One of the New York Times clippings that I've carried around with me surfaced again the other day. It's a brief essay by Sandra Hurtes, published on 27 June 1996 and titled "Keeping Alive the Dreams of Love". Hurtes writes a gentle and touching and tragical-glorious true story about life and the importance of not settling for second-best. She begins:

It had been a long time since I'd met anyone promising in the romantic arena and I'd pretty much retired the dreams I'd carried since childhood about marriage and children. I'd been settling instead for a sprinkling of dates here and there, taking what I could get, almost forgetting that I ever wanted more. ...

But then Hurtes tells of a fortuitous meeting with a man named Richard: an encounter which blossomed from initial eye contact across a crowded club ... into a dance ... into a conversation ... into an easy, open, eager, pretense-free first date ... and then nothing. No call back. No reply to messages. Bleak emptiness.

Richard had died, suddenly and inexplicably, in his sleep a few days after that first date. Hurtes only learned what had happened a week later:

... I sat very still, waiting to feel something deep and dark inside, something that would move me to cry bitter tears. But I felt nothing. No, I felt eerie. Why, I wondered, through the slow, steady shock that grew heavier, not lighter, as the days stretched into weeks. Why was I pulled in at the final hours to witness the end of a life I barely knew? What was the reason for us to meet? ...

Months later, after an emotionless date with a third-rate fellow, Hurtes figured out the answer:

... There was nothing to hope for with this new man, no fantasies to get lost in. It was all pretty dim. That's when I understood why I had to meet Richard. The feelings he stirred in me showed me my desire for love wasn't dead, just buried, and the dreams of my childhood still lingered in anticipation that they might yet come true. No, Richard wasn't cruelly taken from me to leave me hungry and wanting. He was given to me to show me the kind of life in which I had stopped believing.

I like to think that there was something special Richard got from me that he took with him to his final sleep. Perhaps he, too, experienced the sweet rush of old dreams resurrected and the wonder of living again in long forgotten hope. These exquisite treasures so many of us search for and never find. And maybe even worse, some of us no longer look. If that's true for you, then I'm here to tell you. Bringing a heart back to life can sometimes be so simple. For me it all started with a look, a touch, and a dip on the dance floor.

TopicLife - TopicLiterature - 2002-04-20

i liked this guy about four months ago but i really liked him and he kinda led me on but he was so cute..and my dream last night was that i saw him and he was all over me and he talked to me and was nice to me an ddid everything right like a boy friend should do. and then i kissed him and then i dont remember.

(correlates: TemporalUtilitarianism, DavidCopperfieldAndMissMowcher, MacDurk, ...)