Like your beard I couldn’t tame you, I was quick to learn that wasn’t our style.
Ambiguity was your forte, tenacity mine. Chemistry was our Achilles heel.
Those of inquisitive nature are often drawn to the mysterious, captivated most by those who aren’t easily understood. There’s a peculiar charm in a guarded soul, when what we can only imagine is leverage for time investment. The result is a lifelong dedication to emotional archaeology, much like a game of Minesweeper on a planet where red flags are personal challenges.
Your triumph over the delicate balance between revealing yourself and ducking for cover is something worth admiring. Alternating at will between both in your arbitrary way. You’d be in a different mood two hours after the first one, and again – suited in armour or otherwise, in the ensuing hours. Something in this was remarkably alluring, like Russian roulette for the soul.
Now, not knowing you seems like an absurd concept, but once all you were to me was a stranger with an inconveniently captivating appearance. I soon learnt that you looked beautiful when you slept and you left cinnamon scents on my pillow. I remember smoking a cigarette in bed the next day to mask the smell.
Your voice sounded quite familiar, but at the same time I’d keep you talking just for the sheer joy of hearing it, the newness of you flooded my mind. It was nice to be stopped in my search for once, albeit temporarily.
You were a human of sparse affection, but one whose kiss was softer than expected. You danced like a burning man and when nobody was looking you held a very serious expression. During these quieter moments when you thought nobody was aware, things happened. You watched, processed and absorbed your environment; like Attenborough behind the V60. I wondered where the knowledge went, because you alluded to it so rarely. I assumed you to be someone that never remembered, the inadvertently absent minded type – yet when was least expected you’d pull a forgotten detail and throw it down into the ring – a verbal gauntlet. Just for fun.
Like undressing you, the moments began to charm after the layers fell away. You stayed the night. You went to work. You came back. You stayed another night, and when I left you were still wrapped up in my sheets.
Lego men and Spirographs were a source of high amusement; anyone would be forgiven for occasionally thinking you had ADD. You could be heard from neighbouring suburbs, marvelling in the sharpness of an espresso blend or appealing to anyone who would listen about the eternal, sinful downfalls of a poorly executed high five. Occasionally there’d be debate regarding the appearance of well-cooked bacon.
Part Jim Stark, part Garth Algar – your presence seemed achievement enough; until it was clear you’d been planning all along. Calculating. Your face gave nothing away but your mind was ticking furiously. If you poked around enough, details came out and the intellect was scarily clear. Like the dinosaurs you drew, if prompted you just might be unstoppable. You’ve got extraordinary inside of you. I wished you’d harness this.
Late one night, you tore off your shirt and left it crumpled on the floorboards. I knew you needed it the next day, so I placed it on a hanger. You watched me, your expression unreadable. I crossed a line with my kindness.
Your tendency to regress to a five-year-old clashed terribly with my obtrusive nature. We became an unnatural disaster; the emotional tectonic plates became steadily incongruent. Any will power inconveniently seemed to melt when you were in the equation. We became only about ego, points were awarded to the one that wouldn’t give in. Exhibiting values and thoughts is the most courageous thing one can do. To put yourself on a plate for the world to gaze at, pick at, taste test. Yet we wouldn’t, we didn’t. We each had a cavalry of defence; it was survival of the (un) fittest.
We’d built our castle from the debris of relationships past. You were known to infuriate me; I was known to push you too far. Yet when we were alight we burned like New Year’s Eve with an equal crowd. The puzzle made sense in the eyes of many; veiled as passion, arguments would dissolve with laughter, those eyes would roll and the wounds would scar only behind the cubicle door. Battle scars became trophies, mementos of moments invested. I’m still not sure what we were fighting for.
We chased our tails and time moved by. I’d stumble home, you wouldn’t follow. I would wear matching underwear; my bedside table was covered in cards.
Fallout numero uno was pitiful at best. We’d give off sparks of light and laughter when in the same room. But overnight, protocol was to turn our backs and divert our eyes, occupy ourselves with whatever was a valid distraction. In reality, we were dissolving inside. We seemed hell bent on closing the holes we’d opened; eradicating any space we’d once filled with the other. To become the humans we used to be, to polish our tainted self worth into shape. Cover the fact we’d cared with a method of months of avoidance.
It galvanized the worst in us and rotted pre-existing cavities in our characters. Spite and awkwardness are a lethal combination, when actions conflict with desires. We wanted to treat each other well, but we didn’t know how. We lost our unique brand of love, it seemed we were all or nothing.
Then you were there and I was there, at that party down the road. In one hand you held a bottle of Whiskey, your other hand held mine. We came back. Back like before, back like we’d be after we would inevitably leave. After we’d licked our wounds, after we’d given up for the thousandth time. Like no time had elapsed, willing to jump into the fire and let it do as much damage as we could handle. We’d occurred for long enough now that it only became more comical rather than painful, when we broke apart and tiptoed away from each other. Like sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night, it was a habit formed by the knowledge that we were both there, and nobody had yet filled the hole in the heart that held only the idiosyncrasies of it’s counterpart.
We were cowards. We let history win. Terror ensured our reluctance to get involved, though we knew what we could have been. We hesitated, we considered, we went back and forth. It was our only similarity; we’d both been through total bullshit that changed us, involuntarily influencing our attitudes toward what relationships are. All of that we knew, yet we were unable to fix ourselves.
The difference was this: I was willing to take the risk. I still am. I saw you, you and all your flaws. And I think I loved you anyway.
I knew what was at stake; I knew these frivolous undertakings inevitably end. If we were to go down in flames, if we were to destroy each other, to go to the darkest of places, to visit the most frustrating, lonely, angry or disappointed realms in The Land of Tortured Endings, at least we would have had fucking tried. I was willing to risk it all, for the sake of being alive. For the joy of doing more that merely existing, with you.
The apocalypse 2.0 was our very own piece de resistance.
You challenged and I reacted. You pointed to the door and we erupted. It was always going to end this way. We put on quite an impressive show, the storm above us a mere support act in contrast. Soaked to the bone, our every nerve was alight. We had an audience; they knew what they were in for. I fired up and walked away, you locked your grip and pulled me back leaving fingerprints on my arms. You tore around, walked off and I didn’t allow it, my palms left bruises on your chest. We should have ended before we started so long ago. Belting out trivial lists of the others indiscretions, neither of us would relinquish the idea of together. Fear of regret kept us on that street, dominating logic and erasing any residual love. This night ruined more than just us. Bored hearts make bad decisions.
We needed to reach a dizzy height if the fall was to be spectacular enough to satisfy me. At last we were destroyed.
So much of who you are is lost in translation; seldom few have the ability to take you like the coffee you serve – distinct, strong, layered.
Some of them tickle and some of them itch. Some are on the front of your face.
All are yet to leave a lasting scar.