Love is that which we know

On my block, there are two little boys, each just a little more than a year old. Their parents are good friends. As 14-month-olds do, they often play in parallel to one another. Most of their personal interactions feature swats, swipes, grabs, and plaintive cries of “mine.” There aren’t a lot of smiles between the two boys when they’re playing; each seems to experience the other as, at best, a nuisance. They resist seeing one another, sometimes with quite ferocious tantrums (tantra?).

One of the boys – call him Ryan – was away for the summer. The other – call him Toby – was home. Ryan’s parents reported, baffled, that while they were away, Ryan asked repeatedly for Toby. “It makes no sense,” Ryan’s Dad said to me. “He hates Toby.” He said this almost in a whisper, as if truly ashamed of it.

But it makes sense to me: Ryan understands Toby to be part of his life, and he perceived Toby’s absence as a loss (even if outward appearances would have suggested it should be a welcome loss).


  1. This reminds me of the seven year relationship I ended about a year ago. As unhappy as I was in that relationship, I was extremely sad when it ended, when I ended it. Luckily, I expected to be sad, to mourn the loss of a huge part of my life.

  2. And what if outward appearances don’t suggest it would be a welcome loss? Of course, I’m not speaking of the little boys here…
    What if, somehow, you feel that it would be a welcome loss, or rather you should move forward, but are so into the “what you know” that it’s a scary thing to consider losing it?! Completely understand Lilly’s comment!
    And sorry if what I wrote isn’t very clear, I’m afraid a combination of ESL and things not being very clear in my head don’t help 😉

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