I realized tonight that I haven’t been looking for inspiration in a long time
. I’ve been passing through time and space and not feeling much of anything. I rode my bike through the Quarter tonight, for example. I had no specific place to be or go, but I ended up in places
. My eyes sought out, through the myriad of choices, what they seemed to want. I could have stopped at a bar and had a beer or two, but as I thought of this as an option, I played forward the scenes that would, in all likelihood and based on previous experience, have taken place. And I didn’t like what I saw, so I chose not to do that.
I went the wrong way down most of the streets, becoming familiar with an old habit. Now that I have to ride my bike everywhere, everything I know about daily life is now reduced to a past I am now only slightly remembering. It comes back in small swatches of cloth, knitting over my skin: yes, I know this, yes this was something I used to do. But I need to go back some, into the night, before all this.
I came home and was tired. I made a few phone calls, rearranged some piles of things in the apartment, then laid down, not with any intention to sleep but because it was what felt the most appealing at that moment. Then there was a knock at the door. Some kids from the neighborhood said they knew who hit my car, and that it was likely the same man who tried to burn down my neighbor’s place, her crazy boyfriend. My downstairs neighbor was peering from her doorway as well, and we were talking to each other and through the wall of them, perched on our shared porch. I told them that the car was totaled and my neighbor asked, “Don’t you care? Don’t you want to see if it was him that did it? You could at least get paid for the damages.” I couldn’t say it then, in front of the kids, but what I wanted to say was that I didn’t believe these kids, that I didn’t care because by the time they caught him and sought legal action, I would be gone from here and it wouldn’t matter anyway. She would likely never understand that I am just that willing to let go of things, that things, whether in or out of my life, haven’t affected me enough to bother either way.
I tried to lie down again and was interrupted this time by a phone call from Mike, the one that built the coffee table of mine that you like. He was returning a call I made days ago about whether the table could be taken apart for shipping. Now, it seems, it will not be necessary, and told him so. I realized then what a futile thing it was to try to sleep, or even lie down, when it was only 8 at night. I will, however, tell you what I was thinking about as I lied there.
I thought about being in your home, and in your life, being in the daily routine, any daily routine that’s shared with you. I thought about what I would do during the first few weeks after I am there, unemployed, while you are at work. I imagined you coming home and seeing that a room in the house looked different than it did when you left that morning, that you were seeing my hand in things, and that you would see just how hard it is for me to have even a few idle moments to myself when there is a lot of work to be done and how much I can do on my own. I thought about all the passing embraces and touches we will likely make as we walk in and out of rooms, how we will reinforce our presence to each other. I thought about all the times we made love, and I say made love because we said I love you so much during it all that the act and word are one to me now.
Once I realized I could not simply lie around and think these things, I wandered around the apartment before making the decision to go for a ride, that vague ride into the Quarter I mentioned earlier. I realized that my natural impulse, when I get home, is to call you, even though I had nothing special to say or to share since we talked last, when I was at work. And, I guess, it hit me, just then, what has been happening to make this impulse so natural. For a variety of reasons, I have been trained to regard talking to you on a daily basis as normal, even if it’s just idle chit-chat about the daily course of events; I have accepted that not only does this act feel good, it feels right. It feels appropriate, because you are the man I love and the man I with whom I want to share my life, my daily, humdrum life. This discovery, if you will, also feels safe, because, while normally I would be self conscious about it, I believe that, if you were given the same opportunity or had the same impulse (even if you hadn’t acted on it), you would do and feel the same way.
I dissected this thought a little, both before I left the apartment and when I returned. Some of this thinking is due to the movie I rented while I was out riding, a movie called Waking Life. When I got it home and started watching it, I felt that impulse again, that you should be here, watching it with me, because I believed it would be something you would enjoy as well. I guess I should also interject here and say that I also realized, through this mess of random thoughts, that I hadn’t really thought about love in a long time. I hadn’t tried to understand the thought and action of it, the tangible signs that love is present. And I don’t mean just the romantic love, but the love I have for you as my friend, as my confidant, as a peer from my age group with whom I share a variety of things in common. The whole of it, what love is.
For as long as this thing between you and I has been growing, I’ve always felt the need to apologize for acting on my feelings, worried that you would find me obsessive, over attentive, too focused on you, and that this would scare you off. Even when you showed me that the feelings and actions I’ve had were not thus but were also mirrored in you, I wouldn’t allow myself to fully accept that. I have always thought that I thought too much about other people, and that they couldn’t possibly think of me as much, because, well, that would mean that they are obsessive like me. I mean, thinking of the other person isn’t a quantitative contest; I am not saying this as another attempt at validation. But thinking about it tonight made me think of something.
If I didn’t think about you several times a day, if I didn’t want to touch you or see you several times a day, if I didn’t long for you as I do, that wouldn’t be normal, not for love, not for the love you and I say we have for one another. Because we say and agree that this is love, what I’m feeling and wanting is actually pretty normal, not obsessive or scary. I laugh at myself now, because even now I am hoping you are agreeing with me, even now I wonder what you will think of this when you read it. Again, I feel like I am saying this more to myself than to you.
I haven’t ever felt like this, not that I can remember. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this, ever been this brave. I have always feared pouring my love out, because there is so much there that maybe it’s too much, as if there is such a thing.
This is where I trail off and run out of steam, forgetting where I was going with this. Initially, this was supposed to be the beginnings of a letter I wanted to write, but it wasn’t going to be like this. It was going to be lofty and poetic and beautiful and its goal was going to be to warm your heart and maybe make you cry. I’m still working on that one, but I want to hand write it, so you will have something real in your hands to connect with the words. You see, I have so many words that I’m saving and working around in my head that are just for you that I don’t often know where to begin. You see, my music, my art, all of my craft and likely all the creativity I have is my words. Because of that, there are often a lot more than are needed, a surplus, and when I choose to unleash them, this is what you get, several pages late at night when I can’t be with you in the flesh (otherwise I’d be either reading them to you or babbling them under the covers as we both fall asleep from exhaustion at listening). Another thing I’ve learned from watching Waking Life tonight is that words aren’t really as essential as I am led to think. It is mostly because you are not with me that I have so many words. I think of a thread, pulled tight, and that this thread is the only connection we have until we see each other again. It’s not enough to replace that, but it’s enough to tide me over, to not make me feel so alone over here. It’s not enough to drive the impulse to call you every night when I get home completely from my thoughts.
This will not fit, but it’s the only thing I can think to say. If the thought should ever occur to you, I hope you will never feel so burdened by my overabundance of words that you will be scared off from me. I hope you can just take them for what they are and not think I’m crazy or am too crazy about you, that there’s something wrong with me. For some reason, I believe you are the one person that wouldn’t. And I guess, that’s one of the reasons I’m in love with you.
This is an excerpt from Keats’ Ode on Melancholy. I like the last few lines here the best. Perhaps you can see why.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
I love you,