25 Love Stories 22/25
Deacon Claybourne and Rayna Jaymes (Nashville)
Nashville is drama-ville, but I’ve always loved the way they show that love comes back around if it’s true. It doesn’t matter how many roadblocks are in their path, they’ll pull through it. It doesn’t matter how many years pass or how many mistakes are made, true love forgives. Sometimes first love isn’t true love, but for Deacon Claybourne and Rayna Jaymes, that idea doesn’t apply. They are each other’s first love and last love. And for three seasons we watched them continuously go back and forth denying the feelings within. This is the story of a solid partnership weaved in beautifully with music — a love of mine I’ve yet to find the proper words for. In other words, I was sold from the day one.
When Deacon and Rayna fell in love with one another, they fall hard. And that kind of love is undeniably hard to forget. Deacon and Rayna are best friends — the sense of comfort that’s established between them makes it difficult to find a connection as profound with another soul. And that love between them has given them a home in the arms of their other half.
And that’s exactly what Deacon and Rayna are — each other’s halves. They’ve always needed one another, and for that very reason, even when they broke up, they continued working alongside one another. They continued fighting together even when it appeared they’d moved on. Deacon wasn’t his best self, he let the alcohol take over him and even though he loved Rayna more, he wasn’t strong enough to fight. And understandably when he finally got better after the fifth time in rehab, it was too late. She couldn’t bare to open her heart to him again. She couldn’t go back there. His words were empty promises. Though she forgave him, she couldn’t trust him in that way. However, that lack of trust didn’t mean she was going to give up on him, it just meant that they couldn’t be in a romantic relationship. They were still best friends. They were still everything to each other, but they needed to move forward without each other in order to come up stronger. For 13 years they continued to cherish one another even as it appeared a romance was out of question. As frustrations piled up, and they couldn’t stand being apart any longer, they gave their relationship another go only to have an enormous secret send Deacon spiraling. The truth about Maddie being Deacon’s daughter was massive, and it was difficult to choose a side. You understood why Rayna kept it from him, and you understood why Deacon felt so betrayed. It hurt to watch. It felt like a hopeless situation, especially after the accident, and it made viewers wonder if they could ever go back from this. All hope was lost, but they found a way to forgive it all — to start over in a more honest way allowing their love to guide the way. Allowing their past to be a reminder of what they shouldn’t be. It’s been an exhausting journey, but Nashville’s done the fight right. If this were any other series, I’d probably not be able to see them as exceptional. I’d probably not be able to forgive, but you knew even in those darkest hours, Deacon’s love for Rayna never wavered. You knew that he’d be living with regret his entire life because of how much he hurt her. There’s no beauty in the mistakes he’s made, but there’s beauty in the way he’s redeemed himself. There’s beauty in the way he’s loved and supported Rayna all throughout their journey even when it was tough for him to watch her with another man. There’s beauty in the way Rayna continuously saw the best in him and reminded him of the person he could be by ceaselessly having hope in his strength and character. When he got sick, she didn’t leave his side — she fought to remind him of the person he could be. She fought to remind him of hope and faith. She fought to remind him of the fact that their love is true in every way possible.
The intimacy in song writing and performing together is a gorgeous part of this series — Deacon and Rayna take the crown, too. There’s nothing like watching the two of them perform. There’s nothing like watching them lose themselves in the power of music. It’s not easy to work with just anyone when it comes to writing music — you need to trust your partner with your vulnerabilities for writing and performing demands a person be stripped of all their walls. Music demands to be felt, and in order for it to be evocative, it’s got to be honest. And the intimacy it requires can only be exuded from partners that truly understand one another. You don’t have to be in love, but for Deacon and Rayna, it’s what makes their music magic. And the perfect representation of their relationship, in my honest opinion, is “Surrender”.
Why don’t we
Take this time we wasted
And don’t hold back let’s face it
I need you
And baby you need me
We’re all we’ve been missing
If we could just stop resisting
And give in to what’s supposed to be
And I’ll surrender to you
If you surrender to me
I hear you whisper in the air at night
You are in every single song I write
And every melody I play
It doesn’t matter where I run
I come back to where I’m running from
Your face is everywhere I turn
The entire song is perfect, if you haven’t already downloaded, what are you waiting for? iTunes is waiting for you.
Deacon and Rayna have been soul mates from the very beginning. They’ll fight for one another in ways no one else would, and their love for one another only grows by the day. They’re safe with each other, cherished, and happy. The kind of love they have comes once in a lifetime, and I love that Rayna makes sure Deacon knows it’s the kind of love she wants her daughters to witness. Their past is dark and messy, but it’s what’s made them better. Together, they’ve created a healthy, beautiful environment for the girls and now that they’re engaged, I have hope that it’ll only get more entertaining. After everything they’ve been through, no matter how frustrating it gets at times, they’ll support each other through anything and everything. It doesn’t matter if they’re skeptical, they’ll be there. If they make mistakes, they apologize. And at the end of the day, the most gorgeous part of their relationship is the fact that they always find ways to remind one another of just how loved they are. In one of my full length episode reviews of Nashville, I had said: “It’s lovely to see Rayna and Deacon take on life together – even if that means laying still for a moment in an attempt to unwind. The astounding amount of adoration that runs through their veins for one another profoundly resonates with the audience even in the briefest scenes. It doesn’t even feel as though they were apart episodes ago because of how effortlessly they fall back into a state of intimacy stronger than before. The innate contentment that instantly comes over Rayna at the reality of Deacon being there to welcome her home after an eventful day is gorgeous. It authenticates the conception that no matter what they’re going through, Deacon and Rayna have an exquisitely wondrous way of filling each other with the utmost form of hope, love, and serenity.” They’ll always be home to one another, and to watch them continuously cherish that idea is breathtaking. The darkest days are brighter with one another, the toughest decisions are easier, and the moments of discomfort are peaceful. They make each other and life better. If that’s not true, everlasting love, then I don’t know what is.
A special thank you to Connie Britton and Charles Esten for bringing the love story between Deacon and Rayna to life masterfully. They’re phenomenal scene partners and the series just wouldn’t be the same without their impeccable work as actors.
P.S. Alice (aka the person who got me into this show and my neighbor/good friend of almost 20 years) and I are still waiting for Deacon and Rayna’s version of “Postcard to Mexico” to release. Please and thank you. That is all.