February 7, 2012

wayward voids

The night you met the love of your life (or so you thought) you went home with me. Or did I go home with you? Even though the party was at the home of a friend of yours, I accepted the invitation with trepidation and privilege in equal measure.

I knew she had your heart the moment you saw her. To be fair, a Belgian singer with cascading waves of auburn hair and fair skin in a cream-colored satin gown would grab any man's adoring gaze, but I knew she set your heart ablaze. You made no argument about that. I'm not stupid-- I wasn't about to walk through that fire. That may in fact have been the moment I seized an escape from our circuitous courtship that inevitably would dissipate the same way smoke does, slowly and silently curling into the ether.

Two years later, you would tell me you proposed to her that same night. You told her she was the most beautiful woman you've seen and she must marry you. Of course she said no, you weirdo. And of course she remembered you, you weirdo.
Your best decoy was always a generous heap of romance and flattery. That it tends to lean on the earnest side does nothing to save you, only further implicate your cause. You're a romantic demagogue and you had met your faction.

Two years after that night, you told me she left you for a Brazilian guitar player and had broken that earnest heart of yours. I wasn't surprised. A woman who entertains a marriage proposal as an introduction would totally run away with a Brazilian guitar player. And still. You didn't wish her ill and you didn't hate her at all.

"You were very much in love with her," I reiterated.
"Yes, I was completely in love with her."

I asked you if you still kept in touch and you said of course. You had lost her but to forsake her would create an even more painful and gaping void. The loss of someone you love and who understands and accepts you in ways most others don't, would damage the more integral parts of yourself. Your new self, after knowing and loving this person.

"It's like chopping off a limb," you explained.

We never acknowledged our void. Somehow we managed to fill it with a fond distance and other less complex lovers. I doubt it existed at all probably. I marvel at our comprehension of how this kind of love works. Neither self-possessed, nor yearning, and seemingly needing no cultivation. It exists beside us, not within us. In small gestures, in forgiveness, and the knowledge that we are just as potent as our last encounter, and just as dangerous. We never belonged to each other and we may never, not completely anyway. No risk, no void.

My last faction tried explaining the void to me. I didn't understand it then, perhaps because my practiced separation evened the battle grounds. Or perhaps just because we had never understood or accepted each other the way we should have. Whether my absence created the trenches that he had wagered they would, I haven't heard about them since. The landscape dipped, but I was at least sure-footed enough while heading out the door. He never chased after me. Not once.

"I will always chase after you," you told me. And then you did.

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