Love is not a reward for good behavior.
Letting yourself forget that makes for sticky, messy times and eventual heartbreak. It's a thought I've been having, thinking about conversations, relationships and the experience of my friends.
But that's not why, on the longest day of the year, I can't bring myself to watch the sky. For the first time in a while I feel comfortable in my own skin. Safe in me. Not hiding, just being alone. At home. As alone as one can be with a kitten attacking your feet with every trip to the kitchen.
I have been trying to decide what I want and what I can do to make it happen in the wake of my own minor tragedy.
I believe you can fall for someone in an instant. I believe in love at first sight. But its the dedication, the reverence and the steadiness that get you past that first flush.
And we never had that. With this one, I hoped it would come. I had begun to think it was growing. But it isn't something one can do on one's own. If I could have willed it into existence, God it would be taking over Brooklyn right now, casting its shadow across the city. I wanted him that much.
Things do not always take the course we would like, and sometimes, letting go of your hopes and embracing reality is a scary path. It's hard to accept that you have no control over the course your own life takes when you imagine a future that's contingent on someone else's choices.
It's hard to accept things in which you are not given a say. To have something inflicted upon you without letting yourself become a victim in tragedy -- whether Shakespearean or playground variety.
To let go of someone you believed was yours.
I loved how much he loved his garden. I loved how his hand felt in mine. I loved how he would sigh and smile and lean over and kiss my temple.
I made space for him in my home and in my life. I bought him a toothbrush.
Yet, I did see myself becoming less myself vying for attention amid the swirling chaos of another person's life. I could never have lived like that for long. I'd have evolved into a shell of me, and I have done that before. You wind up as dry and brittle as a snakeskin. Cast off. Frozen in time. Wondering why you weren't as valuable to someone as a nap.
I felt like I had to sometimes jump up and down and wave my arms and say "Hey! I'm over here! Remember, the woman you held as you slept last night. Who you kissed goodbye this morning and smiled down at like she was the sun."
But I wrote this myself, in my post on family:
But, and I have both learned and hoped that this is true, those who love you will take whatever curve balls you throw them -- whether it be having a "not eating carbs" phase or finally confessing your own battles with suicidal depression, addictions and fear -- and they catch them. They might bobble the ball. They might even drop it. But they will pick it back up. And hold it, staring at it lovingly and solemnly.
And then they will look up. And really, really see you.
And love you even more.
That's what we all deserve, and if that's not how we would feel about each other, perhaps he has done me a favor. I wanted to see him. He chose otherwise.
Love is neither a reward for good behavior nor something one needs to fear losing when one truly, beautifully, opens.
It only gets stronger.