We Are Never Close Enough

Perhaps it is the personality trait which also leads me, when confronted with an open bag of chips, to be unable to stop mindlessly crunching away until the entire bag is gone. As though my devouring of what only a moment ago seemed plentiful was done in some kind of fugue state, I’ll stare for a moment at the empty foil and wonder how I could have simply forgotten to stop eating. I would hate to think that the way I feel when we’re together is most aptly compared to the way I look at a generous bag of Lay’s, but it is possible that the “never enough” arc that spans my life manifests in both profound and greasily mundane ways.

When I am with you, though, there is always a desire for a certain kind of closeness that feels at once constantly present and never fully achieved. While it’s true that our love hums in the background like a car whose engine is infallibly reliable, there is also a need for ever-higher peaks that seems to echo the reaching, scratching desperation of a junkie. But to be close is to be what, exactly? Perfectly honest? Inside one another? Sharing everything that can be shared between two people? Maybe it’s all of these at once, and yet the satisfaction of “Yes, we are fused, this is good,” is never quite reached.

The quiet desperation of wanting to hear more and not knowing how to ask for it, of wanting to slice another person open so you can examine their soul on a cold metal table under unflattering fluorescent light — it feels sick. There is no magnifying glass which can quite reach the degree of detail that I want, and so I pull out the microscope: “What is your worst childhood memory?” “What do you love most about yourself?” “Do you want to become like your parents?” With every answer, drawn out over coffee and wine and all manner of public transportation, I feel myself tapping the glass, looking in through the window at the life of proximity my entire body seems to ache for.

Even in moments where there is nothing but the two of us — naked, alone, unafraid to say exactly what we think — my arms feel limp and ineffectual when trying to wrap themselves tight enough against your back. My face can only be buried so far into your chest before it begins to hurt, before the closeness becomes a sneering reminder of how ridiculous all of this reaching is. What exactly am I trying to do when I press my body against the entire length of yours? Do I think that our skins will suddenly melt into one another and form — what exactly? An entity in which we are no longer even separated by two inconvenient bodies? That cannot be what I want.

And yet, there is always this incredible need to reach a more profound ocean floor, always searching for another abyss to fall into where I once thought I had reached the deepest point. Perhaps it is the greediness — the same one so succinctly manifested in my insatiable finishing of my bag of chips — that keeps me always looking for something to make more and more my own. Is it ridiculous to feel an occasional pang of jealousy at every bed that you lay in alone, of every stranger you smile at, of every insignificant thing that gets a piece of that closeness and contact? Of course it is. Life is not meant to be doled out in carefully divvied-up morsels, leaving one person with not quite enough because you were overly generous with another. The life that we live separate from one another should serve only to enrich what we possess together.

I know this. You know this. It is one of those things that we accept as a universal truth, but find so difficult to apply in practice when your entire body feels cold and you long to press against the person who feels, at least temporarily, like a tiny little sun. Perhaps it is the love that I am chasing as it pours down, arms outstretched with buckets and bowls, trying not to let a single drop slip by me — as though absorbing every last part of another human were even possible. No, I know there is going to be something left over, something always left over. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Vincent

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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