The Third.

[first draft]


“There are two sides to every story.”


But, let’s not limit ourselves.

When things occur in twos, a certain tension arises. Pairing isn’t easy.

We can think of many concrete pairs, in nature – eyes, hands, feet – as, somehow, intended to be matched.

Two of a thing implies balance; one, on either “side.”

But, we forget; in order for two to create balance, each of the two must either be attached, or positioned, on a third entity. Hands, feet, breasts: on bodies; socks, shoes: on feet, attached to legs, on bodies. Central to these pairings is the body itself. Pairs may be present, on each side; yet, the core is essential.

Scales are designed to determine whether or not two items are equal in weight. And, when the two are found to be unequal something else is added, to one side of the scale, to achieve balance.

Perhaps humans could take a lesson.


Two by two. Our culture believes in the sanctity of the institution of the marriage bond. Two people, committed to sharing lives, responsibilities, duties, tasks, decisions, choices. Offspring.

When one or the other of a married couple is unhappy, one seeks another: a confidante, a mistress, a paramour. When the marriage inevitably founders, someone else is often enlisted to come to the couple’s aid: a marriage counselor. Interestingly, during the counseling phase, many couples may report a certain stabilization. Remove the counselor, and the challenge begins, again. The two seem to need a third.

Two items, or two people, standing side by side, really only exist on one plane. Adding an un-encoupled third necessitates depth – stepping into the frame, the 3rd dimension. Invariably, when a third party enters a committed relationship, even with the heartache and betrayal which is ultimately felt by all, somebody always gains a degree of insight. The perspective, of the third side.

I found out today that the triangle is the most stable of all geometric forms. Stands to reason. Just picture three children, hand in hand with each other. Excusing the precise demands of geometry, they form a human triangle, stabilizing all three. Not a one of the children is the “leader”. None has pre-eminence; all are equal.

In music theory, the interval of the second is the most unstable, creating an unsettling dissonance. But, place just one [silent] step between, and voila: the interval of the third, building block of all consonant harmony.

Devout Western religious often encourage their following to make God, the Higher Power by designation, a focal point in marriage. The Creator, as core. And, what of the Christian Trinity – Father, Son, Spirit? Manifest, equally.

In other cultures, coupling is plural. Are there any studies that support a theory regarding the stability of such relationships?

The next time we find ourselves wanting somebody, or something, all to ourselves – perhaps we might check our balance. We might open our hearts, search for, and then acknowledge the need for a focal point, a shared aspiration, an object of mutual devotion. A third.






© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

10/24/15  All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing permissible by request of the author. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “The Third.

  1. I think I see where you’re going with this. That is, relationships need a fulcrum, a third edge, a principle that keeps them together? I think people want to hover at the edge of the unknown. It’s what makes relationships attractive at the start. Until, for example, you hear for the umpteenth time a detailed description of how the opening scene for his bio pic will go. And you think that if you listen to it for the 13th time that maybe on trial 14 you will not hear it again but actually the more you hear it is the more you will hear it. Because sometimes relationships are really about one person. The two dimensions are actually one person being a mirror reflecting the other person’s ideals back to them. Someone wants to be praised and worshipped and the other party is only a functionary. I don’t think there will be room for principle, much less a third edge in a “selfie relationship.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Precisely. Relationships ARE a mirror. One is seeking a reflection – of the better self, or an aspired self – but, the seeking is mirrored. The bits for this piece came in a flood today, interrupted by a completely different focus (shopping for Steinway), and my flow was lost when I sat down to write. This one needs to gel. But, yes; when relationships are deliberately sought, this is the condition; however, when they merely occur, like convergences, they may become mirrors for both parties,which inevitably leads to fracture — ( as each party faces his or her own reflection of self, discovering that the other is not obliging!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have no idea what relationships are for, in the romantic sense. What are people to do people when they live in the same house? But if I’m going to be all about me, there are more creative ways to do that, like playing some music, reading a book or buying a new dress. I remember someone telling me once that he thought it was bad for couples to spend a lot of time together or they will be sick of each other. And he was married so I thought “how on earth did you decide to marry your wife? ” Turns out she spent $30,000 of his income on designer shoes and that was only on 10 pairs. She never dressed up for him. So he had no idea the shoes were there. He only found them when they were getting divorced and she left the shoes behind. Had he been less up himself with nonsensical thoughts she wouldn’t have had time to squander his income. But people are just silly like that. They get married to people they don’t love and hurt people who love them. They can’t be happy because they don’t know what they want.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. A collage painting with high heels as a forest. The Empress (you) strikes again. I’ve done it already, RAS. Your eyes could get blasted. It’s denser than a Balmain dress. So wear sunglasses. It’ll accompany a poem about three principles (there you go, the third edge) and it’ll be up on the 28th.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Always interested in “The Third Person” – when they say this book was written in the first person, the 2nd, or third person, it boggles my mind!

    Someone must take the lead I guess, I like the idea of someone else doing that, be an extrovert, or try being introverted? Scary! A matter of perspective – the art of art, standing outside of oneself, in order to?? How fascinating!

    I believe the sphere is the most perfect of all forms? Lets hear it for the perfect sphere!! ❤


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