Sometimes when I embrace those I love, I find myself wishing that I could dissolve into them. That way, my “I love you” would pulse through their veins and they’d feel it’s course through their bodies. There’d be no denying it then.
I am in love with you.
I am not in love with you.
I pick petals off flowers I wish I had during the winter months when the days are so short but the hours feel so long.
What am I talking about?
I guess I’m thinking about your blue eyes underneath those dark lashes and your devil-may-care attitude about everything until you start to tell stories. That’s when those hooded eyes light up with something that may be longing or may be something else entirely. I haven’t learned to read you yet. I didn’t have enough time.
Something tells me that petals aren’t an adequate gauge for love. Maybe that’s why I wouldn’t want you to bring me flowers. They’d sit in a vase on the table and we’d sit across from each other. I like to think about that sometimes: how we’d sit on a couch or at a table, if you’d take the seat across from me or the seat beside. And I don’t really know why it matters. I don’t have a preference. I just like to think about things but I worry too many thoughts alienate me from appreciating reality as it comes.
On my bedroom ceiling, there are glow-in-the-dark stars. I tried to capture Leo and Virgo and Scorpio. Let’s just call this an abstract attempt. A little while ago, I was looking at the stars with the lights on so everything was clear. There were all these lines and edges and cracks in the ceiling. Then I started thinking about the ceilings in other places and how many of them had glow-in-the-dark stars haphazardly glued. My thoughts roamed to Syria and Gaza and Israel, places I’ve never been but always wanted to go. And I wondered how many kids looked up at little bits and pieces of the universe. I wondered what they thought about, dreamt about, dreamt for, dreamt with. I pictured closed eyes and deeper breaths signalling slumber. I tried to hear the sound(s) that bombs would make as they tore through those ceilings and made the universe tumble into rubble. I hear about loose limbs and red and dust and billowing smoke. I see ash and destruction and strewn glass and buildings with no ceilings. And I think about the stars, the real ones, the ones millions of miles away that witness the disintegration of dreams and hopes and thoughts and loves and lives and I’m just…
I believe in a great and powerful love, the sort of love that unbuckles knees and drops jaws, the sort of love that raises one’s foot when one is embraced. I have an explanation for this occurrence: that particular instant in time when one’s arms around another’s, there is a featherweight type of feeling that defies the laws of gravity. For that one instant, the laws of nature do not hold feet steadfast to the ground. No, in that instant, we think we can fly or, at the very least, levitate. I believe in that levitating kind of love and I will wait for it. I will wait for it just like I will wait in that space that Bukowski writes about in that one poem. You wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. Or maybe you do. If so, that’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it? The fact that our eyes have skimmed through the same words and our souls were moved. Not the same rhythm because I don’t believe in an exact sort of sameness. I believe that we’re just moved by beauty but the beauty’s different and relative. I believe love is two people moved in almost-parallel-but-not-quite synchronicity.
I think about you all the time. That seems like such a simple thing to say. Times like these, I wish I knew another language, like French or Spanish or Arabic. If I did, I could profess my affection for you in a variety of ways and I’d never feel as though I was saying the same thing even though I was. I miss you in ways I haven’t missed anyone. I miss you in ways I don’t want to admit missing anyone else. Tu me manques, blue eyes. You’ve been burned into my brain, etched into my veins. That picture of you just sitting there on that stool with those eyes shielded by too-dark sunglasses. Your lip curled in the slightest of smiles. A slash between a smile and a grimace, as if simply being near me was as painful for you as it was for me. But that delicious pain, you know, the kind of pain that I don’t mind because it makes me feel all too human. Weak – no, not weak – submissive, perhaps? I’m all too willing to submit to you.
Anyway, Argentina is playing tomorrow and that’s where you’re from. I know you like soccer so I know you’ll be watching. I’ll be watching too with Argentina plastered on my chest, like a tattoo of who I belong to, not which team I’m rooting for.
Blue eyes, I haven’t enjoyed looking at anyone as much as I enjoyed looking at you.
I was watching this movie and one of the characters was talking about how he named his dog after his uncle. And I thought about you and your godfather and how you used to play golf. I thought about how your clubs must be gathering dust in your closet or your basement or maybe the trunk of your car. That picture is pretty sad. I like to think that you’ve taken them out of their resting place and that instead of practising swings in your mind, your fingers are actually around smooth metal. Then I think about how I’d like your fingers moulded around the curves of my waist and how I’d like to feel the gentle weight of your palm against the small of my back as you lead me into your bedroom. Or maybe you’re just leading me inside your apartment or through the doors of a restaurant. If it was the latter, then I’d get to look at you across a table. Maybe there’d be a candle or two or three. Or maybe there wouldn’t be anything but plates and utensils. Then the restaurant is transformed into the couch in your living room and my back is against the cushion, pressed harder with your weight on top of mine. My hand rises and my fingers trace your jaw and your bottom lip while the tips of your own fingers leave a trail like fire when you lift my shirt. I close my eyes when your lips finally make their way down to the nape of my neck. When they open, I’m here writing this and the movie’s on pause.
This is what my broken heart looks like:
A closed door. When I walk in, he is sleeping on the couch upstairs. She is refusing to speak. Both of them are refusing to listen. I am waiting for a taxi. I wake her up. She tells me not to go, that she’ll book me a flight if that’s where I really want to be. I don’t know how to tell her that she is where I want to be but I don’t know how to be where she is. We don’t know how to co-exist. I am on a plane. She is gone. Miles upon miles away. 10, 261 miles, to be precise. She is with them. I am here. I write the kind of poetry that 12 year olds write, that oh-my-God-nobody-loves-me sort. But “I love you” has been said so often. It bounces off the furniture and the walls but it never quite feels true. Except when he says it right before he falls asleep. Sometimes I feel like I’m still waiting for that phone call without knowing that I’m waiting. Since I don’t know, I turn from one pretty face to the next pretty face to the next…
The other day, a friend asked if I still thought about you. I brushed off my previous declarations of affection, declared that I had found closure in the form of a letter. Maybe, in that moment, that was true. But my mind has a special montage, a collection of snapshots that send my heart reeling. Like when you were walking down that street with the kind of stride that made me think you could own the world if you really wanted to. Or when I turned away from a conversation I was having to find you sitting at a stool at the end of the bar looking at me. Man, you looked at me like I was your favourite photograph, like I was a really pretty sunset or a flash of Aurora or Eddie Vedder up on stage. I remember making this promise to myself that I would stop looking at you. It wasn’t normal to appreciate the sight of someone so much. But I couldn’t. I honestly couldn’t look away for more than a few seconds before I found my eyes drawn to you. I like to play this off by attributing it to physical details, like the way your eyes were a dark shade of blue or the way black cotton stretched across your shoulders or that sexier-than-sin piercing on your bottom lip. My curse is that you were interesting. Too often, people look pretty without offering much in the way of conversation. But you, you had stories and fears and loves and interests and passion and I wanted to know everything. I still do.
You asked me once why everything had to be so do-or-die, why all my questions had to be so hit-or-miss about the universe and our places in it. I guess the answer is time and the way I cradle my fear of hell a little to the left of my heart and on my left wrist. I don’t expect you to understand but I’m sure you would if I bothered to explain. But sometimes words aren’t enough. They’re sand between my fingers, the salt of the ocean when I forget to close my mouth before diving in. I swallow down my misunderstood convictions and my misplaced promises and I’m left with… Well, I’m left with this, aren’t I? I wish there was a book for this. I’d flip it open, flick through a whole bunch of pages until I got to the passage that would let you deep inside. I could point to it, let you scroll through the lines with your eyes, and I wouldn’t even have to say, “See? Do you get it now?”
I used to think that I had all the answers. Okay, not all but most. I thought I knew how I was going to live my life: straight and narrow, albeit for a few digressions. I knew my digressions. Or I thought I knew the ways I was likely to digress. I counted on knowing the ways in which I could falter and fall. Then something happened. I was in the window seat of a plane that was more than 30,000 feet above ground and it seemed like I had left all of my reasons on the runway. I remember writing in my journal and feeling this intense fear that everything was about to change. All of the things that seemed to define who I was had started to feel like chains. Most of my convictions became questions. And I remember knowing that who I was about to become was very different than who I thought.