In high school, my father had his Drama class read Waiting for Godot. I found it beautiful.  Strange. Completely unforgettable. I memorized and performed Lucky’s monologue of philosophical gibberish as part of my final exam in the class (I still remember quite a big chunk of it, about a God with a white beard, living in time and through existence), and wrote a paper about the play. I argued that it was about love.

Fifteen years later, I’m still convinced that I was right.

Waiting for Godot is the quintessential absurdist play. Literally, nothing happens.  Two men, Vladimir and Estragon, stand around, talking and not talking, for two whole days. They are waiting for the arrival of “Godot.” Spoiler alert: he never shows.  But the play ends as it began:  with the two of them promising to stay where they are, together, waiting. Basically, Waiting for Godot is a how-to on extreme queuing.

And it’s about love. The ridiculous beauty of coupling.  The strange, sometimes sad hopefulness of monogamy in modernity.

Five times throughout the play, Vladimir and Estragon ask for, and receive, “embraces” from each other. Not hugs. Not high fives or fist-bumps. Embraces.  Now, often, they find themselves embracing because they really have nothing better to do, but that shouldn’t render their choice to waste time in a moment of affection for each other any less poignant.  Though it’s “absurd,” they want to kill some time by being as close to each other as they possibly can.  They vacillate between wanting to leave, wanting to stay, hating each other, loving each other, needing each other, and, ultimately, end standing face to face, equally aware that they will—that they can—never, ever leave each other.

Surely, you see where I’m going with this?

Being a dedicated couple is absurd. It’s truly a ridiculous thing to look at a person—who you have conveniently found, usually pretty geographically close to you, amongst your 6 billion or so options—and say, “You. I choose you.  Your face. I want to only see your face. Every day. And at night. For all my life. Until I can’t see your face anymore.” But we do it. We all need to do it.

Because if we don’t have each other to look at, what is there to see?

“A country road. A tree.”

(That’s the set description for the play. That’s it. In its entirety.)

Some people are content just looking at a country road, a tree. But I’m not one of them. Because, it’s true.  It is insane to look at another person and say, every day, “Let’s stand together.  And talk.  And not talk.  And look at our shoes.  And look at each other.  And every now and then pull each other as close as we possibly can without actually physically bonding into a single entity.  Let’s do nothing. Together. And tomorrow, let’s do it all again.”

It’s absurd.

But I’d rather stand in an eternal line with you, my love, than stand by myself.

And I haven’t met all of my 6 billion alternatives, but I trust that you’d still hedge out the rest. I believe it.  It’s a truth. It’s my truth.

It’s silly to say that.

It’s illogical.

But it’s absolutely true.

And Godot? Who or what are we all standing around waiting for?  Certainly, there have been rivers of ink spilled on the speculation. But here’s my theory. Godot is a condition of modernity. Godot is the constant when that everybody seems to be waiting for.

When the kids are bigger.

When we save up some money.

When we take that vacation.

When your feet stop hurting.

When the world finally hears us, and slows down just a little bit.

When things become less complicated.

Godot is the wonderful, irrational, immature whenness of being a modern couple.  He is the dreaming that we can’t seem to stop when we’re together. He is the hope we have of uncomplicated togetherness amidst all the messiness. He is our joint, childlike possibility.

Sure, he never comes.

But we still wait.

We still stand around, every day, and hope and think and dream and desire and will him into being.  And at the end of it all, we still decide to come back the next day.  Because we realize that it really wasn’t so bad, all that waiting. Because we got to do it together.  Dreaming the impossible doesn’t make the dream any less pleasant, or exciting, or scary, or thrilling, or addictive, or lovely.

Sometimes, dreaming the impossible is just exactly everything I’ve ever wanted.

And, when I dream it with you, I believe that it is all possible.  That’s true. That’s my truth.

I have chosen you.

Your face.

I want to see it.

Every day.

And all night.

For all my life.

Until I can’t see it anymore.

Now, shut up and embrace me.

 

Happy anniversary, babe.

maternity

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