Two Stars Revolving About One Centre*

In the past, Lo has made reference to Richard Dreyfuss’ character from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Roy Neary. She compared her obsession with the newly discovered world of sex to Roy Neary’s obsession with aliens and Devils Tower. Recently we watched the classic 1977 film together. Neither of us had seen it in at least a decade. Upon watching it again — all these years later — for me the film is less about extraterrestrials and more about love, compatibility, and artistic passion.

After Roy is “touched” by the light (of inspiration?), he becomes fascinated, tantalized, and maniacally preoccupied with his vision. His wife Ronnie, as well as his children and neighbors, cannot understand him or his bizarre behavior and he grows increasingly estranged from those around him. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Jillian Guiler is also privy to a glimmer of insight and her son is literally captivated by it. Independently of each other through most of the movie, Jillian and Roy try to realize their vision, but find that their attempts are not good enough. They are mysteriously drawn to something they don’t understand, yet are not free to disregard. They move toward the attraction and, unknowingly, toward each other.

These are two people who share a powerful vision and, while in the orbit of that vision, they find each other. Because they share a passion that is greater than either of them individually, they find that they have a bond, an understanding, a connection with each other that they have both been longing for and that they’ve never experienced with anyone else before. To put it simply, they fall in love in the heavenly aura of this alien presence.

The great mystery of the film is: What is this alien presence? But that question goes unanswered because, ultimately, it can only be answered by you. What is the vision that attracts you and which you share with your partner? — The vision that drew you together and that motivates you, moves you, inspires you, and nourishes your abounding love? For some it might be the love they feel for their children and family. For others it may be a shared passion for travel. For others still, it may be their interest in skydiving. I don’t know.

But for Lo and me, that mysterious tertium quid was felt right from the start. I hesitate to say it’s sex or sexuality. I hesitate to say that it’s a shared passion for porn or the possibilities of the body. I hesitate to name it at all because it is so much more than any one thing. It includes a shared intellectual pursuit, artistic appreciation, deep discussion, quiet moments. Or rather, perhaps its presence is felt in all those things, but it is still something beyond any of them. It is an undiscovered country to which we both are citizens and owe allegiance. It unites us in its mystical power and keeps us in its spell. Maybe, what I’m describing is what others simply call “love,” but whatever it is, I know I’ve never felt it with any other person and with Lo it is all I feel and all I know.

* Title taken from the poem of Henry David Thoreau:

We two that planets erst had been

Are now a double star,

And in the heavens may be seen,

Where that we fixed are.

Yet whirled with subtle power along,

Into new space we enter,

And evermore with spheral song

Revolve about one centre.

Just your average nymphomaniac next door. I love fan mail:

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