Monday, June 22, 2009

Tell My Love to Wreck it All (or: Plans that weren't cancelled)

I sat with anticipation. actually, dread. the strange mixture of anxiety, terror, and disappointment. disappointment is something like low-level food poisoning, if terror is outright death. you feel sick, your stomach cramps, you don't want to be around anyone... nothing, it seems, can serve as a balm to ease the dis-ease: no understanding can quite penetrate into the cavity you seem to occupy. so you don't look for any understanding. and you don't try to generate any, either. it will be smoke, maybe heat even, but not light. nothing to illuminate things. nothing to give guidance, to allow what is happening to seem terminal. in disappointment, you are in a cavity, with all the density of rotting essential energy, not a train tunnel: there is no light to come.

perhaps it is best, in such circumstances, to simply occupy the dark and not attempt to weave a narrative that will lower an escape ladder.

the Writer got in touch after so many weeks of silence. he said something damning: "why am I such a disappointment?" and i realized, while wanting so terribly to throw in his face the consequences of his decision, for choosing this boy over me, i couldn't. he's not a disappointment so much as one gets sucked into a vortex of desire, and one doesn't realize at first that two competing claims are being made until it's too late... the Writer made claims that couldn't be satisfied by the person he made them to, or the other way around. and probably both.

if i were base and allowed myself the fleeting pleasure of vengeance i would laugh at the Writer. but i can't. love, i think, is something on the order of a Greek tragedy: Oedipus is told his destiny and he works so very hard to avoid the nightmare that has been foreseen, but every move he makes to prevent his fate just leads him closer to it. In fleeing he runs head-first into it. love is the same way. you don't know you will find yourself in a cavity of disappointment until you are there. and only when you are there can you see how you got there. I was too eager, you think, I was too hopeful, too blind, too desperate. If you are in that dark void, everything is too much. And there is no point in quantifying how much is too much: I simply love you, and want to be consumed in a brilliant burst of flame that would make everything over, new again. You think this in the dark of your thoughts, over a drink and a cigarette, listening to Radiohead or The Smiths.

I begin to realize why the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers spent so much time tied up in metaphysics. it's as if every human life were a firework sent off into a night sky, and though they may stream across one another, or even explode into their full brilliance side by side, every searing appearance is ultimately solitary. Cosmos means first, "order": this is the order of things.
---

After we made love, and really, though so thoroughly cliche, that's what it was, he said he liked my body. Tonight, after leaving him on the corner of x and y street, I raced myself home, up the lake, cursing my inability to keep two pennies between my fingers for more than a hot second. I stood in front of the mirror without my shirt on and imagined his eyes seeing me. It took me 15 minutes to get home. I wanted to buy him ice cream.

I liked my body. Sweating, still coiled from the punishment of the ride, I looked firm, sturdy, attractive.

He keeps a book of thoughts, he called it. A gedankenbuch. I discover more of myself in him, and as I do, I discover I like him more. I begin to admire him, respect him. He asks the right questions--the same questions I ask still. And he jokes as he does, laughing at himself, at the need to pose such questions, at the tentative answers he proffers. And he is hard on himself. He is unsatisfied, the way all ambitious people must be. He wants to conquer himself, but with laughter and kindness--understanding, perhaps.

He sings to me in Swahili. Twice now. The first time was in his room, both of us perched on his bed like it were the least inviting furnishing designed by man, unsure whether or not lowering ourselves onto it would invite disaster or if the danger we could feel tickling our nostrils was the sort of charge the air suddenly is laden with when awfully beautiful events crack through the commonplace--through reservations and embarrassment. He sang, poised on the edge of his bed, looking forward--I couldn't see his face, if it was blushing or confident--but I realized that I never would have been so courageous. It was one of the first of many moments when the pang of what can be described as love made my ears ache and burn.

I debated letting him read this. I decided against it. If I didn't have the sanctity of this place, this ritualized purging, then I would spew everything out, and I would unravel. Here, however, I remain tight, compact, distilled to my essence, and I don't need recognition: I simply need to have myself con-tained in this space, to keep my borders sharp and nonporous.

Before I wrote, before this narcissistic self-enclosure, I would store myself in my ex. The less and less I could see myself, the more and more hostile I became: cheating, screaming, my cruel nonchalance--all revenge for not keeping me tightly bound, preserved for the ages.
I am simply terrified of suffering that loss of control again.
---

I am simply terrified of suffering that loss of control again.
Last night, when he said he would be later than he thought, I heard only preparations to cancel our plans. I sank into disappointment, started to quantify my foolishness, document my mistakes...

I am simply terrified of suffering that loss of control again. But I had already. And when he arrived late, and held my hand as we walked to back to the table at Kit Kat to rejoin my friends after dropping his bike off, I was beaming. He is the first boy to hold my hand in public. I am, for all my posturing, still scared of that.

He can't yet know that I am falling for him. So quickly, with such intensity, with such hopes-- I am already, blissfully and uncontrollably, fantasizing about bringing him home in the Winter: he will talk music and beat culture with my dad, and my mother will be happily impressed with his manners and shy demenor . And care--for I think it impossible not to care.

I promised him: I just want you to be happy. I was padding my desire, offering him an out--...even if it isn't me--but I want to be the one who makes him happy: I want him to choose me.

He is, I think, the love-child of Rimbaud, Tom Waits, and Nietzsche.

He has me reading Murakami. I seized the book, the opportunity to have something of his he values, to compel him to keep in touch for at least as long as it takes to read the novel he loaned me. It is a long novel.

I am not a disappointment--I am just simply terrified of disappointing: to be an equal in love: that is a hero's challenge.

I am reminded of two aphorisms by Nietzsche:
"Without Vanity: When we are in love we wish that our defects might remain concealed--not from vanity but to keep the beloved from suffering. Indeed, the lover would like to seem divine--and this, too, not from vanity."
--and--
"What Makes One Heroic?: Going out to meet at the same time one's highest suffering and one's highest hope."

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