The Honeymoon Phase
“If we were in a plane crash and I died, would you eat me to survive?”
After I asked my partner this question on an afternoon drive, I knew the honeymoon phase was over. Historically speaking, the subject of plane crashes has rarely been the key to a lover’s heart, but I asked it anyways because during the honeymoon phase of a relationship, nothing can go wrong. Admittedly, I don’t know if it was the question or the answer that brought the chapter to a close. It was as if I held the nail and she held the hammer as we sealed the fate of this phase of our relationship.
When I asked her “if we were in a plane crash and I died, would you eat me to survive?” She said “well, we’ll have to see.”
Which, to be clear, wasn’t a “no.”
The following is the dialogue that was exchanged during that fateful car ride that drove towards the sun setting on the honeymoon phase of our relationship.
“You’d eat me?”
“Only if I had to.”
“What does THAT mean?”
“Well, if I had no other option, what am I supposed to do? Starve and die?”
“Yes! Die with me!
“Oh, so you don’t want me to survive? I don’t get to live and be happy?”
“Don’t make this about me! You said you’d EAT ME!”
“WHY DID YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT QUESTION”
“I WAS BEING ROMANTIC!”
“EXPECTING ME TO STARVE AND DIE NEXT TO YOUR CORPSE ISN’T ROMANTIC!”
You get the idea.
We argue back and forth for a solid ten minutes. I play the Romeo and Juliet card, implying that our love is pure, and we could die together like they did. She plays the Romeo and Juliet Is A Cautionary Tale card, reminding me that they were teenagers who killed each other by accident after being in love for half a day after meeting at their friend’s party. The argument has now escalated to the point of it becoming ‘Who Remembers Grade 11 English class better?” It was a war of sentimentality versus realism. Eat or be eaten. A battle of the ages.
The argument settled, and the car was silent with a palpable tension. I wished we weren’t in a car, because part of me wanted to just open the front door and dive out, but with my newly acquired knowledge, I was worried she’d turn back and throw me in the trunk for leftovers. It could have only been worse if we were in a plane.
The silence was more revealing than anything that was actually said. The cold shoulder treatment was invented as someone’s last ditch effort to win an argument. A tactic that screams “I bet I can go longer without talking to you!” which implies “I don’t really need you as much as you think I do.” I sat in silence knowing that couldn’t be further from the truth. I yielded.
“Okay,” I said.
“What?” she replied, through her teeth.
Here we go.
“If I died in a plane crash, I’d let you eat me to survive.”
“… well, you’d be dead, so you wouldn’t be letting me do anything.”
“Yes, I know, what I’m saying is… I’d be okay with it now.”
I could hear the argument in her mind. Having dueled with her before, I know she’d parry to the “well, I’d do it anyways” but she would know I’d counter with “It’s not permission, it’s simply acknowledgement” when I could have just as easily struck with “why do you want to eat me so bad?” We know each other’s moves too well. I just wanted it to be done. I cared more about her than the argument.
After a beat of deciding her next move, she said “thank you.” And it was done. The car was filled with a slightly softer tension. What followed was the post-war shrug of “what now?”
We were both frustrated, but more frustrated at the moment than at each other. We were frustrated because we knew the honeymoon period was over when we learned our relationship wasn’t about dying with each other but dying for each other. We were frustrated because, without either of us knowing it, we were falling in love.