I’m not sure when this happened.
When did such a beautiful poem turn into a horror story?
There was once such beautiful prose here, now left to gratuitous scenes of violence and mayhem. I can still see the beautiful flowers she once wore in her hair. Now I can only see her eyes roll at my words as I get lost in her cold and distant stares.
Those eyes. They once healed me whole with wave after wave of indescribable emotion. Now their coldness cuts right through me like some holy blade. That which once drew smiles from my soul now draws blood from my bones. The once soothing blanket of warmth in her smile now freezes me from the inside as her words echo in my head, and I am left a freezing, shivering mess in the space we once shared.
The once subtle voice within me is no longer so quiet, reminding me of what I was taught is the mark of a man. I must stand up and fight. I must be strong, and those voices of strength demand I get up off the floor and be heard, that I look my great love in the eye and give her some of her own medicine.
All I want to do is crawl up in a ball and wish the hands of time backward. When did we lose our connection? When did love become such a chore?
Why am I holding on to these broken shards of glass that are causing me so much anguish?
That last question gets me. Some may call it the light of inspiration. Others, a holy spirit. Me? I call it the flame of realization.
I want to blame her. She’s changed. Her motives weren’t pure. Her intentions were not sane. She’s known me from the beginning, there have been no surprises. Yet, she is not forcing me to hold onto this tortured shard. The flame bounces more, lighting up those corners in my mind left dark and dusty by long periods of dormancy. I can now see the blood making its way through the tiny gaps in my fingers, running down a forearm taut with the belief that letting go is somehow failure.
If I’m willing to cut myself so deeply for this, imagine what I’m willing to do to her.
The flame grows brighter. Have I ever really loved her? I mean really loved her? Have I made myself her equal partner? Have I covered her when she was cold, fed her when she was hungry or sheltered her from the storms of her life?
Perhaps I did surprise her. I stayed a sapling in the forest, resistant to the growth that love, and time, demand. She stood tall among trees, while I hid in the shadow pretending to be a mighty oak.
I hear the voices, and I don’t like the answer. She hasn’t changed as much as I’ve tried not to. She hasn’t forgotten me, I’ve forgotten her. She hasn’t left me, I’ve rejected her.
Waves of love pour over me as the tears roll down my face. It’s time to let go. Each chain I remove from me, I remove from her. Each bar of these prison walls I tear down, she also gets closer to freedom. There is no argument in listening, and there is no restraint in letting go. In letting go there is liberation, and in liberation there is love.
And in love, there is everything.
Those broken shards of glass now digging at me are sharp edges I have used against myself. I grasp, I cut, and I hold on for far too long. Each shard is a memory, an agreement I once made with myself as a boy who fought to live, who had never felt love at all.
She was done with me, that much was certain, but I was not done with her. Lovers are like that. They are great mirrors we place along the spaces of our trusted prison walls. Some will tell us what we want to hear, that we are the fairest in all the land. Others will tell the truth, exposing us to our greatest strengths and our greatest weaknesses.
Most of all, they show us the way to our greatest potential, while leaving it up to us to find it.
The first step is letting go. One by one those shards of glass have fallen to the ground, and a great healing has occurred. Sure, I can still feel the scars, but even they are starting to fade. Unlike the healing of flesh, the emotional scars I have accumulated along the way have taken a conscious effort to heal. I didn’t just wake up one day healed. Healing is something you want, something you do and, mostly, something you practice.
The voices of then are never truly silenced. Instead, I’ve created new voices, new agreements that better suit the life I choose to live. These new voices never drown out the old ones, instead they work together like a great symphony. Sometimes I’ll just break out in a smile or a fit of laughter for what others see as no reason.
I just love the harmony I hear.
There are infinite versions of her scattered about in the story of my life, each directing me, telling me about their idea of me and the life I should lead. Each one challenges me to the moment of choice, and each choice challenges my discipline to those agreements I’ve made. They also expose me to a truth, a truth to the real accords that are floating around in my mind, as well as the truth to devotion to happiness I’ve always wanted to enjoy.
With each end, with each passing friend, with each exile I just smile through the short suffering of loss. Finally, after years of trying to be true to them, I now remain true to me. For once I am willing to lose in order to gain, and I am ready to sing a mantra that needs to be heard. The amazing part is that there are now voices that have risen up in a purity of love I once thought nonexistent. I haven’t lost at all. Rather my cup has been emptied of wine bitter to my palate, replaced with sweet tea much more to my liking.
The above is an abbreviated excerpt from Gyandeva’s book, “The Voices,” coming soon. You can find updates and new stories on his Facebook page by clicking here.
Author: Tom Grasso
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Hartwig HKD at Flickr