Fragments of love #5: An incomparable lover

He read it and thought, but you were an incomparable lover.  You are an insightful writer.  You may never be an equipoised swimmer but I’ve never loved a lop-sided form more than I have yours.  You can’t help but be a beautiful runner, because you are beautiful, and you run.  And then clear as daylight, from two hundred miles distant, he heard her laughter.

He needed no convincing about this one thing.  He was sure of it.  He wouldn’t pretend otherwise, he wouldn’t try to dupe himself into believing otherwise.  He loved.  And he could not unlove.

He had to laugh when he heard love called ‘a social construct’ – that the feelings which ran wildly through his head and guts and (yes) that symbolic place between them were merely a learnt response to satisfy the mechanistic needs of society; that love was the one permissible rebellion.  It reduced what it was to be human to nurture, and nurture to a practice only ever carried out on behalf of the prevailing societal system, just as the argument from nature reduced love down to a genetic imperative.  But at least that line of argument recognised the brutal sense of need, even if it missed the complex maelstrom of emotion and intellect which was what he felt in love.  Such people seemed to him to be missing out on both the best and most troubling parts of being human – missing out on an essence of life.  There could never be an understanding between him and such a character.

He had written hundreds of thousands if not millions of words to get at its mysterious essence, and then someone came along and dismissed it in glib, pat phrases.  It was not a religion; it was in fact grounded in the possibilities which exist when two people stand naked inside and out before each other.  There wasn’t anything finer, and there was nowhere he would rather be.

There was frustration in her sense of her being a blank canvas, that there was no her, only a picture that he and the others before him made up in their heads, painted according to their needs.  That just wasn’t the case.  As much as the other way round, he had become what she needed him to be.  They had met halfway and the fizz of the chemical reaction had intermingled their atoms and made a new compound.  Perhaps it was that she could still retreat from being compound, return to her elemental state, while he was forever changed.  But if only she could see with his eyes how strong was his sense of what an elemental woman she was, she would never believe herself a blank canvas again.

He couldn’t be unhappy that she was managing without him.  But you couldn’t try to be a woman in love.  That’s not how being in love works, is it.  Either you are or you are not.  That he knew, because he was a man in love.  Still.

He still pocketed the cat and the horseshoe.  The accidental loss of the coin aside, he doubted he would ever stop doing so.

He only ever wanted to stop time through spending it with her.  Even if it wasn’t the only way of slowing down time to a standstill, it was always going to be the best way.

Her glass was always two-fifths empty, while his was three-fifths full.

He knew there were times when she wasn’t there, but for the most part she had been, and often the pair of them were as locked together as it was possible for any two people to be.  They craved each other then, and they craved an existence which would allow them to be properly together.  The will-o’-the-wispiness that she felt – that was a trick of the mind, a happenstance of its kaleidoscopic tendencies.  He didn’t know how to ward it off any more than she did.

She forgot and he remembered.

While he waited, he could barely breathe.  He had to keep reminding himself to.

When startled, she panicked and ran like a wild animal.  And that reaction, that anxiety was ingrained now, an almost Pavlovian reaction to anything untoward involving him.  Unless she lost her fear, she would never lose her anxiety, and because sooner or later something happened to scare her, they had had to try to do without each other.  But they couldn’t, not completely, and so they strove to find a way to carry on, to solve the impossible riddle of it.

Sometimes he imagined the two of them free of the past, starting again using new pseudonyms.  Deliberately setting to one side and forgetting everything they knew of each other, then relearning it, one exchange at a time, or rather, seeing where it might lead this time, hoping that on this occasion it might work out the way that in their ideal bubble world they had always hoped it would.

He remembered sitting in a meeting room in an old mansion which had been repurposed as a conference centre just before Christmas one year watching thick flakes of snow come down outside the mullioned windows, and he knew his journey home was going to be difficult; he wished he could stay there, after all the staff had gone home; be locked in with his love, magically summoned to his side, so that they could remain there all through Christmas, plundering the centre’s supplies, living on coffee and biscuits and the taste of each other.

Fear, insecurity and worry had not been able to stand victorious, had never quite managed to kill their love.  It had lived to fight another day, and he suspected that it always would.

Fragments of love #4: The half-life of love is forever


6 thoughts on “Fragments of love #5: An incomparable lover

  1. I always have music-related associations, and the first couple of sentences brought this to my mind – .
    This was what struck me the most – “He wouldn’t pretend otherwise, he wouldn’t try to dupe himself into believing otherwise. He loved. And he could not unlove.”
    How true, and yet, how utterly difficult that is sometimes. We tend to pretend so many things, and I think this one takes the cake, so to say. We like so much to pretend we don’t love. It’s sad, really. I think you’ve captured the gist of what *should* be in this text.

    1. That’s an uncomfortably apt song title.

      There were some specifics behind those sentences, but I’m not sure I quite did the specifics justice, or rather didn’t quite get to the (dual) heart of them, to be honest. Each fragment captures and makes static a thought or a feeling that for a time – a moment – separated itself off from a fluxing mass of thought and feeling. Momentarily they were the truth, but then with time the truth moves on. So yes, what *should* be – but you know, these fragments may just be the bricks that went to make up my castle in the air.

      1. I don’t know about the specifics, obviously, but the truth of the matter is, I suppose, universal. And with time it does move on, and run, and maybe collapse like those bricks. But since you’ve captured a part of it here, well, perhaps some of it will stay eternal.

        I’m glad you thought the title was fitting. It was actually what made me connect the two, so..

  2. I am in truth lost for words how to show my immensely deep-felt sense (because I sense stronger than my words can ever reach) of what you are not only touching upon but what seems to pour through your whole being from somewhere even deeper than being and ripples and reaches beyond. Rarely, if ever, have I heard or read anyone giving love the merciless and merciful wings through words like yours that creates such resonance. Not necessarily resonance of recognition alone but it appears even more as if you are speaking a deeper truth of the one, perhaps the only essential essence of life; love. Essence, personal and way beyond personal, it seems to me.
    Many a line from Fragments #1-5 do I wish to emphasize, because they have such brutal beautiful poetic honesty, clear images painted with a brushstroke of words that rings in essence deeply true. I’ll pick just one of the many because I always cringed at the word soul mate too without knowing why, since I’ve felt that same soul eternal feeling, yet soul-mate too limiting: “For him there was no greater ecstasy than that which could be achieved between two people who loved each other, and it was its finite nature which gave the moments you were in it the feeling of eternity.
    Just today I was reflecting upon the fear of speaking love when it arises, just simply as it is; love where nothing else exists, because of mind-blur of a timeline, stories and what if’s and it is then caged in to a ‘safe’ place and the moment passes perhaps forever left unsaid. I wish it as a way of living; speaking it as it is when it arises with freedom from thoughts or stories, but let it stand innocent and naked for simply what it is in that moment. But because we have a mind that moves like an arrow between past and future and back and hardly ever stands still on the ground right beneath us, such a way will be confusing to many and perhaps oneself too when the wind stirs and the moment is gone and a distrust in if it was ever there or a distrust in if it will last… The freedom and courage to move in the world without stories, or without the hold they have on me, is an essence of life I’m fascinated and intrigued by and will challenge as long as I’m here. It’s an impossible task, however the moments it happens is worth everything, it feels like a death of self and gives room to what being really means. With time perhaps those timeless moments can expand longer and longer, before time re-enters, until it will be the other way around. Short moments of stories wrapping themselves once again around us only to be released shortly after…
    Ii don’t know if any of this makes any sense or why I’m writing all this here however, although I am slightly embarrassed by this stream of words, I might as well send them off anyway. I expect no reply and your are of course free to delete this comment too, if it seems like jibberish!
    Did I start this with saying I was lost for words? Holy Irish cow!

    1. You may have been lost for words when you started out on this comment, but I think you found them as you went along, Hanne!

      I guess I’ve tried to put my experience of love into words both here and in my previous place, not only with the fragments but in all my writing. It’s obviously been my theme, and the words certainly run deep, sometimes deeper than is comfortable either for me or for the woman who has inspired them. I’m really humbled by what you say about my words, and glad that you see truth and essence in them. And I’m enormously appreciative of you taking the time and trouble to expand in a meaningful way on what just one of those fragments says to you. Thank you.

      1. Interesting, how you described my word-flow in the first line, you also described the very way I walk through life.
        I think my comment was for all the posts I’ve read so far of yours, not only Fragments. It’s an achingly beautiful theme you give words to, a theme no-one escapes. Fortunately. How each person face it, is a different matter. I am genuinely impressed by the bravery of going deeper than what is comfortable and share it, and I’m grateful you do.
        I’m relieved my attempt to describe what your writing stirs is appreciated. I feared a bit it was too much, and I wish only to be respectful of your space here. Thank you much.

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