It is not simple to speak of the way it began. It was not the normal course. Is there a normal course? Love never strikes in the ways that you’d expect. It can strike quickly without warning. Like an out-of-control steam-engine. A car running a stoplight. A motorcycle spinning out of control.
Or, it settles in like a blanket of snow. The snow seems to fall slowly, gently, and then suddenly you, the ground, everything around you is covered in it. Snow. Everything goes white.
And you’re in love.
That’s sort of how it was with us. One day I looked around me and all I could see was her. Her, and the whiteness of the snow. The snow, our love. Covering everything. Melting against our skin. Turning our breath into clouds. We drifted into it. It was a gentle, steady snowfall. It was not a storm though at times it seemed to engulf. We buried ourselves in it.
She was so lovely. That’s all I can ever think, even now. She was so lovely and her skin was like snow and her lips were strawberry ice cream pink and her eyes used to flutter closed when I held her close.
I came to this city with my heart full of her, my landscape covered in the sweet winter of our love. I loved the winter. I loved the nakedness of the trees and the way everything became so quiet, so peaceful. The cold was simply reason for people to huddle closer together. The cold reminded us that we need each other’s warmth, that we must draw each other close to survive. I didn’t mind the numbness in my fingers, in my toes, the congestion in my nose, my frozen earlobes. I didn’t mind.
I was happy in the cold.
I knew that she did not feel the same, though. Her flesh fairly burned to the touch. She was a hot-blooded woman who wanted out of our cold-weather state. The snow always seemed to melt more quickly on her clothing than anyone else’s. Hot-blooded woman was dangerous, but, as the story goes, moths and flames. I could not stay away from her and it did not occur to me that getting too close for too long would threaten to burn away my wings.
We were sitting together in a cafe, having coffee, facing the windows instead of each other when she said simply, “I need to go.”
It was easy to say “Yes, let’s go.” How easy it is to leap forward when you think you will be caught by a drift of soft, fresh snow. That you will be protected from the cold by the presence of another warm animal.
She needed to go, so I would go with her. I would go anywhere with her. Her fire. I needed it. I needed the burning. It felt so bare inside me. Cavernous. She filled it with her fire which threw shadows on the wall which danced and showed me that there could be more.
Strange how we do not realize what we do not have until someone comes along who shows us something that we find we are wanting.
But how did we fall in love? Who was she? Who am I? Who will I be? I’m still searching for the answers to all of those questions. Still unraveling the answers, now. She feels like a dream from a thousand years ago. Our joining feels like it might have been a thousand years ago. I feel like I could be a thousand years away from myself right now, staring at this moment and trying to place it in some greater history and unable to locate it.
I thought we were celestial bodies that were fated to cross in the vastness of the universe– how could it be any other way? How could we not have been meant to meet, go out, drink coffee, take each other? How could it have been anything other than divine?
I thought we were cosmic.
Who was she? Who am I? Who will I be?
To put it in more earthly terms, we were tectonic plates drifting on the hot molten mantle. Small and separate, we drifted haphazardly, brushed against each other and together became more. Volcanoes erupted upon our meeting. Lava spewed into the sky and made new land on the edges of our togetherness. We were bonded in it. The lava cooled in the seams, the artifacts of where we were once separate, and I thought that we would never again be apart. We were a brave new land, or so I thought we would be.
I thought we were genesis.
Isn’t it always genesis? Isn’t Genesis happening all the time, all around us, between us, across this continent, across these planes, across space and time, past and present and future? There is genesis all the time.
To put it in more visceral terms, our lovemaking was beautiful. It was hungry and wild and rough and achingly tender. Fingertips and fingernails and teeth and tongues and sweat. We lost days inside each other’s skin. I could always feel her eyes on me even when mine were squeezed tightly shut. She watched me and I was self-conscious but I did not care. I took all that she gave. I gave all that I could.
We were so new. We were birthing worlds together, the two of us. We were invincible.
She taught me to jump fences and run in the streets with abandon and sit on curbs smoking too many cigarettes in the middle of the night. She was fearless, and I was fearless when we were together.
It was because of her that I left our city. Her restlessness became mine. She sated my hunger and taught me to be hungrier.
It was because of her that this city became mine. I have not completely accepted this place as mine. She is every where in it.
And so I want to stay and I want to go and I want to stay all simultaneously. I came because of love. I leave because of love.
There is genesis, there is beginning, and then there is the moment when everything changes. The newness becomes the everyday becomes a new, more painful kind of newness. The kind of newness that is roughly hewn from a beloved reality.
I see the world differently, once again. I am different, once again. I must discover another way of life, once again.
We begin and end and begin and end and begin again.
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