scattered apart

The air is dormant. As soon as I notice my desire, a limit is drawn. Attempts to cross it are closer to an ongoing love affair with unconquerable wars in the Taliban than they are to a flirtatious gesture. Every movement is heightened. But for whom? How many days have I sat across from  some coy, subtle guy who measured the inches from our legs, noticed when our skin accidentally touched. But my approach is hardly subtle, although the way I act, it could be considered accidental or meaningless. As if I act this way around everybody. How can they know that what I feel is not misdirected but aimed? How long can I hold the soldier’s stance with the weapon in my hand, hoping that my point is neither crude nor unsatisfactory. The future? It never exists. It never will. Asking about the future seems equivalent to asking “Should a woman have a rare disease or a common one? One that requires quarantine or one that makes people look at your ravaged face with disgust at what they are thinking is a drug addiction?”

The coded, dark haired, goofy-emo man in the corner talks boisterously on his blue cell. We only catch half of his conversation.  His side. I find imagining what the other person on the other line is saying to be a captivating and fun exercise. “Don’t sound so much like a psychiatrist,” he drawls. My eyes are on him, streaming in bewilderment, already fetching ideas from his side of the discourse. Miles would find it a bore to listen to only half of a conversation. He would feel shut out, put upon, ignored, and slandered. How dare somebody interfere with his company by taking a phone call in his presence! As if there’s anything better to do when he’s around. “No fun! No fun!”

As you already know, attraction waxes and wanes. Obsession stays. I can still finger every sweet memory like a rhyme from childhood, how it moves me, even now. Fighting against it is toxic. My dear friend Jules says that instead of leveling the playing field, I’m leveling my own house. I subject myself to their contempt, because it springs off of me. I can handle higher doses than other women.

The biggest surprise is the way I used to cry in front of the divorced architect. How did it feel for him to be around me like that, as I cried, for his pain, for my pain, for what I knew was streaming past us, already orphaned and deranged as he tried to entangle my soft hold. He treated my caresses as though I were clenched to his legs, refusing to let go unless he severed a limb. I asked for no attachment. I only asked him to let me love him. That was too much. Gripped him like a whirlpool, the enormous hold he felt being loved had over him. My gift, treated  as poison. I was never terrified of him like his exes were. I didn’t understand how he could inspire terror. He’d been humiliated, so he ascended on the humiliation of others. A daily occupation. A complex man. He didn’t intimidate me. For that, we were too close. Equals, you could say, except that he knew to hide his inner mechanisms from the game, to keep it separate. What I kept separate was only separation.

I don’t cry now. I want to recuse myself from my role because of this. For this ability to let go, to wash and bathe myself in the damage and repair, it came with an inability to turn aside and dismiss the destroyers of beautiful things. It feels gone now.  Somebody could seize me, shake me, just so I’d flicker again. Do I want him back? The lack of feeling, so not something I’ve done for him- as if- I’d never stifle my feelings for him. I’d subjugate, humiliate, strip down naked, and tear my own fate in half before I’d do that. So why now? Why have I been barren (such a nasty term)- I mean, in drought for so long?

As though all that’s happened has only been inferior and strange, as though there’s been no point, as though my emotions were only shoes I’ve outgrown.. But look! A heart was defiled in the process; I cried in his arms! Not that he’d hold me. To finish anything he started was not something that came natural.

If I knew why I became so meshed, I might be able to delight in the sacrifices I made. Instead, subtraction comes to mind. An undecided fade. He refused to allow himself to hear me speak.

But oh, this was supposed to be about the new! The burst of arousal I felt yesterday around somebody new! They inspired a demand, and as unused to demand as I am, the impatience got to me, and having recognized the source of my desire, I wanted to take it all home with me, to reflect on it later. I’ve done enough reflecting. I just want to play cat and mouse, I don’t want to have to play at playing the cat and mouse game, but every time it seems like I have to demonstrate that I can be subtle before…

I don’t know.I like ambushes. I had already taken him in my imagination and jumped him. I am very selective, you know. And when I find somebody, well, I like it to be as if they are in a dark alley, and I mugged them. The adrenaline, that is. The comparison? I allow you to condemn it. It’s only a metaphor, but anytime the word only is used, your fear is an epitaph in waiting. My loneliness? I don’t think it’s there. But maybe they will recognize it. After the mugging? I don’t think that far. I only think about how it might feel. Of course, my mind drifts to whether or not I could live with them, whether or not we could love each other for twenty years and never tire, but so far the only one who fit that category had menacing intentions. And he beat his dog. I continued to harbor love for him, a chord that wouldn’t stop shifting in the waves underneath us. He heard my unconscious, and tried to break what he could not see. He shoplifted from my subconscious, the treasure of treasures. There was a transference. I let him take from me; take it all. But somehow I don’t think it was enough. My desire to let him take things from me- that turned him off. He didn’t like being caught. Everything was supposed to happen in the dark from then on. But there are still stars in any galaxy. Dark is surrounded by lamps and candles and deities.

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