The written anguish of two unknown lovers,
separated by distance, connected by longing
That gush that runs down your face and out the tear ducts in your eyes and from the nose you broke in fisticuffs. The bile that rises at the thought of infidelity and the jealous rage that runs green through your veins at every turn. The thick black soot at the bottom of your lungs – after a long drag, after a long night.
I’m coughing, so hard tears run down my face. I wipe my eyes. My car is pulled off to the side of the road, lodged into a median. The engine is smoking like a bingo hall at noon time. I cough and cut myself out of my seat belt with a pocket knife, crawling out the passenger side door. No one stops, though I stare at the smoldering black heap.
Those who weep alone from lack of love are the ones whose lives may be damned from the start. After all, love is a devotion, offered and accepted by both parties. It isn’t a gift or a token, studding a finger dangling from a forlorn wrist. It’s an affliction. It drains the body and the soul of reason like a joyful disease rendering the loved and loveless equally wretched with greed, envy and lust. It offers nothing in return for your worship. You might get laid or you might get loved, and only the luckiest get both.
Early morning sunlight creeps in through the basement window and I can see the silhouette of his face as he sleeps softly next to me. I am not a soft sleeper, twisted and sweaty. He looks like Batman, the new one. “That isn’t romantic,” I say to myself. “To compare your lover to a comic book character.” What started out as a shrimp-eating contest led us here, to this moment. I wait for the seed of insecurity to germinate, the one that asks if I’ll ever see him again, or if he’ll tell all our friends terrible things about me.
We’ve been here for two days,
the sheets soiled with sweat and
dreams and a whole bunch of other
stuff I can’t really print here.
Perhaps it is the fate of all seeds to wither in the sun, at least for a little while. The toiling a young soul endures to earn its place is nothing new in the world of love. But sometimes it is a labor of lost efforts, trying to earn something through hard work, waiting patiently for the results like an idiot on a doorstep with a handful of posies. This hard work begets certain misery. It’s always darkest just before it becomes pitch black.
For a moment I am in the coughing sputtering heap again, clawing my way out on the side of a desolate highway, but gradually the light returns, and it’s only his eyes I see, partially worried, partially quizzical, hands still clasped around my neck. He returns my sideways smile. We’ve been here for two days, the sheets soiled with sweat and dreams and a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t really print here. We lay quietly now, when, using the top of my head like a microphone, he asks, “Are you worried?”
“Terrified,” I respond.
This is how it ends. My only friend, forgotten daydream of love’s steely gaze. Scratching with fearful abandon at the lonely abyss. Whimpering, whispering, piss-stained: “No.” It doesn’t have to be like this for you or me or the other cosmic souls, but it often becomes the route to mankind’s frightful ruins – love gained, love lost, love festering in a prison of meat. When was the way lost – at the beginning or at the end of a frightful journey, where all logic was jettisoned in a grand flourish of humanity?
Things had seemed so simple before the wreck – maintaining focus, driving myself, but something was lost in that smoldering heap, that desire to always be moving forward. In that moment where I stopped moving so fast and so loud, I wanted him there – to be still, to be silent. I am quietly relieved that when we resume driving, he takes the wheel, quiet permission to sit back and take in the journey.