“Things I Would Like to Do with You.” is now available! It’s eco and lovely. Get your copy here.
“Love is never lost.
If not reciprocated, it will flow back
and soften and purify the heart.”
~ Washington Irving
I would like to say that I am sorry I loved you so clumsily.
We began, you and I, with some real connection. Curiosity.
I met you a few times. You worked here, there…I was all over town, so we must have run into each other every third day, in the way young women and men have met for generations after generations.
At some point, I said hello, or you said hi—and we began to get to talk and get to know one another. Another month or two of life lived and we would run into each other a few more times.
We began to be something like friends.
At some point, in some moment, I kind of asked you out and you said yes, so I straightforwardly asked you out and you said yes. Then you said maybe.
Maybe means lunch.
We met up, our dogs in tow. We sat outside. You were kind, caring, warm, flattering—all from a cool distance. You were externally beautiful; you moved with internal beauty—your eyes lit up with mischief.
I remember I was so broke, I paid for that first sunny Spring lunch with shiny silvered change. I had entrepreneured a successful business, with big shows that you had been a part of—but now I had begun transforming my business, and in so doing lost my staff, my office, and given up my car. Soon, my home would nearly fall into foreclosure. I was weak, but stubborn.
As we became closer I became surprised, then disappointed, then irritated by your consistent lack of communication. And you became hurt, frustrated with my impatient, insecure arrogance.
Mostly, we did not see one another: we saw shimmering silver mirages. I found it impossible to find you. We argued beautifully—in messages, in texts, and one time, on a nightdarkened green hillside just above a big art party. The wind from the wild mountains above us slowed and curled around the nighted trees above our foolish heads.
I had no idea how to relate to you. I had no idea how to be friends with you. I stepped forward, and you stepped back. I turned around to leave, and you stepped forward. I tried, I tried—and in the trying I lost the possibility of having you in my life. I asked and yes, and checked in and sorry, and asked again and you did not even respond, and I asked again and… frustrated, I cut things off, and you replied angrily, and sweetly. And I apologized…and you did not respond. We repeated this cycle once a month.
But there was a wisdom in your lack of communication! I wanted to love you and be friends with you and for you to love me and be friends with me. I offered you my heart, but you tested me and found that I was not yet relaxed in my confidence in my goodness. I offered you my heart, but you saw that I could not yet see you as you were.
Finally, you broke it off or I broke it off. And that is the sad joke of us—there was no “it” to break off, there was no “us” to lose. We had not been lovers. We had not, even, ever been friends.
But we had been teacher and student: you humbled me—you held up an illuminating mirror to my mind, and showed me the aggression in my affection.
It has now been many years since I have seen you. Recently, I asked you to reconnect, and we did so. Our reconnection brought me back to those distant yet recent, sad sweet bitter days, in the way a smell of juniper might time travel me to another decade in another place.
How far I have come, and yet…I still have no idea how to be friends with you.
You have been the most frustrating woman I have ever known. And for that, I thank you. You taught me to breathe with confidence in my goodness. You reminded me to be gentle in my affection.
As a wise woman said, if we can free our love of greed, our broken sweet heart may become a force for service, rather than selfishness.
May our relationships teach us.
May we aim to awaken, instead of merely defending our confusion.
May our intention in love be to benefit all, and not merely to get what we want.
May our love life be gentle, and honest, even when it can not be fun, or happy.
True love is borne in correct intention.
Life is hard, sometimes. Sometimes it is rich and dear. If we would like to take it easy, we should instead wish to be rooted in our vulnerability.
You helped awaken, and then break my heart. Thank you.