Proust, Freud, John Of The Cross and Werther were all obsessed with how in moments of absence, the loved one would conjure rages, obsession and paranoia in the mind of the amorous subject. I think what troubled them about this – and their writings themselves did seethe with rage and obsession, and they stank of male ego – was that in absence the existence of the loved one becomes a matter of internal conjecture. In withdrawal, the mind craves and so feasts on memories of the loved one, but when those are depleted it turns openly – and wildly – to fantasy.
Here things become problematic, because the recollection of another human being is never complete. It is a kind of magical ritual used to commune with the dead, to try to pull bodies out of space, but only succeeding in partial gradations. If you close your eyes and try to imagine what the face of your loved one looks like, it’s never quite correct, there are never defined lines, it’s the after image of a dream. Trying to recall a voice is even harder, and in the work of some theorists this act becomes monstrous, unsettling, tantamount to necrophilia. The only time we ever are with the loved one is when we hear their voice – the oscilloscope points at which they flood up and then hesitate or recede back into the cages of their bodies.