How do you know if you’ve ever truly been in love?
What people overlook about love is that it’s an emotion and emotions are generally transient. And love – in the ‘true love’ sense – is a pretty intense emotion. Sometimes it burns out completely and leaves you wasted and empty. Other times it fades, slowly, becoming a warm kind of attraction and a sense of attachment to the familiar. It’s that one that people want. Someone to keep you company while you do stuff to pass the time until your time runs out.
But then you miss that feeling. You miss the chase, you miss being desired. You miss the way every interaction suddenly, subtly, changes between you once you both realise how much you want each other. You miss the feeling under your ribcage when you think about that person, knowing that they’re thinking about you as well. You feel hopeful again. More possibilities open up, and life is always more exciting when you have more possibilities to explore.
Some people can ignore this nostalgia, whilst some people have a sentimental streak.
It’s intoxicating. It’s addictive. It’s uncontrolled imagination.
You can sustain the exciting kind of love for many, many years by never letting it fully satisfy its hunger. You can explore at great length but you can only go so far. While there is still something you cannot have, you will always desire it – and if it was something you fell in love with from the moment you first encountered it, then how can you ever forget about it?
I fell in love when I was 16, with someone who I couldn’t have for many reasons. Everything was against us. We’d get close and something would knock us back even further than before. But I couldn’t stop myself from wanting him, and he wanted me too. We fucked in secret and taught each other all the tricks we’d learned that we couldn’t share with the people we were supposed to be sleeping with. I trusted him with my life. He was my respirator and I was in servitude. We just couldn’t figure the rest of it out.
I moved away, and I wrote a letter to his old address a few months later. In the short time I’d been away, his parents also moved and my letter went unread and unanswered. Years passed, and I tried not to think about him because I was sure that he’d be happy and wouldn’t want anything else to do with me…. until one day when he found me online, and we got talking again, and everything we’d bottled up or had once found and then lost just came tumbling out once more. This time the snag was that he lived in one county, engaged to someone, and I lived in a different county, engaged to someone else. We put off meeting. We couldn’t risk it. A few more years passed. He married and divorced, while I ran away from my wedding. I move again. He tracks me down once more. He finds my blog. I panic and delete it.
This could have gone on forever. The way we made each other feel with nobody any the wiser. The way we were always each other’s second thought. The way that our hearts had found a strange way to be faithful. There was so much love.
But we met up again and we choked the life out of it. So it goes.
Even the most outrageously willing devotees need some form of encouragement, or they waste away to skeletons at your feet.
I’m going to turn you into make-believe.