japan that summer. We spent a blissful week together.
I couldn’t visit again until Winter. I met her in her home country, we went to Hong Kong together. Something was not right, she was always distant when we met up, then she’d warm up after a day or two. This trip she took a long time; days. She told me she was unhappy. I asked why…she said something to do with the distance. She asked me to move to her country; I refused. I knew she wanted to come back to the U.S. I would sponsor her – she said she wanted to come back on her own. Maybe she didn’t want to come back to the US at all. We talked for a long time… we didn’t finish the conversation. I told her I only ever wanted her to be happy; that I was not going to move to her country any time soon. We had sex in my hotel room, and that was the last time I’ve seen her.
I had finally started to make good money and was saving up to buy a home. I could have taken care of her easily – I wanted to marry her. I wanted to provide for her. I didn’t see anyway I could do that in her country. Part of it comes from being on my own for so long – I’ve been broke, and never wanted to experience that feeling again.
We spoke on the phone – she told me she wanted to be friends. She wanted to be best friends before we tried a relationship again. I told her I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be friends and I didn’t want to break up with her…but if she didn’t want to come back to the US…I was not going to move to her country.
That was it. We spoke a few times after that…but it was pretty much over at that point.
There are some things I didn’t understand back then that I do now.
As an orphan there just isn’t much love in your life – Before we were together, I was empty inside. I always described it as loneliness, and that was part of it, but there was little love in my life. I had plenty of friends, plenty of close friends even, but little familial love. Your parents love, is your first love and I lacked it – I lacked that first love nearly everyone has and I had forgotten what it was like to have it. I only knew something was missing, but not what was missing.
When we were together, was the first time I felt that void get filled. The first time I felt lovable. I didn’t feel empty inside any more when I was with Fran. I couldn’t bear staying together with her knowing that she were unhappy while with me. What a terrible choice, to fight and have her be unhappy or to break up and know I would be. I was so sad to break up with her, I knew that I was going to feel that emptiness again, but I thought I’d recover much faster than I did. That empty feeling inside, that void was how I had felt most of my life, so I thought, I will go back to being who I was before and I was okay then, right? Only I was not okay, I never was. I had deceived myself. Now, not only was the void there, but I knew something was missing, I felt that vacuum like I never had before. To get by I simply ignored how I felt and buried that feeling deep inside – it’s how I moved on. Only I didn’t, not really. I know that now.
Fran was from a conservative family; I never met any of them and she never told her friends about me. When we were friends on Faceboook, her friends would post about her needing a boyfriend. We kept our relationship a secret, at least on her side, so her parents would not find out.
To tie everything back to that quote from the young pope:
- I was super awkward and naive. I really loved Fran; that is absolutely true; I never really had much experience of how couples interacted with each other. Certainly nothing that a kid who grows up in a two parent household has.
- There was not a lot of love in my life at that time, and when I found it – I took it a bit for granted. I found a peace in it I had not known before and did not fully understand.
- Later on, after I was far more financially secure, I realized I wasn’t motivated by money at all. I was making more only a couple years later, when I quit my job with no immediate prospects.
- If you find love hold on to it.
- Don’t keep your relationship a secret.
- Sacrifice and compromise for your relationship; I still don’t feel like I understand these concepts fully. I understand them intellectually, but not emotionally.