My new ambition is to be a writer who is so successful that my deleted scenes and alternate endings, middles and beginnings can be pulled from the trash and put together into a book that becomes a bestseller. I want to be Jeaniene Frost. Her Outtakes from the Grave was not only interesting and exciting, but an original and brilliant concept. Here, Ms. Frost provides insights into a writer's mind and process. We see what she left out and why. Fascinating read, and it leads to the topic at hand, which is about second chances for love. In Outtakes from the Grave, the longest and most compelling section was an alternate plot line where the central couple, Cat and Bones (one of the great paranormal couples of all time), are challenged by his complete memory loss of her. Bones doesn't remember who Cat is, or that they are married and wildly in love. The scenes are excruciating to read—can you imagine your significant other forgetting you? Horrifying. And they also raise an interesting question: would we fall in love with the same person twice? I wondered about this when I read a similar trope in Thea Harrison's novella, Pia Saves the Day, where her mate, Dragos, loses his memory. In both cases, these males fall in love with their mates all over again. I wonder how much truth there is in this particular fantasy.
What do you think? Does our current partner have the ability to woo us a second time if we lost our memories of them and met them as strangers today? Keep in mind that in this scenario we're not going back to who we were when we met; the question is whether if we were who we are right now, and we met our mate who they are right now without any historical knowledge of them or us would we fall in love a second time?
At this point in our lives, we are older and hopefully wiser. Would we gravitate toward good looks, knowing as we do now that such metrics are ephemeral? Would we interrogate our erstwhile partner and determine their level of industry, responsibility and integrity? Would we find them wanting?
Would we be attracted to the same things in our mate that we were then? Have we learned that what we thought was there, wasn't? What was important to us at 25 might be quite different at 50. Have we changed sufficiently that we no longer share the same values and worldview? Does this matter? Would we take what we've had and determine that moving on with no harm, no foul is the way to go – knowing that the history is not shared?
Another question is whether compatibility is more important than shared interests. Many people commit to each other based on similar resumes. They work and/or play in the same arenas and conclude that this is enough to build a life. I've never believed that, and my own marriage bears this out; my husband and I share few interests or hobbies (although we both love to travel together, which has created a powerful bond and allowed us to make many beautiful memories together). What we do have, and what has been a backbone of our longevity, is an uncanny compatibility and the ability to divvy up responsibilities in an equitable and mutually satisfying manner. So, I picked correctly the first time—compatibility over shared interests—and I would do it again.
If we had it to do over again and we were in a position to accept or reject our current partner in an alternate universe where they no longer knew us, would we follow the adage that birds of a feather flock together or that opposites attract? That is a harder question for me. I went with "opposites attract," and while it's been a good move in many ways, it's also been the source of many marital issues. So, having had no experience with a partner whose feathers are like mine, I'm not sure what I would do, but probably stick with the one that brung me. I'm a little afraid that if I had a mate who was much like me, it would quickly go nuclear.
Another question along these lines is whether this reasoning applies to friends as well as lovers/life partners? If our friends forgot us, would we still want to be friends with them? I've often contemplated that my oldest, closest friends—my sisters by choice not blood—could not be more different from each other and from me. We were thrust together as small children and we grew up together, but beyond many shared formative experiences, we don't have much in common, nor are we particularly compatible. So if one of us lost the memory of the other, it could totally sink the relationship. Which would be utterly devastating. These women are my rocks in the turbulent sea of life. So I will be like Scarlett O'Hara and just not think about that today.
This particular thought experiment had one more related and relevant question: if it is true that we would fall in love with the same person again and even again, is it possible to achieve that without the dramatic loss of memory, or the threat of a total loss through illness, injury, death or betrayal? In other words, when the thrill is gone and the honeymoon is over, when the hard work of building careers and raising families is done, can two people rekindle the chemistry that brought them together in the first place? Is it possible to fall head over heels in love with our partners long after the bloom is off the rose? I think the answer is yes and that with time, effort and persistent focus, we can all remember that love after love is possible and magical even within a single union.