Saturday, February 10, 2007
"We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we only owe to God. Then they become gods; then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred."
—C.S. LEWIS, The Four Loves
"Give yourself to love itself, without a shred of you remaining. Die completely into loving. When you return, when your sense of self is recollected, you will be refreshed through and through, washed awake by the innocence lying wide on the other side of surrender."
I have only loved two people in the romantic sense my whole life. The First was my awakening, and the Second has become my eternal anchor. They do not cancel each other out, and while one belongs firmly to the past and the other to my present (and hopefully my future), they both finally come together to define who I am. For what is love except an untidy measurement of our humanity? There are those who are most perceptive among us who are able to see beyond the initial giddiness of newfound love or the routine companionship that becomes the years of staying together: they are able to realize the confounding capacity in us to envelop another into our emotional lives.
When I first fall in love, first comes wonder: that I am actually able to love this much. Who knew? And so, as I walk down the street lost in my smile and my reverie, the whole world becomes a bursting experience of color and sound, and I heave a dramatic sigh and acknowledge the sudden fullness of being that only falling in love can bring.
But to go back to lovers...
Both of them are vastly different from each, almost like fire and water -- and if anyone must ask me how I came to love either one of them in the first place, I would not be able to answer in exactitude. It would be foolish to.
Because what is exact in the mysterious chemistry of loving? Perhaps the best way to understand it all is to subscribe to the maxim that one cannot possibly choose whom to love; it is love that finally chooses you
. That is, of course, a convenient excuse to explain away the sheer lunacy of falling in love. Maybe that is exactly why loving someone always merits metaphors of accidents: falling
in love, love is blind
, a broken
heart, a certain madness
. Because "love" does not make sense. Because it plays a juggling act of reason and logic. Because its overriding drive springs from the animal truth that starts out as a fluttery ache from within, and finally spreads as a lightheadedness or a warming to the nether regions between our legs or inside our hearts. And when it catches you, it completely overwhelms. The only way to survive love's onslaught is to succumb to it.
In my life, there are, of course, the other minor lovers in between, but they are lost in the shadows of consideration -- fleeting and stupid romances whose gravity existed only in the moment, but became only a blur in the final analysis. Sometimes I ask myself whatever possessed me to consider these unfortunate creatures as contenders for the heart: and how unthinking I must have been to stake happiness in their possibilities of loving me. They are faceless. Only the two remain clear as the insistent tugging of the heart.
When I met the First, it started out as a slow evolution that became a consuming passion. We met in rehearsals for a musical play, and discovered we had so much in common -- similarities that provided the engine for more discoveries, and so when the season was over, we came together. It was inevitable. We fit. We loved the same things. We finished each other's sentences. We connected in the strangest ways. We were both young, and that added fuel to passion. But sometimes the young have expectations of loving that exceed their capacities and sometimes their destinies. When I left for schooling outside the country, the distance between us ended everything. That was the start of how I became intimately acquainted with loss.
Sometimes I tell myself that I became a writer because I tried to use words to create a suitable fiction to explain our breaking separation. How many stories did I write to explain you?
Thousands. Most of which saw only the darkness of trash cans. For those which saw print, they became exorcisms to soothe a ravaged soul. It took many years, but wounds did heal.
When I saw the First again, it would be years later. Ten years had passed since our youth. We were much older. And I have become a better man -- someone no longer in love with a ghost, but knowing nonetheless that we were both important parts of each other's lives.
Still, the First told me once: "I am not sure I was ever
in love with you."
That ravaged me. Unsettled my past again. Because how then could we come to explaining those letters sent between us, those thousand "I love you's" becoming litanies on paper? The realization came that if this latest pronouncement was in fact the true state of old things, then what I must have lived through -- those two years when we were young together -- was all a lie
. That all those tears I had shed were all for nothing. That all those "I love you's" were as empty as a soulless ghost.
You must understand that was when I knew hate.
When I first met the Second, we knew at once that there was a chasm of differences between us. I had seen the Second around the city before, but we finally met through some strange circumstances when I was speaker for this or that, and the Second was the volunteer to assist me in what I had needed for the occasion. When we met again, many days later, there it was: that undulating possibility of connection. Still, I was wiser now, and more discerning, and too afraid of loving again. But how do you say no to falling? When the gravity strikes, there is no other choice but to dive into the abyss. Only to find, in the comforts of the eternal falling, that while there are paramount differences between our character and between everything else, it is the opposite polarity that strangely binds.
And the love endures.
Because the Second is capable of love, and is not afraid.
In the end, you must understand that this is really the story of a boy who first falls for one, and then falls for another. And becomes, finally, a man. In each falling, he finds a paragon of how to love, and consequently how to live. In the first there is heartbreak -- no matter the similarities -- because there is denial. In the second, no matter the differences, there is life, because there is finally an infinite acceptance.
This is my love story.
Labels: life, love
 This is Where You Bite the Sandwich
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