The Undealt Card
"I remember the first time I succumbed to the sensation that the universe was dispensable minus one lady. It’s to do with knowing and being known.
I remember how it stopped seeming odd that in Biblical Greek knowing was used for making love. Whosit knew so-and-so. Carnal knowledge, it’s what lovers trust each other with. Knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh. In extremis, the mask slipped from the face. Every other version of oneself is on offer to the public, we share our vivacity, grief, sulks, anger, joy…We hand it out to anybody who happens to be standing around. To friends and family with a momentary sense of indecency, perhaps. To strangers without hesitation. Our lovers share us with the passing trade. But in pairs, we insist that we give ourselves to each other.
What self? What’s left? What else is there that hasn’t been dealt out like a deck of cards? A sort of knowledge. Personal, final, uncompromised.
Knowing, being known. I revere that. Having that is being rich.
You can be generous about what’s shared: she walks, she talks, she lends a sympathetic hear, she kicks off her shoes and dances on a table - she’s everybody’s. And it don’t mean a thing. Let them eat cake! Knowing is something else. It’s the undealt card.”
The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard, 1982
From: The Undealt Card