December 9, 2018 – introspection again

A special shade of red

Is there a “someone” who has the most beautiful face ever? Or is that too objective a perspective for a concept that is entirely subjective? The variables are not infinite, quantitative infinity is apparently meaningless as other than a mathematical modeling concept, but their number is very, very large, especially if generalized rather than personalized.

You represent that beauty to me, not as something idealized but as something real, neither good nor bad. Physical beauty is a qualitatively severable concept although perhaps it ought not to be. It seems obvious that as a human attribute, beauty comes in a myriad of forms, only one of which is physical and that as a kind of energy it cumulates geometrically when combined. For example, if moral and physical beauty are combined in the same person the result, impacted by synergy, would be significantly greater than the sum of the two forms. Unfortunately, it’s probable that in most cases physical beauty negatively impacts other kinds of beauty, especially when the one endowed accurately perceives that she possesses it.

It amazes me that I didn’t really perceive how physically beautiful you were when I first fell in love with you. My mind was somewhere else, I was listening to you speak when I realized something unique had happened. I thought you were pretty enough but over the years and through my experiences I’d become enured to the merely physical. I certainly have with respect to everyone else. In others, beauty is a pleasant attribute, but in you, it’s devastating. The strange thing is that when I’m not with you it doesn’t impact me nearly as much, although I acknowledge its existence, I recall that yours is the greatest physical beauty I’m capable of imagining or perceiving, but when I next see you I realize that it is much greater than I’m capable of retaining in memory.

Perhaps I’m wrong though because your impact on me is much more at the energy rather than the visual level. When I see you an intense energy is triggered, as though creation was about to begin, and perhaps my impression of your beauty is just my brain’s attempt to translate that energy into something tangible. Tangible but still inexplicable, ineffable. The energy seems premised on a kind of pure joy, the kind of joy religious mystics try and convey when they describe paradise as the act of being in the divine presence, but in my case it’s grounded in the reality that you are very, very human, with human shortcomings, human suffering, disappointments and deceptions. That makes it even more of a mystery but perhaps one as to which I’ve developed a hypothesis.

The hypothesis is somewhat trite but magnificent just the same.

It is that of all the possibilities in the multiverse, of all the variables, you are my perfect complement. Very different but together fulfilling me, and that if you allowed yourself to experience it, you would realize I am yours as well. I know that doesn’t comport with the philosophies you currently ascribe to, the “only the present exists” and “need is weakness” tautologies, the very lonely philosophy of being complete into yourself which, when I see you interact with your daughters, I sense is totally at odds with your reality. But I interpret that as a consequence of your all too many failed attempts to join with an adequate other. As in my case, such efforts have been unsuccessful, all too often disastrous, especially since we first met. They had to be, they didn’t involve us. I seem to have handled my wounds in a more positive manner but perhaps that’s just a superficial impression. You seem to have knit a protective shell seeking to become impervious to further misadventures, the shell woven with threads, threads with names, Sara and Amelia, a shell you use to keep me at bay.

It is very difficult to live so close to paradise without being permitted to enter, to set things right. As though I were in its event horizon, unable to escape but also unable to enter. And you, in limbo as well, huddled protectively, weaving your own hypotheses and theories, beautiful dreams battling nightmares as I try to fit in.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at and much of his writing is available through his blog at

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