Each time I have come to the end of a relationship, or even like I do now, where I can see the end ahead like a depressing oasis impervious to this raging sandstorm made for two, and feel every inch of woven life starting to stretch and snap, groaning for everything to just splinter politely and let it all go, each time, I see the beginning of the relationship. I have those moments, but what truly comes back to me, in ways that are both welcome and frightening, are moments from other relationships and other would-be, near miss relationships. I don't necessarily feel a pining for those moments, but as things fall apart around you, you will reach out, grasping for something real, and who knows what you will find.
I've often said that love is love, no matter what happens afterwards. If you truly loved someone, then that feeling will achieve a timeless quality. It will always be love, even if you hate the person, can't stand the person, you don't have the ability to change those feelings. They will always remain love. Even if you hate that fact that you cannot transform them into hate into something vile, into something that can reproduce the disgusting pit from hell that you feel that person comes from and should be banished back to, you can't. There will always be memories that will bring warmth, even if you feel that they shouldn't and hate yourself for not being able to master them. You will always be scarred with a softness if you have ever loved. It will remain no matter how much you try to burn it and tear it.
As the possibility of this discursive shell around me that has encased me for close to three years disappearing, I see in flashes the terrifying freedom of not being in a relationship. The possibilities do not appear as grand, lush and inviting valleys. They do not yet appear as stargazing, moongazing, basking in the warmth of the heavens, but still cowering in fear of the approaching, formless dark. I am standing at the edge of chasm, and the beginnings that return to me are all of previous moments when I stood at that same chasm of possibility. When I stood in-between relationships or possibly on the verge of a relationship, scared, stuck, desperate to move, afraid to fall, afraid to not be caught, afraid the fact that nothing may be waiting for me.
What I find that preoccupies my mind, the moments that are forcing their way into my consciousness, are not moments from my actual relationships, but rather moments from relationships that could have been. I find my mind drawn constantly to missed opportunities, crushes, misunderstandings, cute tragic or horrifyingly embarrassing moments. There is a weird rawness to this, this nostalgia of that which was only dreams, mistakes, something that lived for as long as your breath takes form in the cold air.
The real upside to these feelings is that I've been writing plenty of poetry this past week. I usually write just a handful of poems each year. One long one and several small ones. In the past few weeks I've already written a dozen or so poems in both English and Chamorro. Some of them more depressing, some of the more fun. Some of them, like the one I'm sharing below achieve a sort of harmony between embarrassing, yet still fun to write because of the way the emotions bring out nerd hyperbole. The moment being illustrated in the poem is real or was real. It was something from graduate school, an unfortunate crush.
Thoughts of you would turn time into a chain gang.
Every moment forced uncomfortably onto the next
I would yell and scream for life to be life, to float and slip through my fingers the way it always does
But thoughts of you would turn my life into an slow awkward tangle of criminals, stuck, incapable of going anywhere, pleading to be released by you
You were on my mind so much I decided that I needed to just quit my job and start my own company where fantasizing about you would be my full time job.
I became the CEO of Wondering What You Are Doing Right Now Industries.
And the Vice President of Imagining Chance Cute Accidental Meetings with You
And the Regional Sales Manager for Convincing Myself that Even if You Can’t Read My Mind You Must be Able to Sense Something About What I’m Feeling
I even moonlighted as the Chief Marketing Rep for Developing Suave and Sexy Things that I would Never Have the Guts to Say to You
After a long day of massaging from my brain matter every faint memory I could of you, I would put in sleepless overtime.
With eyes clenched shut my face would fill with fire
A heat that made me toss and turn, my body seeking to create some way of finding comfort in a bed without you beside me.
In my mind, I was clutching, dangling from a rope ablaze with memories of you.
So many of them were wishful fictions, where I had slipped you smiling amongst the flames.
These memories would rage and burst embers and spit pieces of my own pathetic flesh from my stubborn fingers back onto my face, mocking me and compelling me to let go of something so transparently fake, something so dangerously not real.
One day, my skin red and raw from every pulsing thought of you that was never given form, I knew I could not stand it anymore.
I dared to speak, through stuttering teeth and tongue with knots that would baffle a ship of sailors helmed by Alexander the Great,
I told you of this crushing feeling for you.
As the words hit the air, they stained and cracked the world around me. I saw your face reflected a thousand times, each of them blushing, turning and burning my hopes.
I knew there was no way you would say yes or even humor me.
In all those sleepless nights and dreamfilled days I had written this moment tens of thousands of times.
I had written it the way one so insane in love, writes furiously as if trying to capture every moment every corner of the universe so there is nowhere you can hide, nothing you can be except mine.
I thought of Beethoven composing, groping around his notes, grabbing, tracing blind fingers around the form of his life, despair dripping through the absence of his beloved.
I thought of Dante whose pen twisted and wormed its way through the innards of the universe, crawling through the freezing flames of heaven and hell searching for a love that would never hear his voice.
They would become immortal as they stared across the same loveless canyon as I.
I knew instead that I would feel immortally stupid
As you crushed my crush, sheets lined with sour notes lay over every inch of my body.
With each word, my fingers moved, as the words I knew you would say, the looks I knew you would give me, were like chords that my fingers were playing on the piano.
I pretended to be the master of this pain, to have foretold it and written it, to have some control over it, but even after you walked away, my fingers ghostly tapping the air, providing a soundtrack to the depths of my dread, I knew there was nothing.
It hurt even more to now know that this was nothingness was nothing new.
No revelation of truth had taken place.
It had always been nothing.
Despite the firestorm of feelings, the deep tones in which you were painted in my mind, you were never waiting for me across the canyon of this crush.