It was like we were rookie gamblers, playing poker with our hearts but walking away as soon as we felt we were “up” enough to be fulfilled.
The absolute worst kinds of unkept promises were made, the ones involving efforts of the heart that neither of us was mentally ready to satisfy. One night, I drunkenly denied enjoying his company because I couldn’t articulate that whenever he looked at me, I felt like I was on a pedestal. It was like I was the best thing he’d ever seen, and my heart melted each and every time, but I don’t think he ever knew.
It was a whirlwind lust affair spanning over two years and a few thousand miles. There was a comfort in his eyes, a softness, and even just thinking about him still makes my knees weak.
So full of knowledge, but always judged on appearance first, he was unique. I remember him showing me around his childhood neighborhood and some stranger shouting out obscenities because of the way he did his hair and how he chose to dress (long, spiked up hair, oversized leather jacket, skinny jeans with patches and spikes … always carrying a flask). It didn’t faze him; we just kept walking and he shook his head a little bit.
We spent a lot of time at dive bars talking about music and entertainment and history of our mutual favorite city. Story time was my favorite. I’d bring up a topic that I knew a little bit about to try and impress him, and he’d blow my mind with his mastery of the subject. We talked about art and geography of different cities, like how everything in Manhattan is a grid, but there’s one street that goes diagonal. Somehow, that conversation was conjured up as we were crossing that diagonal street. For the first time, I liked learning about geography. We quickly moved from platonic love to romance completely unexpectedly and unintentionally. Our souls moved us forward, but our minds held us back.
Saying what went south is anything but difficult. We weren’t ever “right” in the first place. Each of us took advantage of the other and made countless empty promises. When we were together we were golden, and when we were apart we went about our separate lives, and I’m completely guilty of dreaming things up in my head and making our lives fit my fantasy.
I focused more on trying to find ways to make what we had fit with what I wanted than focusing on what was real at all.
Nevertheless, I was emotionally shocked when we cut the current. I was lost; I felt scarred, like everyone could see that I had a broken heart. I never wanted to have feelings for this man in the first place, but my heart shattered into a thousand pieces with the thought that I wouldn’t see him again.
I knew this lust affair had to end at some point. My plane took off and I think I cried all 3,000 miles home. I got off the plane and was greeted by my very excited-to-see-me mother and I could hardly crack a smile. I spent a month and a half in my room. Aside from school and work, I cried, slept, wrote, recapped… nothing brought the feelings back the same.
Reality sunk in and the fairytale I created with this human had its curtain call.
I spent a lot of time wondering if I loved this person. I had been in love once before, but this was completely different. The rush of emotions were so strong every time I’d see him I got goose-bumps and it felt like I drove a hundred miles an hour into a concrete wall. According to meriam-webster.com, love is an “attraction that includes sexual desire”… lust is “a strong desire for something; a strong feeling of sexual desire.” Now, while I know love and lust are not the same thing, by definition, however, they seem somewhat interchangeable.
For a long time I was destroyed. I re-read poems we had read together, I hardly ate, and I spent a lot of time just being alone with all of my doors closed. I’d never felt so at ease with a person, so special, and all of a sudden, it was taken away. I guess you could say it was my first heartbreak. Naively, I even tried to replace him … twice, but no one fit the bill. I needed to let go, but I wanted to hold on.
I was morose. The word relationship sent shivers down my spine. I stayed at least five feet away from everyone who even hinted at having feelings for me. It was great — a lot of my friends were constantly getting in and out of bad relationships and we all supported each other’s sulking. Well, that sounds depressing, ha-ha.
Everyone knows what happened next; I got through the hard times and over the heartache — time heals all wounds. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still get sad sometimes when memories come back or he shows up in my dreams. I don’t really expect that faint pain to fade completely.
This man was a first experience for me, and for that reason he’ll always be special in my eyes. In my 24 years of life, he’s made me feel the best and worst that I’ve ever felt.
I’ve grown up. Fantasy isn’t what I want to build a life on.