In the last of the year’s warmth, there are lovers everywhere. Arm in arm and hand in hand. Draped about each other lying on the grass of the park while I talk to you on the phone. Kissing. Touching. Kissing again. I want us to be them, them to be us. Here in the park, here in this city, most are young, the whole of their lives ahead of them. But geography and the many complications aside, who’s to say it would have been better to be lovers at that age than now? The best way to see life – at any point in it – is as if it were just beginning. However much of a mess we may or may not have made, whatever obstacles lie in our path, they can be cleared up, or at least navigated, and life can begin again. We are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. We may make new ones, but as long as we don’t make the same old ones, we should be ok.
Though of course, if we are always at the beginning, then there may never again be any certainties. I guess that’s the price. I am grateful for having found myself living life at the edge again, even though at times it has been hard. Humbled by what has happened, by the unexpected course my life has taken, by what you have taught me, both meaning and without meaning to, I think of myself as no greater than those people some might consider the very least in the world – the bums and layabouts, the drunks and homeless. The least protected, the most vulnerable, so close to the edges of life that their faces show the cuts from its blade. I can see now how easy it would be to become one of them. A fucked-up fuck-up. But whatever happened, I would not let that happen.
Fashioned into a story, the concatenation of sorrows of which those fucked-up street folk might speak is likely to be harrowing. Though sometimes you hear stories, don’t you, of how love rescues someone from the streets, from the abyss of depression and the brink of despair. Those tales are compelling, when you hear them and the narrator has enough eloquence left to tell them.
I don’t think it’s being melodramatic to say that’s where you rescued me from, the brink or the bottom, if not the street. And in my estimation, in my eyes, a love story such as ours trumps any other kind, even one of riches to rags to riches again. I guess that’s why I’ve spent so long telling it.