Boarding announcements for the Republic of Happiness
The indiscernible voice from bus terminal speakers start the long enumeration of boarding announcements for the Republic of Happiness. Google Maps forgot to index the Republic of Happiness, but everyone know about it, given its out-of-this-world marketing strategy. Even if it’s strangely hard to drive up to there, everyone can talk about how magnificient are the landscapes. Stock images are exceptionnally often shot in the Republic of Happiness. The Republic also fills the racks of touristic brochures in travel agencies. Plus, the Republic of Happiness is so extraordinarily represented on all social networks that it almost feel like it has tons of auctions in businesses. The motto of the Republic of Happiness promises wellness “like a pane of glass : hard, clear, sharp and clean”.
Bob and Madeleine are in the waiting room and they hear the first boarding announcement.
Bob and Madeleine have been a couple for the last years : 5, 10, 15 years, depending on how your life let you read it.
Bob and Madeleine both remember the first weeks, by specific moments :
the moment they knew the other one was appealed;
the sexual tension before and after the first kiss;
the first great projects they embarked in together, without any negotiation.
Bob and Madeleine started their relation like a promising happy hour lead to a fun and drunk night. The next sip of beer is as tempting as the previous one, until one expresses hesitation to order another pint.
This week, Bob should reserve a table for Valentine Day.
But how do you celebrate Valentine Day when you’ve been together for so long… well, for so long that friends just always associate the two of you in their mind? Anyway, Valentine Day promises alleviate Madeleine and Bob urges only for a day.
Madeleine want more
Madeleine is called by more excitement.
She is called by better lovers, by many more rushes of blood to her head, to her vagina, to her heart. She wants her heart to be pounding, her cheeks to get rosy when a sexy stranger approches to say hello, her labia to be lubrificated by surprise, her body to be orgasming without a warning.
Madeleine looks at other couples and wonder how many times a week they’re doing it. She wonders sometimes what her profile on Tinder would look like. She could list all she wants, all that Bob couldn’t provide her.
Madeleine looks at Bob and longs the past. Maybe she longs how she used to appreciate him and to admire what he was. She remember how desirable she felt by a single look of his, how his body used to appeal to her. Maybe he hasn’t changed much, but they aren’t doing it the same way as before. She feels entitled to feel the same adrenalin rushes as her friends recall from their dating trials and errors.
Bob and Madeleine doesn’t even take couple selfies anymore. For what, for whom? Madeleine know they couldn’t compete with other fashionable couples, high on sex-appeal. It’s not even worth trying.
Bob want more
Bob is called by self-realization.
Bob feel he is wasting important timing with Madeleine. He could get so much more. If he was single, he could meet and spend time with so many interesting women. Bob is constricted with Madeleine, maybe by her :
he want to travel – she can’t, because of her job;
he want to renovate their house – she says no, she doesn’t have funds for that;
he want to go and dance night out – she feels too shy to go on the dancefloor;
he want to relax – she’s so stressed that air, in the room they both are, turn anxiety-generating;
he want to do more sport – she never really liked it, to be honest.
She’s not mean, she’s not bitchy, – she’s just so… limiting. When he thought out loud that he might enjoy changing job or go back to school for a reorientation, she expressed reserves. If he could meet all those brilliant, prominent, he would be encouraged in his new endeavours.
Bob know he’s special. Madeleine can’t see it. Sooner or later, she cannot realistically walk the road longer with him.
Bob and Madeleine want
The ruthless love that takes control of their body and their mind
The almighty strength of two synchronized hearts
The flow of an all-natural tranquilizer, that clear the mind and soothe the heart, released by any given «I love you»
More friends and relatives by connexion
They hassle for
The cocaine going through the veins when waiting for a new communication, then getting a line
The ecstatic proudness of provoking surprise and envy when entering a room accompanied by a new beauty
The delicious cramps they provoked in their lower abdomen so easily for weeks while in high school, just by thinking about a single moment spent with their secret crush
Bob and Madeleine are as decided to get better love as when they wait at the checkout counter with their wallets open. Everyone want to buy their bus ticket in pair of two, but no one are content to settle with “good enough”…
A beloved set of freedoms
Any citizen of the Republic of Happiness enjoy five fundamental freedoms :
They write the script of their own life. It’s obvious that each of them is the best position to take their decisions. They prone their independance, their autonomy, their agency. Yes, the tutorials in all kinds, the books of self-help and the retreat weekends sell themselves more faster than ever. Everyone write the script of their own life… like everyone else, so the script get strangely similar. However, it is NOTHING contradictory.
They accept, respect and are happy with the security and society measures put in place by the powers in place. They will separate their legs, dutifully in front of the custom officer, for their own reasons in front of other people. It’s always by their free will – it’s NOTHING political, so if others could put their nose out of it, that would be appreciated.
They can experience horrid trauma, and/for discussing it lengthy and deeply with their therapist. It is necessary to their wellness. How could they forgo it? Everyone do it, and dark spaces have to be dissected, cleaned, lightened, even if it takes a meeting per week until death. Pain is not mandatory, but experience of pain always is.
They also enjoy the freedom to put it all behind them and move on, and to look good and to live for ever.
For those who skin their hands from unflaggingly digging, the five rights soon reveal themselves as five duties. But no one except those like them care about their scratches on their hands – not more than a lost eye or a bruised chin.
After 10 extra years, Bob and Madeleine
When she was a little girl, Madeleine was asked by other girls in her class : “Would you prefer a short, but passionate love, or a long, but tepid love?” She tried to escape that question, unsatisfied with suggested choices. She waited to meet the One, to prove everyone she could have both.
Falling in love made Bob and Madeleine shred years. Again, they had a thrill playing mirror game, from the schoolyard to the living room.
I love cooking! – Me too!
I love that movie! – Me too!
I love your smile! – Me too!
After some time, the game slowly waned, like if one of them suddenly entered teen years and avoided her\his younger friend. Flaws, unease and insecurities started to appears like acne pimples.
Bob and Madeleine explore more than the simple rationalisation of “Another partner would disappoint me too, just in different ways, so let’s keep up with that one”.
Through the buzzing noise of performing sex and sneaking pornography thoughts, Madeleine had to close the door of the bedroom to be able to listen to her, to him and do what, when and how they really, sincerely want to do. She realizes that she want attention, affection and love, and that sex is a great way to obtain all of it, but it’s not homogenous.
Bob returned back his loneliness, but together with his chosen partner. He is still alone with his limits, his flaws and his insecurities. However, Madeleine seats next to him. He knows and accept that she won’t anymore pretend she can carry his burden. However, he appreciates her listening, her talking, her sympathy and her shared joy, that help him feel regularly less alone with his life.
Alone, but together.
People have to move, choose any road, from a public place of ever-tempting consumption, autocratic modern freedoms and pressure of absolute happiness. It is possible to head up for love, but the path is hardly distinguishable and soon, anyone who had the courage to choose the unknown is facing a thick forest. Would you go?
Photography : Mélissa Guérette
Make-up and hair : Stécie April