What possible biological basis can there have been for us to evolve a mechanism that allows us to feel like a limb has been removed when we miss another human being? Is it truly only the mating sequence? Why couldn’t our biology be content to know another mate will someday take the place of the first? Or is it that in ancient times if our mate died or was lost to us, we couldn’t easily find another? Is that it? Maybe it is something else. Whatever it is, I just don’t get it.
Perhaps it is some other mechanism that has simply gotten stuck in the missing another human category. Maybe we’re supposed to feel serious missing when we lose an actual limb because losing an actual limb could pose a serious detriment to our ability to hunt and gather. It would impact our ability to find a mate. Perhaps the two are juxtaposed in some manner in certain brains.
I know I am not the only one like this. I watched this film last night called My Blueberry Nights. One character, rather than live without the person who left him, drives himself into a tree. This after drinking himself into oblivion every night for months. Yep, his limb missing mechanism was severely out of whack. And the woman who left him realized after he was dead that she missed him like a missing limb as well. So her missing limb mechanism was juxtaposed onto her missing partner as well. Maybe I’m onto something here.
I am going to see the person who I miss in a little over a week. Ironically, I am feeling his absence more acutely as his visit draws closer. It is like knowing he will be here, that he is somehow within reach, makes the desire more visceral. I have to fight myself NOT to send him text messages telling him how much I miss him and all the things I want to do with him when he gets here. I have to force myself to be here and now, focus on my legs, focus on my arms, recognize they are actually in place and I do not require a prosthesis. I can do this. When I do this it is easier. See brain? Limbs intact. Man will arrive shortly so stop thinking about him so much.
Then he calls and I’m listening to Woody Herman sing about being in love and clouds having silver linings and his own melancholy without his dear, the piano tinkling perfectly in the background, and I feel that old familiar pull in my belly. Gads, missing is so unkind.