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basia
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Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship - spoiler - don't read unless you're finished

[ Edited ]
So what do you think of Patty Jo and her relationship with Joe?

Is it justifiable for him to have a special "friendship" with her, given that his wife chooses to sequester herself in her bedroom and ignore him completely? I really felt for the guy, he's only human after all. Cheating is cheating, and it's wrong in a marriage, but given the circumstances I felt that I did not condone him.

Message Edited by basia on 06-04-200705:31 PM

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LeftBrainer
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That is a tough question. It probably wrong of him to have the relationship, although I don't blame him for snatching some happiness from life. Getting Alice mother help was never addressed in the book. If she had refused help it would change things for me. It is soul destroying to live with a depressed person who refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and refuse to get help.
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Re: reply

[ Edited ]

LeftBrainer wrote:
That is a tough question. It probably wrong of him to have the relationship, although I don't blame him for snatching some happiness from life. Getting Alice mother help was never addressed in the book. If she had refused help it would change things for me. It is soul destroying to live with a depressed person who refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and refuse to get help.


I agree with you leftbrainer, that living with, or being around a person suffering from depression who wont acknowledge it or get help is extremely difficult and draining. And I agree with basia, cheating is cheating. If Joe is not having a full out affair with Patti Jo, he is having an emotional affair of sorts. Its definately headed for trouble. Sometimes married people flirt, sometimes?? lol make that, MOST married people flirt, to some degree or the other, cause some is very innocent. Joe has no right to do this just because he's "lonely". He's married! You know, as her husband, he not only has (i wont say duty but) a responsibility to be faithful to his wife and a responsibility too, that if she is sick, and she is, to do something!

We dont know that she wont accept help cause we dont even know if he has tried to get her help. Sometimes we have to get the help for our loved ones, even if we have to drag them to it. I think she would have taken it over the option of being hospitalized and trust me, he could have had it done. If they had had help getting through this together, maybe they would have something together now. You can say you cant force an adult, well actually, you can, you just cant force them to get well, but you can force them to act or if not and your just past trying, you can leave, a clean break, no affairs.
Patti Jo needs to make those decisions too. I noticed the subject starts about Patti Jo and her relationship with him, but the actual question was aimed at how do you feel about Joe and what he's doing. What about Patti Jo? She's married too, she has decisions to make. This things never end well and this one sure didnt. If this all sounds judgemental, its not so much that as just realistic. Sometimes we want people we cant have. Sometimes people want someone without letting go of another. It doesnt work out, it may be great while it lasts, fun, no problems that committed relationships have but in the end, its nothing whole, people have to act, take a leap of faith and start anew together, or let go and start over no matter how painful, or work harder at what you already have. This thing crashed down around their heads, most affairs do and someone gets hurt, often others too. Both of these two are married, when innocent flirtations started to bring on other feelings then both needed to make big decisions, am i really wanting out of this marriage finally, is this feeling worth it to try? or do these feelings mean I am drifting from my spouse in a dangerous way that i better reign them in and keep it friendly and go back to my marriage and work on it. If they had reigned in the rest, they could have had a long lasting very special friendship that was comfortable and hurt no one and even Alice would have really liked her more I think and wanted what Patti Jo could give her in many ways, for the right reasons for Alice too.

Something that bothered me too about Joe was how easily he let Patti Jo take them everywhere and pay for everything. To me this goes to his feelings of, hey, she's from the other side of town, the rich side, she's got it, i need it or want it, why not. This seems to rub off on Alice too in some ways, you hear it in her talking through to herself why its ok to take all these things. This is a side of Joe I definately dont like, not the affair or whatever, but this attitude of entitlement of some sort. Or just taking advantage of her cause she's lonely and willing to "buy" some time with him...theres a word for that. Sometimes, I feel like Alice at first, maybe shes trying to buy her too but actually, I felt more a connection with her relationship to Alice as being ok and real. She likes Alice, she knows shes having a hard time and no mom to help her out. Give us the money and a young girl who needs some things and a woman's touch, and most of us women will do the same. It's a mothering thing that you dont have to be a mother to feel. It may have been a bit of both but I really didnt have a problem with it. But Joe's taking it all, yeah I did and seeing it start to echo in Alice as a..why not ..thing, that bothers me a lot.

We all can understand him looking for some happiness. We all want happiness for ourselves and hopefully for others. But it can't be at others' expense. I think thats what we are really feeling about their relationship, we understand the desire but understand why its wrong too. Now, i just wrote a lot of strong statements that surely some of you have something to say about it LOL, lets get some discussions going in here!!! :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 06-11-2007 03:22 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: reply

[ Edited ]
"Something that bothered me too about Joe was how easily he let Patti Jo take them everywhere and pay for everything. To me this goes to his feelings of, hey, she's from the other side of town, the rich side, she's got it, i need it or want it, why not."

I didn't get this feeling at all. I felt he was shy, unexpecting of things from Patty Jo. He knew she was "from the other side of town," but they were both very lonely in their lifes, and they were learning different things that they normally wouldn't experience in their normal, routine lives (does that make sense? :smileysurprised:). Yes, they were flirting, and found out they enjoyed each others company.

I think Alice on the other hand knew Patty Jo was trying to get in on her good side, so, what the heck, I'll take what I can get. If she's dumb enough to buy me things, why not attitude.

I better stop here in case I spoil it.

Message Edited by cindersue on 06-12-2007 10:00 AM
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Re: reply


cindersue wrote:
"Something that bothered me too about Joe was how easily he let Patti Jo take them everywhere and pay for everything. To me this goes to his feelings of, hey, she's from the other side of town, the rich side, she's got it, i need it or want it, why not."

I didn't get this feeling at all. I felt he was shy, unexpecting of things from Patty Jo. He knew she was "from the other side of town," but they were both very lonely in their lifes, and they were learning different things that they normally wouldn't experience in their normal, routine lives (does that make sense? :smileysurprised:). Yes, they were flirting, and found out they enjoyed each others company.

I think Alice on the other hand knew Patty Jo was trying to get in on her good side, so, what the heck, I'll take what I can get. If she's dumb enough to buy me things, why not attitude.

I better stop here in case I spoil it.

Message Edited by cindersue on 06-12-2007 10:00 AM


I dont think Joe is shy when it comes to money things. And Alice even said in some of her earlier experiences of getting something from Patti, something like how Joe would look at it this way too. Or it was in some of the things she lied about in getting the people there, that Joe would just look at her about, then laugh later. She took her cues from him. If she feels this, who taught her this? Joe. Joe never even flinches when the bill comes at all these expensive restaruants and Patti takes it. He sure flinches when men talk about his dad over him, so he knows, he knows exactly what hes doing. I dont think a shy man about all this would be that comfortable to go to all these places and have her pay too, I think he would say no, or try to guide it towards things that they could do that wouldnt cost or even just say, hey lets eat at McDonalds! I really do think this is a class thing, that he is going to take advantage of. Inside the book cover, I think, or the write up about this book before we got it, was a blip about what things were covered in this and about the class thing and I think this is one aspect of that, how Joe responses to it too, not just Alice. And Alice takes her cues from Joe on many things.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Re: reply

Re: Patty always paying

I think both Joe and Alice decide that it's perfectly fine to let Patty Joe always pay for everything, because she has much more, but mostly - because it's her husband's money.

I bet that if both Joe and Patty were single, and actually dating for real, he'd insist on paying, at least some of the time.

In any case, maybe he knew they were doomed from the start so he figured why invest any money in the relationship.
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Re: reply


basia wrote:
Re: Patty always paying

I think both Joe and Alice decide that it's perfectly fine to let Patty Joe always pay for everything, because she has much more, but mostly - because it's her husband's money.

I bet that if both Joe and Patty were single, and actually dating for real, he'd insist on paying, at least some of the time.

In any case, maybe he knew they were doomed from the start so he figured why invest any money in the relationship.


Goes back to the class thing of shes on the side of town with the money (from her husband) and hes not huh. I dont think he cares whose money it is, just that she has, he does not. And your right,if it was hers only and tight, then it would be more like dating and he would have to pay some too but I would bet you from all the little nuances about him and the things said outright, that if they got involved this way and she didnt have money, they just wouldnt go anywhere that required money, there wouldnt even be dutch.Their may not even be the relationship. :smileywink:

We may need to do an end of book thread on what everyone thinks about Joe himself lol, cause there are things you cant really talk about his character until you have read it all but just from what we are saying bout he and his wife and he and Patti Jo, I think we will need to have a chat lol, about him in general at the end. :smileytongue:
Vivian
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Re: reply

was a blip about what things were covered in this and about the class thing and I think this is one aspect of that,

I don't have the book anymore, so I can't look that up. I sure have a different perspective on their relationship.
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cindersue wrote:
was a blip about what things were covered in this and about the class thing and I think this is one aspect of that,

I don't have the book anymore, so I can't look that up. I sure have a different perspective on their relationship.


The whole money thing started with Patty offering to sponser Alice and so Alice said now and they all went. At this point Alice is ready to take from her, she feels she is trying to buy her for what she had seen so why not. The thing is, her father doesn't say no, he just says, why not you have been working hard, you deserve it. But from someone else??? Then Patti takes them out to dinner, he has no problem with her paying nor is he shy about whats happening, listen to his only comment when the check comes:
"When the check came, my father squinted down at it. 'Holy **bleep**," he whispered. 'I dont think I've ever paid more than twenty dollars for a meal in my entire life'. Patty Jo leans forward laughing, " Poor Joe," she said, splitting the last trickle of wine between her glass and his. "Doing all the work and missing all the fun." The only time he blushes is because her hand touches his as she reaches across. He is fine with all this and perfectly ok with her taking him or both of them out anytime at all after that and letting her pay. He never said, man we can't do that again Alice, that was too much! Or anything like it. Even later when Patti asks him to go out, he doesn't consider her paying for it all, just thinks about the bus route, things he needs to do around the barn, being tired but then just says why not! This is all around pages 200-202. But when you add that to what he has told Alice earlier in the book about the people on the other side of town having money and not having to work for it so why not charge them for bottled water he isnt buying, or special things for the horses (what was it, not hay, something else) but still charging them for it, hes taking from Patti just as easily as Alice a kid is, and where I think Alice gets the idea its ok.
As for flirting, this is going beyond flirting and you get an idea how much more when they take off for hours alone. They may both be lonely, but I don't like people taking advantage of others just because they are lonely or because they can and he is taking advantage of her and she is paying for his attention, she literally offers him a free ride that time, if he will let the work go to go with her. She is willing to pay for his time and he just says why not. I do think there is an aspect of both feeling something for each other out of loneliness and this is exciting and we may all feel for them, but we all know, just as the catfish knew and Alice knew, this is wrong, this is beyond friendship but its wrong too because Joe is a taker. I dont think i really felt that as much when I first read it, just thought about this exciting but totally wrong thing they were getting into, but the more things fell into place, Joe's character was really starting to bother me.
Vivian
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Re: reply



basia wrote:
Re: Patty always paying

I think both Joe and Alice decide that it's perfectly fine to let Patty Joe always pay for everything, because she has much more, but mostly - because it's her husband's money.

I bet that if both Joe and Patty were single, and actually dating for real, he'd insist on paying, at least some of the time.

In any case, maybe he knew they were doomed from the start so he figured why invest any money in the relationship.




There were times in the novel when Joe actually laughs at taking advantage of others or getting over on some scheme of his. I do not think he is an honest person and probably is the reason for all his problems, that is, in the long run. You know the story of yo get what you put in to life. If she is paying, Patty Jo, then he should be telling her, hey, you know this is not going anywhere. But no, he probably wanted her to think he was madly in love with her and would leave his wife in a heartbeat. Sorry but I have little symphomy for him. He taught his daughter this concept of getting what you can out of people.
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AnnMar
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship

WOW, everyone is so judgmental. Patty Jo is a grown woman who probably had more life experiences than Joe. If she didn't want to pay, she wouldn't. She knew from the start that Joe had no money. As far as her relationship with Joe, that's a matter between the two of them. Is it something I approve of . . . NO. I have a number of problems with Joe that deal with his treatment of his family and the animals.
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cindersue
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship


AnnMar wrote:
WOW, everyone is so judgmental. Patty Jo is a grown woman who probably had more life experiences than Joe. If she didn't want to pay, she wouldn't. She knew from the start that Joe had no money. As far as her relationship with Joe, that's a matter between the two of them. Is it something I approve of . . . NO. I have a number of problems with Joe that deal with his treatment of his family and the animals.




Like I said before, they both knew what they were getting into. I agree with AnnMar. They took something from each other.
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship


cindersue wrote:

AnnMar wrote:
WOW, everyone is so judgmental. Patty Jo is a grown woman who probably had more life experiences than Joe. If she didn't want to pay, she wouldn't. She knew from the start that Joe had no money. As far as her relationship with Joe, that's a matter between the two of them. Is it something I approve of . . . NO. I have a number of problems with Joe that deal with his treatment of his family and the animals.




Like I said before, they both knew what they were getting into. I agree with AnnMar. They took something from each other.


I think a lot of what sounds judgemental comes from two things we all seem to be talking about. One is that the money aspect seems to go more to Joe's character and feelings about taking from those who have. The other is that everyone has talked about the relationship/affair if you will, in general and that its flat wrong. They are both married and this is going to hurt a lot of people and does.
As far as they are both adults and know what they are getting into, I will agree with you on this....yes they did. Joe knew he was getting flirtatious (and apparently more) attention that he wasn't from his wife and he liked it AND was getting everything paid for. Why not, she's got the money right? She's from that side of town right? You can't let this part go, as so many have pointed out, this is what he thinks and does. I think everyone (if they didnt before) really started to feel they didnt really like Joe during this discussion and the values he is teaching Alice who has no one else to learn from at home.
On Patty Jo's side, shes an adult too and your right, she knows what shes doing and if she has money and wants to spend it on him, its her business but she's married too and how sad to "pay" for the time and attention that her husband isnt giving her.

Loneliness does not equate entitlement, entitlement to go off and just do whatever with someone you have no right to, just because you need to be happy, all the while thinking its ok as long as no one else knows. It ALWAYS ends bad and someone is hurt and someone is left alone, trust me, I know. So I think the judgements people are making are, 1. Jo's attitude about money and the rich and how this plays into their relationship. HECK he even cheats her along with the others about what silly things she pays for, for her horse and he doesnt buy anymore but takes the money! 2. They are both married and affairs are not right. To say, hey they are adults and they know what they are doing so whats wrong with that, is to forget everyone else around them that love them, or believe in them or that they are responsible for. We too easily separate that out anymore I think.

This was just about having fun at anyone's expense, there is nothing in the book to make you think it was about love. He never even goes to the hospital to see her, if he loved her he would have EVEN if he was afraid of running into people, even if he was afraid of talk. He actually would have had a right to with no gossip, just go because it happened while you were training her, thats the least he could do and probably would have, if it was anyone else. So was it the guilt of what they were doing that kept him away? The fear of being approached by her husband? The fear that "the secret" might be out? The problem with secrets is just this kind of stuff. Joe had no backbone when he didnt go to that hospital and there was no love. IF they had actually fallen in love, I could almost feel more for them, that this is a hard thing too and what do they do. Thats not what was going on.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship

I hear you loud and clear Vivian. :smileysurprised: I think he was thinking money at first, and those people on the other side of the tracks thoughts. But I think he soften with Patty Jo. They both enjoyed being together. We were getting Alice's perception on things mainly. So, no one really knows what feelings transpired when they were alone as a couple. I still believe he had good, happy feelings for her and didn't use her for her money when they were out having fun. People's feelings, ideas, thoughts change constantly. That's what makes the world go around. He may have strong feelings in the beginning about money and the catfish, but I think they changed as he got to know Patty Jo and Sheila. They softened him up.
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship

[ Edited ]

cindersue wrote:
I hear you loud and clear Vivian. :smileysurprised: I think he was thinking money at first, and those people on the other side of the tracks thoughts. But I think he soften with Patty Jo. They both enjoyed being together. We were getting Alice's perception on things mainly. So, no one really knows what feelings transpired when they were alone as a couple. I still believe he had good, happy feelings for her and didn't use her for her money when they were out having fun. People's feelings, ideas, thoughts change constantly. That's what makes the world go around. He may have strong feelings in the beginning about money and the catfish, but I think they changed as he got to know Patty Jo and Sheila. They softened him up.


I have good happy feelings about my cat. Difference is, I love my cat and I would be at the hospital if it was as hurt as Patty Jo was, not worrying about me or feeling guilty or whatever reason. He didn't love her, he didnt go, that wasnt just Alice's perception, that was fact, he didnt go. Often the problem with being the "other woman", comes a time when your on your own because if they havent left before you came or even for you by then, they wont.

Sorry guys, this part has brought on me a sadness and madness today it seems that I guess I am still struggling with myself. Lonely day I guess.

Message Edited by vivico1 on 06-14-2007 05:15 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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aryn
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship

Hi Everyone,

Wow, this discussion has really taken off. It makes sense. I think that the relationship between Joe and Patty can be viewed from so many different angles. I’m not sure that my particular view carries more weight than anyone else’s. In truth, as much as I feel that I know my characters, I still see them largely through Alice’s eyes. And Alice only witnesses so much of the relationship; for most of the book, she’s fairly unclear about what exactly is going on between her father and Patty Jo.

That said:

While I was writing this book, I thought a lot about loneliness and the effects that it has on people. Not just loneliness in terms of being physically alone, but long-term loneliness: the loneliness of feeling misunderstood, trapped, abandoned, forgotten; the loneliness of desire, of desperation, of guilt; the loneliness of disappointment. In the case of Joe and Patty (and in the case of most of the characters), I think they’re very lonely people—in different ways and for different reasons. I’ll be the first to admit that Joe has many flaws, but he’s also spent his life working like a dog, and not getting much for his effort. The initial attraction between Joe and Patty seems pretty simple: Patty is bored and Joe needs money. But ultimately, I believe that they become more to each other than just a distraction or a paycheck.

For a time, Joe and Patty create a sort of fantasy—one that Alice gets swept into as well. They give each other a glimpse of a different kind of life, a different set of choices, a different possibility of the kinds of people they might be. They give each other attention. Affection. Approval.

Cheating is cheating, as Basia wrote in the first post. And I think that most of us would agree that it is wrong. But I really believe that people—regular, non-evil people—will sometimes travel in dangerous directions, will take crazy risks, just to feel connected to someone else. Alice does. With Patty, with Polly, with Jerry, with Darling, with Mr. Delmar.



*(Be warned: I think the following might tread on spoiler territory.)*



I don’t know what would have happened if Joe had gone to the hospital to see Patty after her accident, if he had pursued her even when she didn’t return to the barn. But I think the fact that he did not had less to do with his feelings about Patty and more to do with his feelings about himself. As bullheaded as Joe often is, I think he largely considers himself a failure. His business is hanging by a thread, his marriage is nearly nonexistent, his children are falling through the cracks. For a time, I think that Patty makes him feel successful. But when her accident happens, reality comes crashing in: Joe knows that he can do nothing to help her, and he knows that her husband can. So he surrenders.

Again, I don’t think that I have any “answers” on this subject. But for what it’s worth, I always believed that though Joe and Patty’s relationship was brief, reckless, and basically impossible, it was real.
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Re: Book as a Whole: Question about a certain relationship

Aryn wrote:
Cheating is cheating, as Basia wrote in the first post. And I think that most of us would agree that it is wrong. But I really believe that people—regular, non-evil people—will sometimes travel in dangerous directions, will take crazy risks, just to feel connected to someone else. Alice does. With Patty, with Polly, with Jerry, with Darling, with Mr. Delmar.



*(Be warned: I think the following might tread on spoiler territory.)*



I don’t know what would have happened if Joe had gone to the hospital to see Patty after her accident, if he had pursued her even when she didn’t return to the barn. But I think the fact that he did not had less to do with his feelings about Patty and more to do with his feelings about himself. As bullheaded as Joe often is, I think he largely considers himself a failure. His business is hanging by a thread, his marriage is nearly nonexistent, his children are falling through the cracks. For a time, I think that Patty makes him feel successful. But when her accident happens, reality comes crashing in: Joe knows that he can do nothing to help her, and he knows that her husband can. So he surrenders.

Again, I don’t think that I have any “answers” on this subject. But for what it’s worth, I always believed that though Joe and Patty’s relationship was brief, reckless, and basically impossible, it was real.
____________________________________________________________________________________
Vivico1 wrote:
I agree that "people—regular, non-evil people—will sometimes travel in dangerous directions, will take crazy risks, just to feel connected to someone else." Certainly it happens, been there done that, maybe most of us have at one time or the other. We all wanted to feel connected.
As for him going to the hospital, I just mean, he didn't love her, ok he wasn't IN love with her, or he would have been there. That having been said, I think, as her "trainer and caretaker of her horse" even, if it were not for his guilt, or as you say, the real world crashing in on him, he would have been there. He would have had cause to be there and it would have been seen as the right thing to do, check on someone who you were training and was hurt at your business terribly. But, he wasn't IN love, nor was he the innocent caring businessman who could have, or even just good caring friend! I wonder tho about the part of..so he surrenders. So he can't help her, what is he surrendering to but his feelings that are maybe pretty similar to those of his feelings about his wife now if thats it...well I cant do anything so let others do it, or let it just be and just keeps going at his own pace?
As for it being real, sometimes the briefest of relationships can be "real", or maybe feel "real", but then, if it really is reckless and basically impossible as you say, what's real about it other than, it was a nice step away from reality while it lasted, a great adventurous fantasy, while it lasted, if no one is willing to make it more? Is it real just because it happened and thats really it and all it will be? Real and realistic are sure different things arent they. We all want to be connected yes, and we all want to be loved, man how we do! But sometimes, being real, costs and then it boils down to what are we willing to sacrifice to make it real. Now that reality has crashed in, even the real friendship they had, and I do believe they did have that and it was real, has to be given up because of what the cheating did. They lost something that may have lasted a lifetime for a brief "real-fantasy". Now that's an oxymoron huh lol.
***********
All this talk about "real", and especially something that is brief, just reminded me about the quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, about what it means to be real. Remember it? I just found it online:

"

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn't how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn't happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
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I want someone who will rub all my fur off, be there long after I become that real. I have felt real love in an impossible situation. Well, nothing is impossible but both would have had to want that kind of realness that would take large sacrifices and yes maybe hurt, but the horse is right, as long as you are together you wouldnt mind being hurt. Well, it didnt happen but I am here and I am real but I think I will never be real WITH someone again, I still have all my fur.
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Anyway, as for Joe and Patty, ok I give, it is what it is, a nice little relationship between two consenting adults who both know what they are doing, even when as you reminded me Aryn, they kind of play "family" for awhile with the outings with Alice. Then its over. I guess that makes what they had real.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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