It is the most gorgeous of oxymorons, the most beautiful of bondages. La Douleur Exquise. To see him makes your heart race, catch your breath in a net and hold it captive, fluttering. To see her makes your heart ache as so that you wish to die simply so it will stop. Every word they speak from them drops as a gem from their lips, each and any touch from them to you imprints itself upon your skin, a sensation that will never be forgotten. Glances are hoped for, time spent together analyzed and blushed over, and words just for you are harbored up, memorized, and replayed in the night dark with a thumping heart.
It is a pain that can feel like it lasts forever but can only be a moment in time, that moment when we spy them and, though we do not even know their name, we want them.
It is a pain that can last for years, our hearts suffering in silence, our tears hidden behind doors, that person whom we have known as long as we can remember but who does not see us as we wish to be seen.
It is the stuff of romance novels, the prologues of self-help books, and drippy-sappy fairy tales (the original versions, not the tinker-dust happy endings). And yet we have devised the most beautiful sounding phrase for one of the most painful prisons of the heart. Some people would say “How French!” but I say, “How human!” Our history of languages resounds with the most beautiful phrases for the darkest moments of life. There is a reason, after all, that the phrase “the most exquisite pain” exists.