Apologue #48: The Red String of Fate

Ever hear about the red string of fate? It’s all about love. The red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend and is also known to be used in Japanese legends, as well. According to the myth, the gods tied an invisible red string around the ankles of men and women who are destined to be soul-mates and will one day marry each other. Often, in Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied on the pinky finger.

The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers — regardless of time, place or circumstances. The magical string may stretch or tangle, but can never break. The myth is similar to the Western concept of soul-mates or a destined flame.

There are many folklore tales such as these in other foreign cultures that I have heard about. I remember one Greek legend about how humans used to two beings born to be stuck together by the hip, until the gods split everyone up into single beings, and so we search wholeheartedly of our other “missing” half/twin. The concept of soul-mates through legends that transverse through time and in different cultures are always so captivating to hear about and learn.

We all know that these legends have been romanticized dramatically to aspire young people about love, but I’ve always had a heart for them and will always lend an ear to hear more. Believing in destiny has become a young person’s game but it never hurts to dream every once in a while under a blue moon.

Advertisements

Titanic’s Isidor and Ida Straus

I’m sure everyone has seen the movie, “Titanic” at least a good dozen times in their lifetime. If the history behind the tragedy didn’t get your fancy, we all knew that our heartthrob sensation of Leo DiCaprio was good eye candy during the film. Before the sinking of the ship, there are two scenes that have always captured my heart and has made me cry so many tears. The first scene is where the string quartet stays behind to perform their hymn till their last breath, and the second scene is of the elderly couple that hold tight to each other on their deathbed as the ocean waters slowly start filling up their room.

It so happens though, that these two were supposedly based on a real couple, who said they wouldn’t board a lifeboat as long as there were younger people still aboard the ship.

Meet Isidor and Ida Straus. Records state that the couple had been married for 41 years at the time of the disaster. They raised six children together, and were almost inseparable. On the rare occasion that they were apart, they wrote to each other every day.

During the sinking, Titanic’s officers and other first class members pleaded with the 63 year old Ida to board a lifeboat and escape the disaster, but she repeatedly refused to leave her husband behind. Although Isidor was offered a seat in a lifeboat to accompany Ida, he strongly refused whilst there were still women and children on board.

Ida then, placed her newly hired maid (Ellen Bird) in a lifeboat, taking her fur coat off and and handing it to the maid to shield her from the cold noting that she no longer needed it. Ida is reported to have said, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” When last seen by witnesses, the couple were standing on deck, holding each other in a tight embrace accepting their fates together.

Isidor’s body was recovered but the funeral service was delayed for a few days in hopes that Ida’s body may too, be recovered, allowing the two who had lived and died together to also share a funeral — but sadly, Ida’s body was never found. Several days later, their funeral drew some 20,000 mourners at Carnegie Hall. A monument to them still stands at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, with the inscription from Song of Solomon 8:7 that quotes: “Many waters cannot quench love — neither can the floods drown it.”

Apologue #43: I Sleep with Love Letters

I still have all the love letters that I’ve ever received in my entire life all in a shoe box under my bed. I reread them and sift through them from time to time to remind myself of the different loves that I’ve had in the past. They’re not exactly pick-me-ups on a gloomy day or tokens from the passionate loves I’ve once had to brag about to others. They’ve become parts of my memories and myself, that I would never have the heart to part with them.

Some of them are actually too painful to read again. That’s how much I can still feel them. I can feel the connection that the letter brings from the writer onto me. It’s not just a piece of paper with jumbled up words, and it most certainly isn’t something that only triggers a memory.

As I unfold each crease and read each letter I can feel the writer with each curved word that breathes the life into each sentence. I can still smell the cologne that rubbed off on the pages of letters he once wrote to write to me in a hurry, telling me not to worry and he’ll come back home soon. I can see and touch the crinkles of the dried spots with smudged letters with words I can no longer make out from once was wet tears of his and mine because we could not be together. These letters aren’t mere letters, but they breathe and live the love and youth I once shared with someone that was close to heart.

I still like love letters. I would choose to pick a love letter over anything, even today. E-mails and texting doesn’t do anything for me. I’m a little bit traditional when it comes to sappy love tales and love letters are always going to be key into entering my heart. I don’t know why I find it so endearing, but to feel that sincerity and passion along with the time to write it down, makes it seem all so true.

Love Quote #8: “I Love You”



In Japan, there happens to be three ways to say the phrase, “I love you.”

You say, “Daisuki (大好き)” for the friends and person you like.

You say, “Aishiteru (愛してる)” for a more serious relationship.

And, “Koishiteru ( 恋してる)” to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

And they follow this rule.

They preserve the meaning of “I love you” and never lose its essence, unlike the rest of us.

Love Quote #6: “Why the Wedding Ring is Worn on the Fourth Finger”

Why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger: The Chinese give a beautiful explanation to this.

The thumb represents your parents. The index finger represents your siblings. The middle finger represents yourself. The ring finger represents your life partner. The little finger/pinky represents your children.

Hold your hands together like the picture. Join your middle fingers back-to-back, and the remaining fingers tip-to-tip.

Now, try to separate your thumbs. They will separate because your parents are not destined to live with you forever. Rejoin your thumbs and separate your index fingers. They will separate because your siblings will have their own families and lead their own lives. Rejoin your index fingers and separate your little fingers/pinkies. They will separate because your children will grow up, get married, and settle down.

Rejoin your little fingers/pinkies and try to separate your ring fingers. They will not be able to separate because your life partner is meant to be with you throughout your entire life, through thick and thin.”