April 1, 2014

Halves and Half knots


If there ever was a reason to fight, I found it in every speck of dust that would not sweep. I found it in the high ringing noise that you never notice until it's gone. I found it every time the portals between us shrank into itself. A rope I could not break, no matter the weight it pulled.

That was when I thought that it would not be enough to love a person to keep them. Ultimately, you can never keep the things you love. It is its own cruel nature, the entire gimmick. How it is measured in what can be lost, never had. That we aren't doing it right unless we are suffering. That our intrinsic nostalgia forces us to rely on the things we once kept or that once kept us. Every lunge I made, a dive towards your slate body, all blind jabs into curtains. There's no more I could divine from your flesh that would teach me anything more. If love was a vast and endless void, I never heard an echo return to me.

I kept instead the grey mist in front of my eyes that hid the evergreens miles away. I rolled the car windows down even though it was winter because you took me to the first rainforest I had ever been, and I wanted the wetness rising from the snow in curls to touch my face. I kept the damp smokey scent of your house; it always lingered in your hair. It always rained but nobody seemed to mind. I kept these things instead. I kept the things I knew would not change.

I never had a reason to keep a person until I had to love them. It was barely a choice. It felt as much a natural phenomenon as phantom pains and just as mysterious and bizarre. To feel something that wasn't there but you swore that was. To feel someone beside you who once was there but no longer is. It's when you swore you had known the route, you had seen the portals and passed through them, and now you can't conjure them no matter what. You can't even be sure they ever were really there, or if you had fever dreamed it in a fit.

But even phantoms and fever dreams are real. You will know it if you've ever woken in the middle of the night and felt for the warmth of the empty bed beside you. Absence makes itself familiar to you when you are already lacking. It fills itself with itself, an ever-present beast, a thriving hyperbole. I've felt it was a much more manageable guest than most other presences. I had a lot there. It withheld nothing from me that I hadn't withheld from myself, a reinforcement for the rules. The rules were simple. The void required sacrifices. Whether it was your phantom void of love, or your self-accruing absence. Dump your burdens, leave everything you can live without and live with what is left.