Desperate Romantic: My Life as a Stalker (A Lamentably True Story)

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9: The Most Beautiful Sound in the World – Which I Hope to Never Hear Again

I’ve been reading at the direction of my head-shrinker about why we are attracted to the people we are, and I believe that what I’ve read is true. There are a number of theories on attraction; we are attracted to a strong, healthy mate with good genes who can support the young we produce.

While that seems true, we come across hundreds of people in the course of our lives who fit the bill; out of them, however, there are only a handful that really knock us out.

Why?

Basically, because they bear the likeness of our primary caregivers in both good and bad qualities. Union with these people makes us believe that we can heal the psychological wounds that were inflicted in childhood.

I understand this is a phantasm, rising from the twisted girders of my subconscious. But when it moves across my skin and makes me shudder, it’s because the sensation itself is real. It’s as real as the warmth from the sun itself. Or the cold of its conclusive absence.

**

The bit that won’t surprise you about this is that she is, in composite, a dead ringer for my mother. My mother was short and blonde while Eurydice is a tall, aquilinear brunette, but they have the same bone structure exactly; the last time I saw her, Eurydice looked at me askance and that look is burned into my brain for all time.

The real kicker was her voice. She had the softest, gentlest voice and when she spoke, it felt as if she was playing the piano on my spine.

I think the most beautiful sound in the world – which I hope to never hear again – was the sound of my mother reading to me as a child. If I heard that sound again now, I think it would actually bring me apart. I think my entire person would collapse into spare parts.

The one storybook my mother refused to read to us as children was, ‘The Little Match Girl.’ She spoke about it as if it was ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’; her eyes would go wide in that, ‘Please don’t make me do it – anything but that,’ way. Eventually we talked her into it, my sisters and I.

It’s basically the story of an orphan on the streets of London at Christmastime, selling matches. She lights them to keep the cold at bay and each brings a scene of family celebration in the bowl of flame.

At the end of the story, the little match girl has frozen to death in the snow with a smile on her face. My mother couldn’t make it through the last page; she collapsed into tears.

Eurydice has the little match girl in her eyes, and she spoke to me in my mother’s voice.

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