i used to be a love poet
composed notes unsung
dangling by heartstrings
exposed wound on the line.
i used to write love poems
dripping wet and wanting with need
seeking healing through
endless analyses of all the ‘he’s who hurt me.
i used to be a love poet
the angst, the agony
it all felt the same.
she tried to live in the moment, and employed various tactics to assist this process - yoga, meditation, sex. it was difficult to quiet the critical loop in her mind, the seemingly endless internal monologue which chronicled her failures and shortcomings with biting accuracy. occasionally she became aware of her thoughts, would catch one roaring above the others and snatched it as she would a moth, willing it’s death. despite her lack of success with being mindfully present, she preferred that struggle over hoping, a practice she decided in her youth was futile and useless. aside from a vague, unconscious wish to wake up alive every morning she refused to allow herself any hopes projected onto the future. she rationalized that she would never feel disappointment if she had no expectations, which fit neatly in her mind conceptually. yet, she found herself enjoying certain experiences - the feeling of safety when he put his arms around her, the warmth of his body as she curled into him, his lips on her neck - and these she realized, with horror, she wanted to last. the sensation of being held and kissed was so wonderful that it sent fantasies dancing out of her head right out into the open. and once returned from the escape of euphoria, she became angry for foolishly permitting herself to dream.
she often had trouble sleeping. there was always something to worry about. a heavy sleeper as a child, she’d outgrown the ability to get through the night without waking up. she lay under the covers, listening to the sounds of her apartment - the low, periodic hum of the refrigerator, the creak of the wooden floorboards from her upstairs neighbor’s footsteps, the slam of a door down the hall. it wasn’t the sounds that kept her awake. it was her thoughts. the list of errands she had to run. the bills that still weren’t paid even though it was the 7th of the month. the phone call to the student loan company she avoided making. there were other worries, too. those were more existential and the most unnerving. persistent questions about her purpose, her life path, what the hell she was supposed to be doing. occasionally she caught a glimpse of something - an opening, a new thought, an absence of blame. but quickly, it left her.
she had fantasies, imagined herself doing things - hiking a mountain, painting a mural, standing on a beach. the mental image was pleasing but she could never quite let go of the need to know, to plan. where is this beach? how will i get there? will i have to quit my job? moments of freedom eclipsed by yet another unanswered question. the constant anxiety, always present. and the disturbing thought that there must be something wrong with her.
what bugged her the most was not knowing what she wanted. she felt no sensation of desire, no emotional pull toward something specific. she believed she was supposed to want something, someone. “surely there must be something i want, otherwise i would be dead.” she had heard of people dying from loneliness, but never from lack of wanting. she lay in the dark, alone, trying to focus her mind, willing it to land on the one thing she craved the most. but nothing was there.
"write about not being able to write," he said, his back to me, wet from the shower.
"i’ve exhausted that," i responded. he chuckled, and began rubbing oil into his beard. i made that oil for him, carefully mixed and presented in an amber glass bottle, to help him clear up his skin and stop the itching. i liked the beard. and i liked making things for him. i’d also made him a beard refreshing spray with witch hazel which he never used. i imagined that when we moved in together the medicine cabinet would be full of my homemade oils and potions that we would share. my affection for him nestled in his scent - the almond and soap smell of him, the coconut in his hair, the warmth of the space between his neck and collarbone. he smelled like safety, like home, like things still being where you left them when you returned.
"well, what have you been thinking about lately ?" he asked.
i wanted to tell him that i couldn’t stop thinking about us, our relationship, my fantasies of moving in, marriage, motherhood. that lately all i could think about was how strange and wonderful it was that i finally found the person i want to be with for the rest of my life, and i felt incredibly loved. that the care he shows for me on a regular, consistent basis makes me realize how much i adore being cared for. that i finally stopped struggling with wanting to be taken care of, wanting to be a wife and mother, wanting to be chosen.
i smiled at him at the other end of the bed, pulling on his socks. “nothing,” i answered. and started typing.