Tag Archives: unrequited love

Now I Know

22 Mar

twoheartsSomewhere deep in my sense memory was a perfect point-for-point recollection of what it is to be held in the tractor-beam of another’s affection. When that other actually feels a profound attraction and love for my every blink and shift, my words and gestures, and all the complicated machinery that brings those traits to the surface. Behind my twinkling eyes, a thumping heart. Behind my flinch, a headache. Underneath a furrowed blanket, a sad little soul who needs some coziness.

Someone, my ideal someone, sees all of these facets and assembles them into a shimmering gem. Then I, feeling the very particular sensations associated with being cherished, actually give more than I ever thought possible. I speak the truth of my heart without hesitation, and I do not fear a negative reevaluation of my worth. In fact, I’m worth more with each little ding on the gem, divots that indeed present just a tiny addition of shimmer to the overall picture.

I have remembered this many-layered love in a sudden burst of slow expansion into ease. It was a big and bold revelation, and one I immediately undertook without hesitation. Days passed and means of communication evolved, and between points of connection I felt myself expanding into one who is truly loved.

Now there is one more layer to that sensation. I can compare the embrace of unencumbered love, from thousands of miles away, to a convoluted love very close up and sleeping in the next room. The former is the love I will keep, and the latter is a love I will now very contentedly pack away as the ultimate Unrequited ending.

This is what it is to have a beautiful friend gaze into your eyes with the warmth of affection and endearment, but who does not feel more than a platonic level of attraction toward you. But more importantly, this is what it is to have found the real someone, the one whom you chose in your mind’s eye ages ago, and have them feel the strength of your love and respond in kind with even more emphatic connection.

Sometimes the demonstration of these extremes, both positive in their own way, arrives at precisely the correct moment, and the physical form of someone far away can be felt more supremely than that of a visitor staying in your own apartment. My dear Unrequited will always occupy a place in my heart. But my heart can only hold him there because it is strong with the support of true love from my soulmate.

Collect Them All

17 Jun

peabodyHe was standing there so tall, so tall against a backdrop of themed entertainment. Leaning back, arms crossed, pressing into concrete to extend the distance between us as much as the laws of physics would allow.

“I’m simple. I’m just simple. I like complex people, and I like having them around. But I’m just a simple guy. I just want a house, a happy family…” and he shrugged into the distance.

What prompted this declaration was my gentle request for elaboration on his statement that “creative people are obsessed with time.”

We were reading the first of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets under the ugly outdoor lamplight of a terrible Orlando bar. Biding our time until this trade show night would fade into another trade show morning, we tracked NBA finals scores and discussed literature.

Lightning flickered over dark patches of swamp between parking lots and chain restaurants. I unwound my own arms and tried to stand with open body language. Tried to look way up there into his eyes and ascertain why he was suddenly telling me that I am complex, and that he likes having me around, but ultimately finds me repellent.

It took a few days and then the wise observation of a friend to roll a thunderous revelation to answer the lightning. I wasn’t the repellent one. He was feeling sheepish, didn’t have an answer, couldn’t further the discussion, froze up, and then claimed simplicity by way of cover.

But it’s not simplicity when you are able to describe the interior inhibitions that make it difficult for you to walk into a room, or how you would never let Hallmark dictate plans to see your family. You are finicky and precise, and you can’t stand how similar you are to the little bespectacled over-thinker who looks up at you now.

And a real, audible sigh presses me past it. They call me complex, and they pull away, because they cannot stand their own unacceptable complexity. It’s so unpalatable when a girl is clearly troubled by overstimulation that dissipates her strength and forces her needs to the surface.

“You can’t turn it off, can you?” He asks, turning an invisible switch by the side of his head.

I only nod “no”.

Neither can you. But you will claim simplicity to make it clear that I am the strange one here.

I am too complex for the single ones. But I am infinitely appealing to the married ones bored by simplicity. What the tall one doesn’t know is that a married one is sitting nearby, actually watching and waiting for me to collapse to the ground so he can pick up the pieces. It’s what he promised right before the tall one walked up. “If he leaves you here, I’ll come get you and make sure you get back to your hotel. I can do that for you.”

And thus trapped between the gaze of an obsessor and an aloofer, I live the lines from Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

I walked away from that wall with the tall one that night, back to a hotel bar to watch the last quarter of the NBA game. He stayed up with me, sipping bourbon, until just before his early morning flight. He gave me a real hug goodbye, and smiled at me more genuinely than I’ve seen in a long time. He requested a text missive to let him know that I was safe in my hotel room. But in the morning, I requested pickup of my pieces just the same. Sometimes you want someone to want your complexity. Even if they can’t do anything with it.

Two Tickets

20 Oct

“You couldn’t possibly know how much you meant to me”
—Tin Man, Future Islands

In the season of ghoulish tales that will haunt your soul, I have a telltale heart. In preparing for the future, I have dredged up the past, and oh, it will strike fear in the hearts of certain readers tonight.

At the start of this week, I bought two tickets for the Future Islands show in Dallas. Simple facts, yes, but the show is on November 13, and it’s a bit silly for me to plan so far ahead for just a little show (Bruce Springsteen at Giants stadium, this ain’t). But this is a band that means a lot to me, as you may have noted from the dozens of previous posts referring to Future Islands lyrics and their special distillation of misery. They are the single malt scotch of lamentation, so pure as to leave no trace of headachey residue even after a night of excessive imbibing.

Another fact. This is a band introduced to me by Unrequited, who thus took on the role of both injurer and physician, prescribing the antidote for all the brokenness he hath wrought on my eager heart. Oh, Unrequited. You press play on track one of my love and let it run without listening. You package your copied CDs in plain white envelopes, but I can read the invisible ink.

Anyway. Unrequited was actually the furthest thing from my mind when I bought these two tickets. I actually didn’t know who would accompany me to this show, but dared imagine that in a couple of weeks, another soul might stand in the dark with me and immerse themselves in the waves around Future Islands.

Let me set the ghost story scene. After I bought these tickets, I made some notes for a lil’ essay about how we expect certain artists to inhabit our sadness for us. We want them to unpack their most heart-wrenching emotions for us night after night on stage, and put words to the pain in our hearts. Truly nothing heals like the musical expression of the gaping hole in your chest where once beat a trembling organ that dared feel, feel goddammit, for another human.

But days passed and I didn’t write about it. (Dramatic chord!) Until… until I was in my car in Deep Ellum, having moments ago given my phone number to a new young (exponentially young) gentleman I met at another PechaKucha artist talk night. I was staring deep into the eyes of my iPhone, slightly regretting the horrible Johnny Walker red I’d endured at the terrible bar where the event was held, and contemplating a visit to the perfect farm-to-table establishment in Oak Cliff where I could get a little adoration from my cocktail man. I decided to make the bad decision and began to lose myself in those damn windy and dead-end streets that choke Deep Ellum in a little armpit outside downtown Dallas.

And then, THEN, thennnnnnn, while stopped at a light, I looked down at my phone to ask it where the hell I was, and there I saw not the comforting contours of GPS, but the handsome, chiseled features of Unrequited. (Screaming strings!)  I paused, thought about cocktails served by the sardonic son of a baseball player, and automatically answered the call.

“I’m leaving PechaKucha, and I was actually going to call you on the drive home tonight!” I squealed by way of greeting. And this was true. I’d actually informed myself that after several weeks healthful deprivation, I had earned the right to some verbal indulgence with the man who makes me feel infinitesimally crumb-like just in the way the low-frequencies of his cowboy rasp saunter wirelessly from Utah to Texas.

“I beat you to it.” Rasp rasp.

I felt my heart do this thing it hasn’t done in months, and that was simply that it let itself be felt. (SFX: Screaming woman.)

We talked about books. He actually said the novel he’s reading now has made him cry a few times. And I was completely taken in by his openness. (I am such a sucker.) Then when he started volunteering to help me rent my apartment in SLC, offering to meet with the realtor and take care of some things, I almost drove off the road.

As if that wasn’t enough to bring horror to the hearts of those who wish I’d just move on already, I then heard a thudding, thumping, repetition from beneath the floorboards of my speeding vehicle. Thump thump, thump thump. It was the telltale heart.

“I’d love to get to Dallas for that Future Islands show.”

In a flash I remembered that I’d jokingly enticed Unrequited to buy a plane ticket to see the show with me, weeks before I actually procured one ticket for me and one ghost ticket for a question-mark haze that would be standing beside me. I really, really had forgotten all about this offer when I bought the two tickets. I implore you to believe me.

But dear reader, do not for a moment worry that Unrequited will actually be the one who descends from the sky on the moonlit night when Future Islands takes the stage (oh god, don’t let it be in Deep Ellum). Because in the time it took for him to rumble a farewell and press the screen of his phone to terminate our ninety-minute call, I know that Unrequited looked in the mirror and forgot all about his teasing offer. (I heard him using an electric shaver when we were talking and called him on it. He was touching up a haircut, he alleged, but I know he was preparing for his night prowls. Opposite of Teen Wolf, is he, shedding hair after moonrise.)

The day after the phone call detour that prevented me from connecting with a real human here in the Metroplex, I discovered why Unrequited had been sent to thwart my progress and slam me back down into a place of pain. We received terrible news about my mother’s condition on Thursday, and any silly thought of ever entertaining myself with some dumb boy disappeared into the miasma that persistently surrounds me. I am not here to find love, evidently, I am here to give love to my mother. And if no one takes the extra ticket to the show, I’ll just keep it in my pocket for the day when I might actually be able to feel something for someone who wants to feel something for me.

☽ Of Wildest Heart

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