For years, this scene from a Tamil movie has been stuck in my head, an early precursor of what families are like. Noisy, complicated and messy. The imagery of a shattered mirror to depict fractured relationships has stuck in my mind rising to the fore each time a relationship falls apart from the weight of expectations and lopsided give and take.
I have quoted this many times trying to explain what when wrong as I dissected the relationship and performed post mortem on the phone with other willing friends. Most have nodded along, adding their own interpretations to this universal theory on heartbreak and grief.
Today however I got off the phone with a friend of mine with whom I have a long and checkered history. We have been the best of friends. We have grown apart, fallen out, extended olive branches and resurrected what could have well been yet another casualty of time, distance and unexpressed expectations. As I hung up, I was reminded of onions.
Sharp, pungent and layered. Each layer protected by a thin film of tissue protecting the fleshy layer from the next. Sometimes I slice it open to find a rotten layer amidst perfectly good ones. I usually split them apart taking care to remove the stinky layer and go ahead and use the rest. It occurred to me that relationships could be like onions too. The good memories of the past sandwiched between unsavory parts, followed by good memories in the making. Each sheathed in layers protecting the spite from seeping into the past. To keep the rot from affecting parts of our earlier selves. Ones that only exist in pictures and the deep recesses of our brain. It is well possible to salvage just the good and leave the bad.
Mirrors or onions, our perception colors what we make of relationships.