But there were those moments when I heard a song, when someone mentioned a word, when I caught a smell, and my fingers dug into the steering wheel or the glass I was holding or into my palm. And no matter how much I hated him. No matter how much of a fool, or a coward, or an ass, or a child, or an idiot he was.
I loved him.
And, God, it might be the death of me.
I don’t know how to live my life anymore, between loss, abuse and opportunity I am a kite lost in the wind. I am at the end of my rope, but the height of my opportunity. And here I am, taut. Stretched to my limit. Terrified I might snap. So ready to be home, to be safe and then.
I didn’t think I’d feel again.
Not after everything.
Especially not after him.
Am I feeling again?
Or am I taking hold of you just to survive?
Are you a certainty? Or another wave in vastness of experience and opportunity?
I didn’t think anything could make me want to stay here. And yet.
Why do you make my world stop in its tracks?
And am I a fool for even being caught in your gaze?
There were a thousand walls between us because there were none. I could slip past his defenses, so he threw them all up. I could see right through him, so he’d lie. Say I was wrong. Pass off. Condescend. Belittle.
And even I would fall for his facades. Like Middle Eastern warfare tactics. Illusion, evasion. Maybe they learned it from mirage.
The truth was, I needed to let it go. If he put up defenses so desperately, then there really must be something to protect. No matter how much I might think I was helping, I wasn’t.
If you love me, let me go.
She sat up abruptly, swinging her legs to the floor. Her toes curled against the smooth hardwood and her fingers dug into the mattress.
He could never hear her pain or feel it. He had never wanted to share it, to ease it, to listen to her voice carry it, so she buried it. Often times she wondered if anyone would share it, if anyone had the gall to listen. Or maybe it was the guts to listen. She had no dark past, no dark side and no dark secrets, yet everyone wanted to shrink away from her. Sometimes she would entertain the idea of getting a drink with a stranger and telling him all sorts of things about herself, staying till the bar closed and then going their separate ways, never to see or speak to each other again. Of course the trouble with such a fantasy was finding someone who was content to merely talk.
She shivered, wrapping her arms about herself. The air in the room was frigid after the warmth of her bed. Just a few steps to the closet and her bathrobe.
Her mind came back to him again. The sting of regret. And before she could shut it off the snapshots played. An exchange of glances, laughter, a touch on the arm, emails unreplied, passing without speaking, parting without goodbyes. A whole story remembered in a moment and forgotten in the next. No one would ever know what it meant to her. The trouble was not hating the world for it. She told herself she’d be lucky if anyone ever listened, understood and cared. Those three were hard to find.
Maybe the world was just cold.
At that point I just wondered what his end game was. Protecting her? Admirable, but she’d never appreciate the condescension. Although perhaps on that note, it was her pride that was at fault. What I suspected though, was that it was born out of self-hatred. He did not believe that God loved him, in mercy or in grace. No. It was his moral virtue against the world. Nothing more. And nothing less. Maybe denying himself his heart’s desire was his way of punishing himself. Maybe that was his deal with God. Maybe if he gave up his quest for love God might forgive him of his past mistakes. Perhaps if he gave up what he wanted most, then God would call it even.
So he’d give up his dream of love and admire it from afar. From the corner table in a bar or behind a pen and paper. He’d drown himself in loneliness and punish himself for that too. He’d punish himself for still longing, even though he’d given up hope. He’d punish himself for laughing, for pulling her into his arms. It was only just a moment, no he’d hadn’t even asked her out. But it was just too much, too much good for him. He couldn’t afford to enjoy himself. He couldn’t taint something pure.
So he found his way through life in a series of empty bottles and cigarette butts. In as many friends and late night hours as he could fret away. It was the nights he hated most, that’s why he always went out. It was the nights he hated most, because then he’d think of her and everyone else he’d lost. It was the nights he hated most, because it was then he felt most alone.
And that is why he felt like the whole world was caving in.