The following excerpt is from an Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom The Bell Tolls. In this paragraph the main character Robert Jordan has just made love with Maria. A woman he met in a guerrilla camp which is helping him to blow a bridge.
“If this was how it was then this was how it was. But there was no law that made him say he liked it. I did not know that I could ever feel what I have felt, he thought. Nor that this could happen to me. I would like to have it for my whole life. You will, the other part of him said. You will. You have it now and that is all your whole life is; now. There is nothing else than now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow. How old must you be before you know that? There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion. This is how you live a life in two days. And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life. A good life is not measured by any biblical span.”
It is apparent to me that Hemingway is talking about love not just love. But the first love. The kind that makes you want to live another day because you never want to lose the feeling. The kind of love that makes your heart ache as much as it makes it flutter. Interestingly enough Hemingway is known for his themes of war and death. Something obviously has to offset the morbidity of his writing and he has found it in soft tones of love. His characters seem to fall in love fast and hard. This one in particular, Robert Jordan, comes into a camp of rebels with the hopes of blowing a strategic bridge held by fascists in order for an offensive to be made by the Republic. The reason the bridge must be blown is that so no backup reinforcements can make there way to the battle. Robert Jordan comes into the story with a tacticians mindset, cold and expecting some form of death. As soon as his love Maria comes into the story his subjectivity changes. He now laments death and wishes to have his love for his whole life. In his head he fights with himself about having his love for the future and living with his love in the moment. “There is nothing else than now.” he thinks. He knows death could be imminent. So why squander a beautiful love, a beautiful moment. Something that can’t be defined by physical description, something that can’t be bought or sold. Love is something that comes from the deepest part of human consciousness and is just as hard to explain. I enjoy how he transcends from “I want to have it for my whole life” to realizing that if he only lives for two days, then that is your whole life. There is no way to predict the end. So live your life in the moments that are guaranteed. The only moment that is assured is now. So if you love, then love. Don’t think about it in the future. Cherish it for what it is now.