Archives for category: mad about love

I have a playlist called “not listening to AM”. Goodbye to your posturing, vapid curiosity.


photopinI look forward to the time that I can breathe freely around you. I know I will get better. I know I will stop feeling this way.

The breaking of my heart is a passing thing. This is my path now, to walk with a dying love, stillborn, unviable. Stop all the efforts to resuscitate. I have had enough with prolonging the pain.

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I am entering that phase where rejection has become necessary and pulling him out of my system feels like an exorcism of sorts.

That afternoon, the calm I used to bask in was suddenly gone and his mere presence was an earth-shattering disturbance that required all my deliberation to ward off. My heart raced to a speed that I could not bear with a force I could not endure. “Stop, enough” became a mantra that worked for a while to quiet my inner torment; but the struggle was wearisome.

Within a few hours, my agitation grew and my will weakened. In still chaos the air around me became thick and oppressive. Adrenaline flooded my blood until sitting still became impossible. In a snap, something pushed me to run, to flee, and to catch my breath and my resolve that had precipitously forsaken me. Without thought except to force air into my lungs, one foot fell before the other as tears uncontrollably flooded my eyes. I lost all hold over myself and I was filled with shame for this failing.

Then I realized that I was literally lost. Other people began to populate my world again, in particular those who might be worried that I have disappeared. I regained the concept of space and time, of where I was and where I needed to be. Keenly, I felt the solid earth beneath me, the cool air around me, and a new calm entered me.

It is not our time. He is not mine. He may never want me. I find these thoughts more palatable now, although it stings now and then. Our conversations in my mind have ceased and I think of him less, or at least I can now bring myself to stop the reel. I don’t want to be angry and I want to stop running. I want to stop tainting this with my sharp selfish desire. I want to stop holding on to the possibilities I have created in my head of what he and I could become.

It is not our time and time is something he and I may never have. I wonder if I should be the more assertive one, if I could move things along in our favor. Then I remember that that is not the love that I want.

I think that I want love to come to me in languid slowness, at the exact same rate I am prepared to unravel.  In love I want to learn patience and trust and perhaps some kindness. I have never been the fighting type; I am done with clawing and raging. I want love to tread quietly, to whisper in my ear, “I have come.”

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I have come to crave the calm of being in the same room as you.

It used to be unsettling: the sudden quieting of thoughts and release from restlessness. I was bothered by the psychological and physical ease your mere presence offered. How could you have such an effect on me when you actually give so little?

On my own I tried to suppress the constant meandering of my mind to conversations with you, but the tide is too strong so on and on I flow into my imaginary you.

For the second time this month, as has become our ritual, we, just the two of us, rode side by side in a small pedicab for twenty minutes to pick up my car. I have come to memorize the slope of your back, the abominable length of your sideburns, the clean freshness of your soap. In total silence I resist every urge to touch you, stand still at the threshold of intimacy. I languish in a chaste and silent distance, weak with yearning. Yet, it is the best twenty minutes of my week.

By the way, I love it when you wear pink.

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photopinI wonder if these feelings are worth dissecting at all. Around you, I am unsettled at best, flummoxed at worst. In your absence, there is the perpetual echo of your memory floating in my mind.

I think it is something milder than attraction. It is an attentiveness of sorts. The way you draw everyone into your tragedy, the way everyone feels the need to look after you and see to your well-being, I don’t think that I am immune to it. Perhaps it is this that I am mistaking for some species of … desire?

Unfortunately, my mind has latched on to this improper emotional assignment and beyond my control, fed it to the hollow recesses of my being that craves that unknowable heretowith unreachable thing called love. Now I am stuck with these indeterminate feelings of annoyance that occasionally swing to desperate longing.

As I have done with others who have thrown me into this madness, I map you on the trajectory of hopeless affairs. In that context, my current affliction is mild, primarily because for the most part, the sickness is in my head, with no real world correlates.

True, I think of you constantly, literally of nothing else. But when I am actually with you, all guards are up and I cannot reach you. Curiously, as the number of days we spend apart increases, so does my agitation; yet, in the same room I am suddenly calmed, even if we do not talk. (Although perhaps this is another misrepresentation of my emotions. When I am away from you my mind is free to run wild with romantic notions, magnifying my longing exponentially. When I am with you I see the empty reality, quashing the longing at once.)

I imagine these words passing between us and I see clearly the wall of baffled concern on your face, because of all things, it is the vulnerable that one is sorriest to reject. At the same time it is that fragility that makes drawing the line as early as possible necessary. And I think that you would do the necessary thing.

There is nothing to do now, except be a friend. Fact is, I cannot escape that I care about you. My selfish desire merely gets in the way of truly listening to what you want to say, of letting you do what you need to do. These days, above all, you need a friend.

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It started slow, with instinctive wariness whenever you looked back into my eyes while asking a question, making a statement, offering apologies. A part of me knew from those first few days that I was in danger of feelings uninvited.

Then in one smooth stroke you blew the gates open, telling me your secret: she’s left you. As off limits as before now I could no longer help the bubble that grew inside my chest whenever you’re near. Everyday I struggled with bottling the feeling of absolute effervescence. All my efforts would be so consumed that to hold on to mere threads of consciousness I’d resort to counting my own hitched breaths.

I don’t know where it comes from, this tight and maddening infatuation. I have no rational interest in you. I have an endless list of reasons we make a poor match. Still your nearness drives me mad.

In a couple of weeks most of my thoughts consisted of you. With you, heart pounding in chest, I held back the dizzying urge to touch you. Away from you, I rehearsed the will to keep reasonable distance away from you.

How can I help it as you continue to pour yourself into me, so that in my universe I can imagine, only I could know you so well, only I could bring you up from the place you fell?

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Looking back at what I have written, I have apparently put an end to this madness several times over. Obviously without much success. But after today it must end.

This weekend we went hiking, you and her and other friends. At the point of my own motivational death, aggravated by and aggravating physical nausea, in my head, I cursed my weakness, my past, my future, my life. My knees buckled beneath me as strength slipped away with every labored breath. A migraine crouched threateningly at the back of my right eye. You hung back with me and urged me on: my lack of fitness more than an annoyance, your concern touching. I managed to reach the camp site, exhausted, but glad for the company, specially you.

Days earlier, despite the you-and-me scenarios that ran wild in my mind, I had told myself that this was your weekend with her, as a budding couple, or to become one, or whatever stage it was you two were trying to be towards becoming a couple. All reports confirmed your general trajectory. But as usual, my heart slipped out of sync with my head and I reverted back to imagining us and what we would do. I dared to skirt the dangerous (not that you were ever in any danger), cruel and selfish line, we flirted like we used to, and laughed easily. She was being awkward and aloof.

Overcome by my love for her (I love her more than you) at some point in the evening I lapsed back into doing the dutiful thing, pushing you to her, until you finally left me, to spend the rest of the night under the stars in sleeping bags side by side. Under the same stars, I was left alone, wrapped in a blanket of frigid wind in gusts, until I told myself to turn in and call it a night.

Unfortunately for me, the universe deemed necessary that I stand witness to what I have always claimed to know but never fully took to heart. Throughout the night, floating just beyond the thin polyester wall of my tent was your baritone whisper. You talked for hours and she listened, laughed at appropriate times and sounded sympathetic. The stories flowed out of you like rain and I was caught in the storm. Insufferable restlessness grew into a powerful gnawing need to escape, but I could not get out and walk away without being seen. Inside, I could not drown out your voice, no more than a murmur, with the cacophony of loud noises from other campers. Try as I might, I could not completely put the two of you out of focus.

I could not deny at that point how fit you were for each other, how already you two have taken to your respective molds. I felt the nausea from earlier that afternoon build up again, this time as I was climbing a mountain of heartbreak.

The night seemed endless, one of the longest I had ever experienced, sleeping and waking in fits, conscious for far greater time than unconscious. Before the trip I pictured us together, as you were with her, perhaps with less chaste, and this desire burned into the space inside my tent. Slowly and excruciatingly this illusion was stripped down by the sound of your voice mixed in with her laughter and sympathy. Resigned, I lay down with my head down the slope, away from your conversation, to look at the stars and complain about this cruelty. Exhausted once more, I felt calmer and managed a couple of hours of sleep, but only after you two tired of talking much much later.

I woke up just before sunrise and walked to sit at the side of the mountain. As the sun slowly crept up over the peak, it spilled grey dusty light over the plains below and it turned the rocky face of the cliff into varying shades between gold and red. I was suddenly reminded of that time by the river one morning after another catastrophe with A. I could not remember which chapter of my self-destruction it was but I could remember the freshness of the morning, the cold end-of-winter air and looking out at the crew team rowing in synchrony as their boat sliced through the black surface of the Charles. Just like back then I searched the purity of what was before me for something to wash away the ugly brokenness inside. Unlike back then, this time I could say, at least in the crucial moment, I did the right thing in staying away and urging you forward. In the face of the world’s raging beauty, I also searched for the resolve to end this.

From here on I cannot just feign indifference, I have to actually be indifferent. I do not think I can make myself happy for you, but I think I can keep at doing the dutiful thing for your happiness.

So this is my last letter to you. Maybe the day will come when I may have to explain myself, maybe the day will come when I will let you read this and it will help you understand what the past two years has been like. Maybe I will never have to.