Reflecting On A Modern Day Love Story
Three summers ago, I couldn’t sleep...
I was visiting my mother in my childhood home and in lieu of any true furniture (my room had been scraped out as soon as I left for college), I was given an inflatable air mattress to sleep on instead. And I laid there, tossing and turning and tossing again. It was too early for anybody else to be awake but late enough that the sun bled through my bowed curtains, urging to flood the room. And for longer than I initially realized, I deeply considered, with all the weight and seriousness of a great-age philosopher the relationship of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
Questions buzzed through my head like chatty gnats. At the time, the couple had freshly renewed their vows and were soon expecting another child. Kanye had released his EP Ye (alternatively, as pointed out on a strange and stilted moment during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel: I hate being bipolar it's awesome) only a few days earlier. I played it again and again, drawn by the vulnerability and skeletal approach. Safe to say -- he was on my mind. They both were. I thought about it, again and again, staring at the wall upon which the sun-splashed. What did they have to offer one another? What did she give? Did he take it? What did they talk about before bed? What did she say to him when the cameras were off and there was nobody else around?
KimYe was the epitome of the modern celebrity relationship. And since the announcement of the couple's divorce, the loss is deeply felt.
According to Kim, she and Kanye first met in 2002 on the set of a Brandy music video. Back when the palm trees were in full bloom and Paris Hilton was the bedazzled sugar apple of America's eye. It was a big year for both. Kim's infamous sex tape with Ray J would be filmed and left unseen for the next five years. Kanye would find himself with a wire in his jaw in the aftermath of a car crash he claims altered the course of his life. Things were moving and changing and falling for the pair. But nothing would come of the meeting yet. In the meantime, they remained friends. Kanye released three more albums, Kim got married to Kris Humphries for 72 days. And at last in 2011, the couple made their relationship official. And everything sounded. KimYe meant an Italian wedding. KimYe meant flashing lights. KimYe meant washed out, poised photographs of family life plastered across Kim's Instagram. It was grandiose and all-out and sweet. It was love. But towards the end, KimYe meant trouble in Loveland. It meant Kim sobbing in the car with Kanye as he publically spiraled. It meant resentment and anguish and concern. It meant cheating rumors and TMZ reports. It was not fun to watch. It was rather disturbing, actually.
It is one thing to have a convoluted relationship...
But to then have that relationship and every downturn broadcasted for an audience of millions is an entirely different animal. I am reminded of the work of Raymond Carver who often depicts the horrifying banal nature of relationships. In his work, couples have quiet, tense dinners in shadows. Women sip on thin glasses of wine and lark over the latest piece of gossip. Men sniff heads of blonde hair. This image of the everyday relationship, seemingly without spectacle, without documentation, is a sharp contrast from the ones we are used to seeing in magazines. It can be hard to remember that these are people we are looking at. Human beings in dresses.
Kim, that little doll beneath the stage light of the sun with a calming voice and a penchant for mile-long braids. And Kanye, both bombastic and reserved, a forward-thinking, synth-led artist of our times who never quite knows when to hold his tongue. And even as the relationship comes to an end, even as Kanye takes Julia Fox out to dinner and Kim posts Pete Davidson to her Instagram story, the question still remains: what did Kim and Kanye talk about when they were left alone? When the filters were powered down for the night. When the comments were silenced. When the tweets faded.
When Kim was a woman with an animal heart and needs and wants and a body that needed to be touched every once in a while. When Kanye was moments from the black cradle of sleep, his television of a mind powered down at last.
As the chapped hills, California glowed from beyond the white walls. As cowboy ghosts sauntered past the windows. I love you like a royal. I love you in these times. I love you as I am meant to. Maybe Kim placed her hand on Kanye's chest and felt his heart beating. His realness. His sleep. And maybe Kanye felt it. And maybe they fell asleep, not having said anything at all.
Jasmine Ledesma is both a writer based in New York and a Pyrrhic contributor. Her work has appeared in or is set to appear in places such as Crazyhorse, Rattle, and [PANK] among others. Her work was nominated for both Best of The Net and the Pushcart Prize in 2020. She was named a Brooklyn Poets fellow in 2021.
If you love this article, you can find more of Jasmine's work at jasmineledesma.com
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