The Buddhists say that desire is the cause of all suffering, that letting go of desire is a key to moving along toward nirvana. I don't doubt that it's my desire to have Jesse back that causes me the most pain. During my walk to work I think often of Adele Hugo, roaming the streets of Halifax looking for her British Lieutenant (I wonder if Truffaut thought of John Fowles when he was working on L'Histoire). There's a scene in L'Histoire where, after years of distracted searching, she actually passes her lost love on the street without recognizing him. He calls her name, but she doesn't hear him. She's not really looking for him, (if she ever really was), not anymore. She's looking for that missing piece of herself that she wrenched out for him when she met him. Women like Adele, and Sara Woodruff dot history and literature. Women are raised to be dependent on fathers, husbands, children. Lost without them. Abandonment. Tearing at the self to make room for that ascendant other.
I suppose I'm not looking for Jesse. Although I'm sure I've made more than one tall blond young guy uncomfortable with a double-take he no doubt mistakes for some other kind of interest. I wonder how often in my younger days I mistook that look, myself. Out of vanity, ignorance and vanity. And maybe it's vanity that propels me (it's certainly in vain).
I'm not looking for Jesse, even when I see him everywhere. I'm looking for the rest of myself. The part I wrenched out of myself the day I knew I was pregnant with him.