So you may not believe me, but I'm actually working on a new story! First time in what seems like years, ha. But for now, I thought I'd re-post my favorite piece I've written. I don't know why I like it so much--maybe because it's probably the most honest thing I've ever written. It's about the tearing ambivalence we all fear when it comes to love. I hope you enjoy it. I know I enjoyed writing it.
"That Most Unusual Predicament", written November 10th, 2008.
It was his eyes—yes, it had to be. They drew me in. They captured me. They hurt me.
Have you ever noticed that our measurement of love is entirely in the loss? We sit and try to quantify this silly self-imposed emotion and it comes down to an equation of arithmetic: how long we spend together plus the good times and multiplied by the bad ones. We next factor in the special moments and begin to minimize the mundane ones. And from there, we take this number and put it up against every other fiasco we've endured with another lover, and try to compare, as if we can.
And we travel on, disillusioned, barreling effortlessly towards the exchange of the three most unoriginal words ever composed--"I love you". Have you ever realized how pathetic those words are? It's as if we've reduced ourselves to mindless boars on the hunt, and instead of searching for substance to secure our survival, we battle over the most banal, meaningless, forgetful, overused words ever to come across any human language.
But how arresting those words can be. How they can make your heart leap out of your chest. When they tickle your ears, it's like a warm sensation surrounding your body and silently cascading down your skin. Time will stop every time you hear them; and time will shatter when the words come no more. These three basic words have the power to heal, the power to embolden and even the power to destroy. There is no other feeling like it in the world.
And so I fell. Not a mere stumble but a direct and boundless dive into what I thought would be the most magnificent moment of my life. It was as if I were dancing and paid no attention to anyone else in the room. It was as if I were watching the sunrise and embraced the rays of light as they showered upon my face. I walked as if every destination was going to be next greatest encounter with the unexpected. My own smile radiated in a way that was harmfully contagious. When I woke up he was the first thing I thought of; when I went to bed I couldn't fall asleep dare I live a moment without him.
I don't remember him that well. But I remember the pain. I lied in bed for almost three days. The tears somehow felt soothing. I would find myself slamming the radio off for every song somehow brought me back to him. I disappeared from my friends. I watched three straight seasons of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. It was not that he completed me; it was that life knew no reason outside of him. I’d often have to pull the car over for I was fighting a losing battle between driving and crying. I was an abysmal, pathetic mess, utterly lost in this most unusual predicament called love.
He taught me how to slow-dance. He took me out to dinner. We would lie around for hours talking, staring into each other's eyes. We would walk through the park singing, holding hands. When we would gather with friends the energy would spread rampantly throughout the room. When it was just the two of us, I could feel the Earth slowing down just to give us a few extra minutes before the sun would set.
And yet today all I long for is the pain. I have to pause to think of his last name. I have no idea what he is even doing anymore. But yet that damned pain remains. After all these years the indelible agony still lingers over me reminding me of what I once had—not necessarily what I had shared with him, but what I had allowed myself to experience.
Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I still lived today so free from inhibitions. I am so far removed from loving another that when I say goodbye to someone, it’s almost as if they were never there in the first place. I live with no concern but for my own. And yet sorrow over an ordinary love affair clings to me stronger than almost any other memory in my vast repertoire of experiences.
His eyes. Oh, it was his eyes for certain. I yearn for the time when eyes alone could love me, mold me, complete me…and destroy me. I yearn for just one more time when I would allow myself that most unusual predicament called love. Just one more time.