Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Most Unlikely Couple

In Japan, there are two characters who can occasionally be seen walking hand in hand. Their names are Sadness and Resentment.
A most unlikely couple, but then love has proven countless times that opposites attract. Some obviously don't need sameness in another. And this was how it was with the two of them, but if you are the kind to judge by appearances alone, then you would automatically think: What a mismatch!
Sadness had an aloof, yet elegant beauty, which she somehow managed to retain no matter what age she turned. The real beauties, I read Leonardo da Vinci once said, are always sorrowful, a little downtrodden, and Sadness was certainly that. She had a fixed woebegone expression and physically drooped as if she'd had no cover from a deluge of rain or spent too long under a baking sun. She modelled a haunted and famished look: slender bordering on skinny, lank, shoulder-length hair, and under-eye circles. Her mouth and almond-shaped eyes were permanently down-turned as if she was immersed in some private agony. A look that said she hadn't known joy and wasn't concerned about trying to find it. Quiet and reserved, she lingered everywhere: on street corners, in shop doorways, on park benches, sometimes sidling up close to others merely passing the time of day, but yet she never engaged in any form of conversation.
Resentment, on the other hand, was a brash businessman. A stockbroker. He could silently fume, but nine times out of ten preferred to show or air his grievances, and had an insatiable appetite for complaining. He was always wronged by someone or circumstances. Someone had stupidly bumped into him spilling his coffee on his freshly pressed dry-cleaned suit, never mind that at the time he was hiding behind a section of a newspaper. Every day there were instances like this where another person was blamed for their clumsiness or lack of consideration. A person could tremble under his steely gaze as he verbally attacked them. And he wasn't exactly a man you would care to look at. There was something in this appearance that was disagreeable. A sweaty set face, a large, rubbery mouth, and a pot belly that grumbled from beneath his buttoned suit jacket. His penchant for hostility meant he wasn't in the best of shape, but that of course was not his fault.
How these two came to meet I do not know, although I can conjecture. Perhaps Sadness was trapped by Resentment's laments, the only listener to his protesting voice; or maybe on a day where Resentment was silently fuming, Sadness sidled up to him. All I know is that somewhere in the course of their lives these two became firm friends.
Were they lovers? Possibly. A no-strings, casual fling perhaps underpins their non-dependent relationship. They can spend a whole two weeks together, then months apart with no noticeable effect. When they meet next they pick up where they left as if there had never been a separation.
Sadness was immune to Resentment's blasts of bitterness, which were not usually directed at her but to other people, and if he ever did demonstrate this towards her his criticisms were like oil to water. His words were contained within a watery vacuum. But she liked his combustive energy and listening to his self-important tirades. He didn't demand anything of her. Resentment was fond of Sadness for these exact same reasons. He could say whatever he wanted and she never seemed to take offence or had once, since he'd known her, asked for an apology. He could be his most dissatisfied self with her and that was very pleasing. She was a good listener and he was drawn to her quieter energy.
Where you'd think there'd be a power struggle or an interplay of tears, sulks and hurtful words, there was none. Sadness and Resentment's lifetime of grief made them the perfect companions.