I have been in love thrice; this is the story of my
first love, in 1996. This was written before I met the 2nd or 3rd person.
We met, morbidly enough, in the usenet newsgroup "alt.suicide.holiday"; I at the time was a sophomore in college and she had recently
divorced (age 23) and was living in Texas working for a phone company. I was working for my school's CS department to earn money for my
expensive japanese food habit and thus was in the graduate research building for
many hours after 10pm. Both of our jobs consisted of sitting at a desk
watching monitors for problems and thus we were able to
spend hours and hours on the phone every day for nearly a month. I had never
before experienced such an immediate connection with
anyone; we talked about everything ; political science, psychology, biology,
physics, mythology, weather, people, cities, the flow of concrete around plants
and vice versa, the changing sky outside, satellites, birds, everything and
anything. Many times I would be or she would be woken up at seven in the morning
by the other's voice screaming wake up, wake up into the phone; we would fall
asleep talking, talking. She would write sestinas and sonnets and I would write
ones back, never generic or soppy, usually sarcastic or silly or ... anything,
really. She had the most incredible mind I'd ever encountered; in a month I read
more books than I'd read in the previous year, just to keep up with the barrage
of references that footnoted her every communication to me.
At the end of the
month we could wait no longer and in the midst of finals I flew out to Texas and
spent the most glorious week of my life, with her ... her apartment that she had
lived in for six months was a mess, an artist's studio of metal and paint and
cloth and paper and ink and a loom and prisms and mirrors and ceramic and books,
books everywhere, more than a thousand books scattered haphazardly and each one
paged through until the bindings were soft as cotton. The Texas heat was
overwhelming and we would stay inside sleeping all day and go out at night,
drive two hours to Corpus Christi and we wrote in the sand and we learned sign
language from a video and got stranded by the tide on a sandbar and
walked through the Alamo noting the corporate presence of Coca-Cola inside the
fort and blew bubbles over the gulf of Mexico. She was not the first person I'd
slept with but she was the first I'd made love with. The
warmth in her eyes as she looked at me was intoxicating; never since have I ever
felt that kind of love, never since have I known so surely that the love I felt
for someone was returned.
Texas was too far. She through some miracle of compression fit all of her
possessions into her small Civic -- and quit her job and walked out on
her lease and did it all because she knew she had to, in the words of Joseph
Campbell, follow her bliss. She drove two thousand miles and began a new life with me. We were so happy... we had sublet a small room in a house a few miles from school on a shady street with an expansive
backyard and we went from garage sale to garage sale in search of a croquet set
and we played croquet with the neighbor's children and we learned Esperanto
until it made us dizzy and and ... we ... she found a experimental farm looking for volunteers and we moved into a finished room in a barn there and she did field
hand work, weeding, and she loved it; she would work in
the sun all day in the green fields and would eat strawberries and green peppers
right from the ground and at night we would go outside, followed by the barn's
cats, and lay together in the short soft moss at the far edge of the field and watch the moon transit the sky, make love with the moss, the breezes, the summer lightning and thunderstorms, and the sun
would rise and we would trek back to the barn and shower and I would hitchhike
up to town for class and she would go out and work another day doing what she
loved, feeling her body become strong and competent after so many months working
in a cold, dismal room full of computers...
and then the storm came.
that had been positive snapped, decided it couldn't be so any more.
We began to become colder and more distant and even as I
felt it killing me I was powerless to stop it...
Things fall apart the center cannot hold ... and we fell
apart and I didn't know how to stop it and the most beautiful love I've ever
known simply vanished and for no reason at all . we parted in tears, neither of
us understanding what had gone wrong , and I still see myself standing in the
morning fog on the farm road. I kissed her goodbye through her open car window
and watched her drive off, disappearing into the mist and with her every
dream I'd ever had.
I stood there in the predawn hours in a trance. I felt
as if Death had come for me and then neglected to finish the job. I stayed on
that corner staring down that road for seven hours. Sometimes sitting on the grass,
sometimes curled up against a granite glacial erratic, but I couldn't leave that
spot. why should I, ... where would I go? My purpose was lost, my life my love
... everything I had built my future around was gone with her.
I went back to the farm, eventually, and lay down in our
bed, my bed, and cried. I stayed there for a week, not eating. I was brought
water and juice but I refused food I couldn't think I couldn't do anything my
love was gone my life my world shattered.
We became friends again in 1998, and have kept in touch.