I loved him because he was smart. He knew about things I’d never heard of and he cared about human justice more than anything. It felt like loving him could change the world or maybe we could change it together if I cared for him enough. But only at 19 do you construct your own mirage and fall for it.
I thought he was the most tender messed up person I’d ever known, even though I doubted often if I knew him at all. He wanted to be a mystery and you can’t hold hands with a void. I realize now that it was all my masochistic aching that seemed to me like love. It was a depth made by absence, always out of reach and I was the willing fool longing to eat dinner at a table with unstable legs. In reality, neither one of us respected the other much.
It is funny that I still dream of him from time to time, and how he’s still the same in my sleep. I wonder who he is in real life now. I’ll bet he’s just as smart and just as restless. He taught me that friendship should never be complicated and useless pain should never be endured. He taught me that art is a life path for those of us born and burned into it. Those years were full of puzzle pieces that wouldn’t fit together. Force is futile and love doesn’t answer to it.
Now I have a house with a yard and a habit of overspending the money I’ve earned. It’s better not to kid yourself. I learned to listen to my body. Now I pay attention when the faults in my rib cage tremor and the ground shifts within me. Everything that we see as solid is made of millions of moving particles, vibrating forever and ever. So I know now that they’re not lying when they say change is the only enduring constant. Movement is always there, even in stillness. Perhaps the best response is fluidity. The best offering to relationship is my flexibility, compassion, commitment to acceptance, an open heart, extended grace, an unrelenting fondness for possibility even as it presents as the unknown.
If evolution is ensured, progress is not. I wonder how to free a memory? Each year, I construct another mirage that appears more real than the last. The focus may shift, but are we not continuously painting pictures of our perceptions? Can the personified narrator of your life ever be trusted? It’s better not to kid yourself.