JNG’s Recipe for the Perfect Weekend (with a little assistance from sous-chef JE)
1 cup of sugary and frothy hot chocolate, peppermint mocha or similarly delicious warm drink (pictured below)
1 pair of fuzzy reading socks
1 thick, fluffy blanket
1 comfy and lush sofa, large enough for 2 people
5 pieces of firewood
1 Victorian novel, sweetened or unsweetened
a dash of True Love, to taste
If you’ve been reading my blog for long enough, you know just how loyal I am to the Victorian novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I’ve talked multiple times about all the advice I’ve gained from my various readings of the novel over the years, and I am more likely to turn to Jane than to any other literary character when I want to determine how I should act and conduct myself in certain situations.
And, in that same vein, the romantic relationship between Jane and her True Love Edward Fairfax Rochester has always served as a model for the type of relationship I would like to have. Yes, there are some stumbling blocks for the couple along the trail of their relationship, and I know that Mr. Rochester doesn’t always act as chivalrously as he can, but their union is one that comes out of many tests, a lot of misunderstanding, and a great deal of learning how to respect and properly love one another. No relationship is perfect right from the start, and I think Jane and Mr. Rochester are a testament to the fact that some of the most compatible and happiest couples must struggle and work hard to achieve their happiness.
But, when all is said and done, when every obstacle has been overcome and every madwoman is taken out of the attic, both literally and metaphorically, Jane and her Edward establish a life that is something out of a fairytale. It is a simple, quiet life that they lead, and they are often in solitude with no company but one another, but they seem entirely content, at peace and perfectly fulfilled by the little world they have cultivated.
“I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me…”
– Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
That sounds like the most perfect life to me. When I first read that description, I was in grade 12, looking toward a future of university studies, meeting tons of different people, visiting places I’d never seen before, and hopefully encountering my soul mate somewhere along my travels. I didn’t know if it was possible to meet someone who would be my Edward, who would so perfectly suit me that we could spend hours sitting together, chatting about nothing in particular, and be happier than if we were anywhere else, doing anything else. I’ve never been the type of person who needs constant stimulus – I can preoccupy myself pretty well for hours if I have a good novel, a comfy seat and a warm sweater – but one thing I have never been able to stand is being entirely alone. If I am reading or writing, I like there to be people around me, people at least sitting beside me or in the vicinity. I’m not the sort of person who could ever live alone because I crave social interaction, connection, affection. So, when I read that Jane had just that, but that this connection felt like peace and solitude to her as well, I knew that was the sort of union I also wanted.
And I know I gush about my boyfriend SS more than I gush about a lot of things here on the blog, but I just have to say that he has become my Edward in every sense of the description. This past weekend, we spent a night at the cozy and quaint Hotel Victoria in downtown Toronto, and it was absolute bliss. We didn’t do anything in particular, other than a dinner with SS’s friends, but the most amazing part of the weekend was that we had so much time to sit beside each other, to tell each other whatever came to our minds without having to send a text or open a phone application. I could sit silently in SS’s presence endlessly and not feel alone or bored at all – it is complete ease and calm to have him around me, and there is no end to the number of stories and thoughts I want to share with him. He is the companion that undoubtedly suits me best.
So what Jane Eyre gave me when I first read about her marriage was the recipe for the perfect evening, the perfect weekend, sitting beside your True Love, whiling away the hours by reading and conversing. What Jane also gave me, however, was the recipe for the perfect life, for the perfect marriage – or at least the perfect one for me. Things don’t have to be extravagant, not every day has to be filled with adventure. All that is necessary is a life partner that you can be with every minute of the day and be absolutely overjoyed for every single one of them.
“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.”
– Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
May we all know the love Jane knows one day,
Girl with a Green Heart