If you are anything like me, you will have known nights like these. Thoughts keep you awake, your body is begging you to sleep, exhaustion is taking you down but your obstinate mind refuses to blink. Your brain will ignore the pleas of your body and calmly proceed to rip up and shred every incident and every conversation you have had during the day into tiny, tiny pieces and then surgically slice each piece into particles and quarks that can be obsessed over for the rest of the night.
I have been questioning whether I am forcing myself to be alone or if I am truly enjoying the feeling. Do I pretend I don’t care, or do I really not care? Am I cold and prickly, or warm and gooey in the middle? Am I the asshole I think I am, or am I simply pretending to be an asshole?
I take pride in my rationality. It has been my compass in every decision I have taken, and yet I have found a way to stop obsessing which had nothing to do with rationality. The only way to seek who you truly are is to look within yourself. Your subconscious mind will provide you with clarity.
When I forgot to be mindful of how I appear to other people when I sit alone in cafés for hours, I knew I was truly comfortable being alone. When I became oblivious to people’s stares and judgments instead of merely ignoring them, I knew I no longer cared. When I could walk away with tears in my eyes, I knew I was strong enough to be vulnerable.
I saw myself without a mirror. And then I closed my eyes and slept.
It was a brightly lit evening and we drove through town, chasing drunken taillights and liquor highs, caffeine stops and neon signs, Steven Wilson to keep the head buzzing and some Warren Zevon to mellow our moods and I asked you why this night seems to go on forever and you just smiled and put your hand in mine, and I forget what your exact words were but you told me what my heart already knew. We were following the dancing lights, or maybe the lights flickered in rhythm with our dance, mimicking our frolic, matching our frenzy, the city was alive just for us, writing poetry to our music, watching as our words mingled together, poetry and prose, music and lyrics, a glorious symphony playing out beneath artificial lights, witnessing a fusion of mangled souls mirrored perfectly unto each other.
Happiness is a stop sign with an upside down smiley. Everything else is a fucking freeway – speed, exhilaration, the thrill of the chase, by-lanes, scraping gravel and gaping, never-ending spaces.
Don’t be thinking of stop signs on the road, kindly whizz along. Unbox, put the top down, scream your lungs hoarse. Embrace the wind, watch the road bumps, turn up the goddamn stereo. Life is ordered chaos, my love. Close your eyes and death shall whisper in your ear; stop too long and therein lies your final resting place.
I don’t have the strength to speak just yet, but my mind is longing for expression. So I leave you with this passage from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. I am hidden somewhere in these lines. Maybe when I’m stronger, I’ll speak some more from somewhere within.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
I don’t adore the sea anymore. Not like I used to, anyway.
I feel betrayed, though the logical part of my brain says this feeling itself is ridiculous. Despite the upheaval of emotions, this was not betrayal, for there never was a betrothal. It was me in love with the sea. Then, until yesterday, and possibly tomorrow and always, but not today.
I dip my toes into the water, but there’s no response. I wade in a little further, feel the waves lick my knees and retract as though in apology. Frustrated, I yell at the empty, bottomless froth, “Do you not know me?” The only answer I get is silence.
I talk my heart out, confessing my feelings in a whisper. “I admit, ours was an unlikely union – ever since I was a one year old running into your embrace and you threatened to swallow me whole. Yes, I’ve contemplated the depths of your soul as though looking into the eyes of a lover. I’ve been poised at the brink of your being, wanting to forever surrender to your torrential love making. So why do you hesitate now?
I feel betrayed, though you did nothing wrong. I sensed a connection that never existed. You knew we wouldn’t be happy. And I still played the fool.”
Silently swallowing a bitter pill of hard truth, I turn my back on the ocean I’ve come to love. I’ll be back tomorrow as a different me, but for today, I’ll lick my secret wounds and mourn the loss of something unknown.
He speaks with fantastic conviction, spilling half-truths and twisted facts with every word. He’s mastered the art; he keeps a straight face and looks directly into your eyes. His hands do not tremble when he looks away, and his lips do not press together to hide his guilt.
You’ve known for weeks now. He comes home sweaty and tired after work and immediately hops into the shower. Once you thought you saw a bite mark on his neck; another time you leaned in to kiss him and detected the unmistakable scent of another woman on his mouth. You recoiled from him then. You began to watch him closely for signs of a nervous collapse, but he seemed to have it together.
He makes no mistakes; no phone calls, messages, no photos. All data erased from memory. But you know it, you have felt it. There were no signs, but you have noticed the occasional hushed phone call to a ‘colleague’, meeting ‘college friends’ on Sunday afternoons. He never once slipped, but you saw and understood the ache in his bones after fucking her, or the smell of her pussy on his lips. He sleeps soundly at night, snoring loudly the moment he hits the bed. And you lie awake in the dark, wondering what your life has come to.
So why haven’t you confronted him yet? Perhaps you aren’t really sure and there’s a possibility that he isn’t cheating? Or perhaps you are scared to find out that he is; it opens doors to darker and disturbing questions – Who did he fuck? Did he love her? Are you not good enough for him? You close your eyes and push the thoughts out of your head, too painful to deal with at the moment. You find yourself still hoping for all this to go away, like a bad dream that never happened.
He wakes you up one day with kisses and caresses. He wishes you good morning, plays with your hair, smiling the way he used to. You smile back at him sleepily, and suddenly you’ve gone two years back in time; when you were young and stupid and madly in love. His lips graze your earlobe and whisper words of love. And just like that, you fall for his lies yet again.
I tell him he is like a sponge, absorbing me into his very core. He breathes in my thoughts, impulses, tears, reflections, intuitions, desires. I paint weird graffiti on the walls of his mind, and he tells me I fascinate him. He wants to be closer to me. He wants to possess my mind. But I do not know what I am more fearful of relinquishing – my sanity or my insanity?
We talk of love and emotions, and the moon, the stars, the wind. He believes me when I tell him I love him, because I believe it too. Every moment is our moment, isolated from the rest of the world. But then the moment passes, and suddenly I am nothing and I am everywhere.
He tries to paint the insides of my mind, but it keeps wandering and slips from his grasp. And then I hate myself with a fierceness which he can only match with his anger.
Perhaps love does exist only within our minds, and what we should be saying is, “I want to love you. So much…”