The video for Alanis Morissette’s minor hit “Unsent” has good material for this weekend’s look at life’s themes. It shows a young woman in five vignettes with the men from her past, each a character-study. Sex girds every scene and each man delivers a different balance of attraction and comfort. The beat gets heavy with her recollections of Jonathan and Marcus, the two for whom her flame burned hottest.
The men, in order of appearance:
Matthew lives by his code. A woman who wants to keep him must first submit herself to his ways, even if they make no sense to her. He trusts his vision even as he does not entirely understand it. His lean frame and gentle manner are the outward representation of his ascetic temperament and his readiness to sacrifice all in the name of his faith.
Jonathan comes from a line of men who live and die by the pride in their hearts and the fire in their guts. Quick to throw a punch, quicker to help a friend. His deepest desire is to serve and be needed and to see the fruits of his works. Men like him require a purpose and when they sense futility, they destroy themselves.
Terrance is a builder. Like his father and grandfathers before, he saw a vast nothing and turned it into something. His house is warm during the long winter nights. After the flood, his sons will have made it to the other side and they will found a new nation.
Marcus knows when to pull and when to push so when he’s with you, all kinds of doors open. More than that, he brings magic to the commonplace. Deft of touch, the silver-tongued whisperer makes you live the moment in the here-and-now. In a way, what else is real?
Lou is a blank slate, the least developed character of the five. Seen in a distance through glass, face like a child’s without contours, he represents the unknown depth in you. Some unrevealed experience binds him and the girl, maybe forever and against their wills. An abortion? A miscarriage? The things we do tie our lives to the people who walk with us.
In every scene, sadness drops a shadow on the memory, as though each of the men is pushing her away. Why is that?