Painting By: Paulina Marina Truvianni
An article about my third book which I would arguably dub my most passionate work as it portrays the friendship and love between two women, one Swedish and one Panamanian who through their relationship would go on to conquer all.
“What Should Not Matter” tells the story of two beautiful women, who despite being opposites from a physical point of view are very similar in their mentality and nature which allows them to become the best of friends. Rosa and Britta are these two women who come together not only due to the liking they take to one another but the circumstances that surround both their lives at the time of their first encounter; which just happened to be the day the World Trade Center was brought down by terrorist.
Rosa is a women from Panama, who meets Gerald O’ Leary while working as a cleaning lady at the World Trade Center while also being about to complete her education at the New York School of Music. It is Gerald who would go on to not only inspire Rosa to finish her education and become a member of the New York Philharmonic but who would take her to wife. All of which making Rosa’s life one of happiness at least for a time that would see her recover from the loss of her father, who unfortunately was taken from her by the 1989 American invasion of her country.
It was however on September, 11 2001; a day that should have brought Rosa endless joy as she found out she was an expecting mother that she witnessed the building were Gerald worked at be destroyed with the knowledge that her husband had not managed to get out in time. It was this that served as a backdrop to introduce Rosa to Britta; a gynecologist working at Lenox Hill Hospital who brought to Rosa’s attention not only that hers was to be a mother but a widow, showing her on TV what had happened that very day.
Rosa naturally fell in to deep depression following the sight of her husband’s building fall down, with the sad reality that it was her husband who would never see grow the life he had created in her. This alone would have been a cause for great sadness in Rosa but added to this was the fact that it brought back memories of her father’s death making her believe that perhaps those around were not meant to last very long and it was with these feelings that she clung to Britta.
Britta, for her part was a Swedish born gynecologist working in New York’s Lenox Hill hospital who despite her success in life had never felt true joy, given her fear of God and the temptations of life which might lead her to sin. All of which would jeopardize her place in the heaven she was sure would follow her life on earth. Britta however also suffers due to the relationship she has with her father who in spite of his desires to be a loving father can not find a way to express his care for either his daughter or wife in a way that is not destructive.
Britta upon meeting Rosa takes and immediate liking to her; admiring not only Rosa’s dark beauty which contrasts her own but her free style and temperament which she because of her time in Latin America noticed to be so typical of those from the Southern Part of the American continent. Naturally like most of New York’s sophisticated society she also becomes a fan of Rosa’s; who had recently been accepted as a second violinist by New York’s prestigious philharmonic. All of which makes Britta want to be a friend to Rosa whose need for her is equal to her own given the tragedy she has just suffered.
Britta however in her longing for Rosa notices herself not only desiring to consul her friend from her lament at having being widowed at a very young age with an unborn child but falling in love as opposed to merely loving her friend. Britta’s feelings though not completely alien to her are confusing as she is fully aware how they will lead her on a head on collision with her strong religious believes which strongly condemn not only actions of the sort but even the mere emotion. All of which creating a dilemma for Britta, who is torn between her religious sentiments and not wanting to leave her friend, Rosa; who is in desperate need of a friend even if theirs would end in disaster for many.
The affair between Rosa and Britta, who I might add are the deepest characters I have ever created; should not be viewed as a lesbian affair though their bodies engage in its acts but one of two women who in time of crises turned to the other to provide not only support of the moral kind but of the physical. Perhaps one could see this as a friendship that was so strong that it simply spilled over in to the sexual nature that witnessed actions of true bliss, though this was not their intension.
Perhaps such was the case with the ancient Greek poet Sappho, who despite having been married and given birth to a child is better remembered for her relationships with other women then even her written work. Of course this could also be due to the fact that most of Sappho’s work was lost and few samples of it remain. In all this however, I ask would it be fair to say that Sappho along with many others was strictly homosexual being that hers did include romances with men? In this I might add that the word lesbian is even credited to her affairs with other women as it comes from the name of the Greek island she was born on called “Lesbos”.
In history their have also been many cases of men who despite or perhaps because of the strength of both their will and character turned to the sexuality which they could only obtain from those of their own gender as was the case of Julius Caesar, Frederick (the great) Alexander (the great) and Richard (the lion heart). All of whom also did not exclude heterosexual relations from their lives. It is with this fact that I ask what is the factor that serves to classify someone as a heterosexual or a homosexual? For instance could a man like Julius Caesar who was married and even had a child with Cleopatra be classified as a homosexual solely because on one occasion he enjoyed the favors of another man? Of course there are those who are easier to classify such as Russian composer Tchaikovsky who only married to hide the fact that he was a homosexual in a country were at the time such acts were not only frowned upon but were in fact illegal and yet there are cases that are perhaps more difficult to categorize. Such could be said for pop singer David Jones; (a.k.a. David Bowie) who after having had many publicized romances with men went on to marry a woman, named Iman. The reason I say went on to marry a woman is because in today’s world when a man gets married it does not be necessity have to be with the opposite sex as was the case with Reginald Dwight a.k.a. Elton John.
Sexuality in my perception is more complicated then most people believe as sometimes it is not a simple matter of men being attracted to women or the other way around but of needing something at a specific time and place. For instance in the time of Alexander of Macedon; it was not uncommon for soldiers who had been long away from their wife’s on the night before a battle to turn to each other for comfort that would not always be limited to having a drink or even a hug but of a more sexual variety. It is this which I try to portray in my book “What Should Not Matter”. A title which incidentally refers to how all people need in their lives is each other and that deities and religions should not matter to humans in their relations.
The case of Britta and Rosa, in my opinion would fall under those that are more difficult to qualify as Rosa, a woman who had known intimacy with a man would seek out comfort in Britta. Britta being a woman she admired and felt could protect and guide her with her calm ways that she was so much in need of during that most instable period in her life. Rosa naturally had not lost her longing for men during the time that followed the death of her husband but was in such a state of mourning that she could not even find it in herself to date other men as the sadness in her over the loss of her husband was so great that she when confronted with other men; felt even more depressed.
Britta, on the other hand had a certain aversion toward men which came partially because of her father, whom she had spent most of her life fearing. This given her father’s temper and the mental though never physical cruelty he sometimes treated her mother with. In this analyzes of Britta; it would however be unfair to qualify her as completely homosexual even though she never engaged in acts of sexuality with a man but this being more so because of her religious view which told her such relations should not take place unless under the bond of marriage.
In most heterosexual relationships it is usually the male who seduces the female however in homosexual relations this is sometimes hard to determine which one of the two was the one who instigated the affair. With regards to Rosa and Britta; some might be of the idea that it was Britta who provoked Rosa in to a physical relationship but this would not be completely true as it was in reality the circumstances that surrounded both these women that almost pushed them in to an affair. For above all Rosa and Britta were friends and it was not till Rosa started to suffer from the effects of postpartum depression that Britta fearing Rosa might do something rash not only to herself but her child began comforting Rosa in a more physical way. Rosa not being one who had ever shown any attraction to women, needed the touch of the flesh more as a way of comfort then sexual pleasure but however ended up finding something of such strength in the arms of another woman that to her mind that was grief stricken it seemed that she was being revisited by her husband in the form of the one who had become like the sister she never had.
Rosa and Britta however are not only opposites as far as looks are concerned; Rosa being of a dark complexion while Britta being of a light one but are also different as far as personality is concerned. Britta is in many ways the typical Swede as she is reserved though not as much as most Scandinavians while Rosa from this point of view is the typical Latina; vivacious and gregarious and it this spirit in her that gives Britta the strength to stand up to her father and be more assertive at work. Rosa on the other hand takes from Britta’s Scandinavian sense of calmness which was lacking in her life to overcome the insecurity of being a widowed mother while managing a career as a first violinist in one of the world’s most demanding philharmonics.
In conclusion I would like to say that the point of “What Should Not Matter” is not to show a lesbian romance any more then “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence is to show an adulterous affair but “What Should Not Matter” was written with one simple intent. This being to show that nothing other then friendship should matter in a relationship between people and how there are certain people whose love for another; weather they be of the same sex or opposite is so strong that it can though it does not have to run in to the side that includes satisfaction of the flesh.