The Ghost Ship

Mariel HemingwayWoody Allen

How does a love end? – Then it does end? To tell the truth, no one – except for the others – ever knows anything about it; a kind of innocence conceals the end of this thing conceived, asserted, lived according to eternity. Whatever the loved being becomes, whether he vanishes or moves into the realm of Friendship, in any case I never see him disappear: the love which is over and done with passes into another world like a ship into space, lights no longer winking: the loved being once echoed loudly, now that being is entirely without resonance (the other never disappears when and how we expect). This phenomenon results from a constraint in the lover’s discourse: I myself cannot (as an enamored subject) construct my love story to the end: I am its poet (its bard) only for the beginning; the end, like my own death, belongs to others; it is up to them to write the fiction, the external, mythic narrative.

Roland Barthes
A Lover’s Discourse (1977)

Photos: Mariel Hemingway and Woody Allen in the final scene of Manhattan (1979)

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