“We mistake sex for romance. Guys are taught that pushing a girl up against a wall is romance. Sex is easy; you can do it with anyone, yourself, with batteries. Romance is when someone you like walks into a room and they take your breath away. Romance is when two people are dancing and they fit together perfectly. Romance is when two people are walking next to each other and all of a sudden they find themselves holding hands, and they don’t know how that happened.”
― John C. Moffi
There are different kinds of happiness, different breeds of comfort. I have always understood that. But while most are thin and pale, nearly unsatisfying, some rare types pull light from the sky. They bite the sun like a warm fruit. You and I, we could one day be the latter, we have a chance at that, to blaze and remake everything we’ve ever wanted better or unbroken.
Why build a narrative while we’re still moonlight? Because underneath, fire, the reflected light of what we both know we could eventually build. We could be something I had forgotten, though I’ve seen it in others, an alloy neither of us have found before but both instinctively understand is stronger than anything we’ve ever known.
I think of you often, conjuring you accidentally in small gestures, like the desire to send you links I know you would appreciate, and sometimes I dream of you, too. Pretty dreams of small things. We explore a burned out house together. There’s a mirror at the top of the stairs and you touch your finger to where my nose is reflected. Our eyes meet in amusement during a conversation with someone else. You toss your hair. We ride to cities neither one of us have been to. I mock complain about my leather pants and you tease me about my ass. I find the letter you wrote for me and hid in the Portland hotel.
I wake feeling like you miss me and wonder if you’ll call before I’m conscious enough to know you won’t.
The word root of passion is suffering. I wish it were a lesson we have not learned so well.
Occasionally I am furious at the people who hurt you. Occasionally I am furious at myself for not being able to be as shockingly transparent to you as you can be to me.
Mostly I just miss you.
Your smile, your sweet unbearable smile, and that two tequila promise we didn’t cash in. The way you tilted your head when you wanted to be seen, when you wanted to be called on your adorable mischief, secretly desperate to be caught. The way you shied away from seriousness, even as you threw yourself towards my kiss, even as you knew that you were making a small pledge every time you met my lips, I can be trusted, to match mine, this will be good. Smoke, mirrors, and then you at the center, ethics and anarchy and complicated in all the ways I love best, waiting, wanting me to find you, hoping and dear. You were such a surprise! Such a pure and wonderful surprise.
“”I will love you forever”; swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. “I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday” – Is that still as easy?”
– W.H. Auden
The beach was chilly, the stars unexpectedly sharp, the water quiet. We walked through the sand, the wind and night, sweeping it all in with a certain hesitant delight, and I was the witch Cassandra prophecying fear. We agreed that we would need patience with the same. That the hardest part would be holding onto that glimmering future flame, trusting that our fears would pass and we would be better for it. That we could do more than survive, but thrive as well, as long as we held fast and remembered that we would be okay.
Yet the simpler path was to fold. So you took it, the timing the worst it could be, because isn’t that how it always is? I can’t blame you. I believe my life prepared me for this and for you while yours did not prepare you for me. I know what your fear must be like. Feeling vulnerable sets off my fight or fight response. My terror is gigantic, a shaft cut through my heart that reaches to the center of the earth. All I can do is shake, hating it and myself for having it. You’ve seen it, the hyper-vigilance, my pupils pinpricks, how overwhelming and physical it is. (You are, in fact, the only one who has.) But not only can I weather such things, I understand that the only cure is more of the same – in vivo exposure therapy, trauma erased through positive reinforcement with care on either side. Hardship forces growth, but support fosters the blossom.
As I soaked in the the coruscating landscape of San Francisco from the top of Grizzly Ridge during one of the last days of twenty:thirteen, someone set off illegal fireworks from the side of the hill near where I sat with my friend. I thought of you and the ones you were planning and I flooded with appreciation for absolutely everything. The warmth within me was new and I knew it was yours, a gift you had incidently given me. The crackling, criminal explosions became my strength, both a reality and a metaphor, a person and a place, and I held onto your memory then and I laid it over top of my pain. I catalogued my flaws, I examined yours. Even with that dreadful math, for the first time in a very long time, the good outweighed the bad. And I knew, somehow, no matter how terrified we might become, no matter how many times we would plunge into fear and have to wait, have to heal from what came before, we would eventually be fine.
Even now, months since you ran, pulling behind you a cloak of everything you never wanted to be plus some, I still believe that to be true. You hurt me. Spectacularly. I can’t deny that. But that’s short term. Days are long, but years are short.
I remember the glimmer, I still acknowledge the flame.
So you. Writer, anarchist, lover of art, programmer to the people, equal, dreamer, every-man, king. You are still welcome in the shelter of my heart. And I want you to know you can always come back.
The door is always open, I will always be your friend.