Love to a Novel.
December 7, 2011
We had a lot of sex. It was a relationship that was practically built on sex: the raw, unhinged, exposed rough ‘n tumble of bare skin, crumpled sheets, unabashed secrets (“I’ve never told anyone this before…”) and premature, unhatched I Love You’s. We’d think about each other constantly during the day and spend our many nights together. I would tell people about our infallible infatuation, braying on and on about how there was no doubt we were meant to be together. There was no one else out there for me.
“Yes,” I’d say, “I have found my one true love.”
Those more experienced encouraged our relationship with sincerity. My friends and family were in full support (Mom more so than Dad, of course). Everything was clicking, falling into place and, damn, was I happy.
Like in any relationship, after a few months we began to drift apart. I tried my best to spice things up, attempting new, exciting things and playing out fantasies where we would trade off taking on the dominant role. There were times I was taken advantage of in unexpected ways, but I was always ready to return the favor. Sometimes a little too aggressively. Whatever love we had initially established was became nothing more than an immature desire not to end up alone and never share one another with anyone else. Invincible satisfaction was the cup we drank from. Jealousy, our poison
We’d go to bed looking at (not in) each other’s eyes, questioning each other. And soon answers would come from the most unlikely places. My wandering eye would hone in on a new prospect, and I would pounce and attack. I slept around with no consideration for who I was hurting or why I was letting it happen. I was selfish and became my own protagonist and antagonist. I couldn’t find the connection I was looking for, despite encountering the promising fling here and there. And my cell phone rang and rang and rang until it hit voicemail, but a message was never left and I wasn’t ready to call back.
What would I say? Sorry? Would I really take the high road and apologize for something I had no control over? And I knew would stay true to that statement: I had no control. It wasn’t me. I don’t know who I had become, but it wasn’t me. There was nothing more I could say.
A good year and a half passed with no communication, no wonderings, no memories at all. We’d forgotten and moved on.
On a recent windy, wet December night, I sat at a German bar with an old friend. We drank beer and smoked cigarettes and spoke of our current and past loves. And then it came up. The history of the novel I so shamelessly abandoned. The friend with benefits of my past still waiting for me, naked and unshowered, in the wrinkled sheets of the My Documents folder. I had forgotten completely until that very moment. And yet with ease I spilled out all the good memories we shared, the laughs we had and the troubles we went through together. I remembered it all, everything. Even the things I swore I had erased entirely. My friend finished his beer and told me that I was stupid to let go of all of that, and that the connection I’d made meant more than I would ever know.
So, a few days later, I decided we should meet at nearby Starbucks. We were awkward at first, but we put everything out on the table. All the half-finished tales, the jokes without punch lines, the long-dried tears, the cheap wine we snobbishly said tasted more expensive than it was. It was all there, and we looked upon it and smiled goofy, uneven smiles.
“Should we start over?” I eventually asked.
I was met with more than silence and rather a feeling. A warm, familiar feeling of what we once had, and all that came before. I realized how much I’d grown since we first met, and how ready I was to partake in something that was more than just a flighty fuck here and there.
“Yes,” came a reply. And I began again.
And right now my novel is there, propped up against a pillow waiting for me to join it under the covers. And soon we’ll hold each other and fall asleep knowing that neither one of us will disappear until we live this thing out, stupid or not. I can’t say for certain that what we have will be sung about or told to the small, inquisitive children of the future. What I can say is that I’m ready to commit to something I haven’t been able to commit to before. And I’m indefinably happy, jolted, terrified.