The Reality of Love

Love is not always precise,

It is not always convenient,

It is not always accepted,

It is not always perfect

 

It is often complicated and messy,

It tears us open in new ways – unimaginable before their conception,

It causes us to breathe with ache and desire,

And goes to peer into the deepest reaches of ourselves with it’s light showing us for our true selves despite our string of protests

 

The reality of love is that it is flawed in the most beautiful way,

It exposes us against our will and shows that our vulnerabilities are as large and as wide as we feared,

That we are lined with creavasses and valleys so deep that they seem to be able to swallow the entire sea,

It shows that our hearts are not made of stone but of blood and silk

 

Love is not always welcomed,

Love is not always desired,

But it is always precious,

Even if we refuse it

 

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Conceding Victory

I think we can both safely assume that you won

Not that life is a competition, or anything like that,

But if it were,

If breakups had losers and winners,

And if love really is akin to war like I’ve read so many times,

Than I think it’s fair to say that you won,

Because in the end you’ve gotten what you wanted all along, right?

You’ve got the boyfriend you’ve always wanted,

The one who was never as physically inferior as I was,

The one who enjoys a night out more than me,

You’ve got the job you’ve always wanted,

You’ve got the lifestyle, body, friends, community,

Support, house, and what I can only safely assume down the road will be family,

That you’ve always dreamed about,

And that you’ve always insisted on

So, again, if life was a competition,

If the gauntlet had been thrown when we had ended,

And the race had started despite my protests,

I think it’s fair to say that you won

By all unbiased metrics,

You have been victorious

But what’s so strange about all of it is how I little I care,

Not about your happiness,

Seeing you happy makes me grateful that you made it out the other side,

Not only in one piece but complete

But how I little I care that I didn’t win

Even though I feel that I would be justified in my rage (if I possessed any) over the injustice of the entire situation,

After all – it wasn’t I who broke promises,

And it wasn’t I that hurt you so deeply,

And it wasn’t I that told you that we shouldn’t be together again because I was consumed with the idea of a stranger’s kiss,

It wasn’t me who took back my desires of a family,

Of building a home together

I feel that, in the grand scheme of things, that if this had all been written hastily by some underpaid scriptwriter who simply wanted to quickly collect his paycheck,

That the rejected hero (i.e me) would have been deemed to have had a successful comeback after meeting the girl of my dreams who would show me the meaning of true love,

And somewhere along the way you would realize the error of your ways just to try to win me over only to find that I’m in fact happier with said woman and our four kids in the perfect suburban house that we managed to find and not completely destroy our financial situation in the process

But that’s not the case, at all,

I don’t have the significant other,

I barely have time for friends,

I’m tired, clearly overworked, overstressed,

I’m not even done with college yet – which you managed to do and graduate with honors,

I have no plans of ever settling down in a suburban house,

Or even having my own family at this point,

Which, not even three years ago, I would have literally killed for

So, I clearly didn’t win,

And you did,

And for a period of time I consoled myself and at least believe that I managed to find religion when you clearly hadn’t,

And even that you found,

So whatever last line of defense I had in my self justification was wiped out completely,

And I can only admit that you won

Whether it’s fair or if it would make a good plot for a movie,

I have no idea

And I don’t really care

I hope you enjoy your victory,

Because society tells you that you should,

And after all – you’ve managed to gain everything that society says you should have,

While all I really have is a 70+ hour a week job and some college classes,

And society has clearly dictated who is the winner and who is the ultimate loser,

And whatever wrongs I committed to deserve such a fate I’ll let you decide,

God knows I wasn’t perfect

But even though I don’t have any of things and you do,

And the fact that by all standards of society I am so far left behind that comparison should simply end with a mercy kill,

I don’t care,

Because I honestly love my life,

And all of these trials, all of these burdens, all of these frustrations,

I’m thankful for all of them,

I’m thankful for the love that I have felt,

I’m thankful for the love that I’ve found I can feel for others,

I’m thankful for my job, I’m thankful for the friends I do have,

I’m thankful for my memories, I’m thankful for my future,

And I don’t really care if it ends with any of those things I’m supposed to want and/or need,

Or, quite frankly, if it even ends well for me,

I just don’t care,

Because I’m been thankful for every breathe I’ve gotten, and will continue to be grateful for every breath I continue to receive,

I don’t care if I get the significant other,

I don’t care if I get the family,

I don’t care if I get the body, the lifestyle, the friends,

The vacations,

Those things would be nice,

But they’re not what makes my heart beat faster,

And they’re not the reason I get up in the morning.

I get up because I have my purpose,

And I have my faith,

And that’s enough

And if you truly won,

If you are the victor in the competition known as life,

Then that’s fine,

If this is what losing feels like,

If this is second place,

I’ll gladly accept it,

Because it’s still so amazing,

And it’s still so much more than I deserve

all that matters

There’s a process to healing, I’ve learned,
it’s slow and awkward and there are times where you can’t really see your progression,
you don’t even know it’s happening because it just feels like nothing is moving fast enough for you,
and you wonder if somewhere along the lines if God somehow made a mistake,
and forgot that you were supposed to have moved on now

but you can’t

because you never even gave yourself time to

And you find yourself stuck somewhere between the past and the future,
and you can go as far as seeing alternative futures,
the future that you thought was going to happen back before,
and the future that you see now,
and you can’t really decide which one is better,
because you had been so convinced that the previous future would have been everything that you had ever wanted

But now you can see your new future,
and you’re not sure how it ends anymore,
because the other future’s ending had been so certain,
and you wonder if maybe you had taken a wrong turn somewhere,
and again you wonder if God had made a mistake

And now it’s later in your stages of healing and you begin to recognize all of the monumental moments in your life,
that you would have missed if you had indeed gone with the original future,
and you cry because you realize you are so, so thankful that you had missed out on certainty,
and that everything that you’ve seen and touched and experienced,
and all the pain and fear and discomfort you had felt,
that had all been a blessing,
and that you had been so focused on the end,
on the uncertainty,
that you didn’t take time to notice that all that time spent,
had spent getting better

And then one day you wake up and you realize you’re fine,
and that things are okay,
and that you’re still breathing,
but that you’re tired,
because it feels like you just finished running the longest race of your life,
but that you’re glad you did,
and that’s when you finally realize that there hadn’t been a single mistake made,
that God had known what He was doing,
and that if you had a choice,
you would have done everything exactly the same way all of over again

You’re still not sure how it ends,
but you also realize that’s not for you to decide,
all that you know is that you’re exactly where you need to be,
and that’s all that matters

The Treasured Pieces

There have been times in my life,

Where the entire world has shifted before my eyes

Where truth has become unfixed,

Promises become more wishful thinking than scientifically based fact,

Where betrayal, frayed nerves, and chaotic cacophonies all simultaneously resound loudly in my ears

It’s during those periods that I begin to wonder if my point of view will ever correct itself,

Or if this is less of a tilt and more of uncooperative permanent new direction

I believe that with each new change in perception,

Each crack that I find traced in the world around me,

That it would be easy for me to become more cynical of the world,

To simply assume that it contains nothing but disaster and foreboding

Because there are times,

That that’s all I can seem to observe

I have always managed to find, however, hope in the world around me,

I observe love in the warm embrace of kindled couples,

The joy of laughter shared between nonchalant friends,

And continue to manage to find naked stillness in beautiful moments

I read once that our efforts in this world aren’t simply based on whether or not we believe we are capable of them,

But whether or not we believe this world is worthy of our sacrifices

The couples that I see may one day fall out of love,

The friends may one day lose contact and never speak to each other ever again

Tragedy will continue to unfold and pain will endure,

Because this world is broken and in the end we are only human

But even though I believe that this world may be broken,

I also believe that there are pieces worth preserving

I just hope one day I can do my part to do so

Still Breaths – Flash Fiction Challenge

She glanced up briefly from her computer screen, allowing her eyes a quick respite from the strain of the words. They habitually darted towards the coffee bar then followed her neck in its arch towards the door. She saw him enter. His posture was rigid but not overly so. He carried with him a single book, it’s pages dog eared and creased to a point of abuse. His eyes were a soft blue that seemed to effortlessly engulf her. His hair sandy blonde, swept lazily to the side. He started his approach towards the counter, her heart stopping momentarily.

 

He walked with an air of confidence that caused her to follow him passively with her eyes. She had never before seen someone so beautiful before in her life, she thought to herself.

 

He pondered over the menu for a minute, placed his order, and then pivoted to go wait for his drink. Their eyes connected for a moment. She felt the blood rush to her face in a wave of hot embarrassment. In that instant, she saw entire world’s constructing and deconstructing in a seemingly infinite series of events before her mind’s eye. Her imagination shot forward furiously and carried with it her heart and rational senses. She saw them speaking, flirting, cuddling, bickering, weeping, counseling, supporting, dismissing, rekindling. She saw a house, family, a home. Entire lifetimes played out in an almost infinite loop in her mind, each one more confounded and beautiful than the last.

 

She casted her eyes down at the computer screen, and squeezed them shut. She sat there, rattled, begging her heart to stop its incessant pounding. A fear gripped her unexplainably, as if a curse had just been cast on her from an unknown source. This experience had been unlike anything she had ever known. Was this love? Was this that emotion that had collapsed entire civilizations? She opened her eyes reluctantly and held them positioned at the computer. The fear still clung to her tightly around her chest. After a breath, she glanced up.

 

He was gone.

unbroken

Her heartbeat had coursed through my own

 

Hers had been signaled through street lights and rush hour,

Haphazardly placed buildings and ruined neighborhoods,

Half split roads and uncertain characters

 

Mine through gallons of rushing blood pushed on by a well designed machine,

Meant to keep me alive even if I failed to notice

 

Our hearts were constructed in different forms,

But we shared a simple rhythm

 

She raged in anger and frustration,

Attempting to viciously tear me down

But, with the same stroke, built me up,

Helping me become more confident in my own words and actions

 

She showed me the virtues of patience and serenity,

And how beautiful a sunrise can be when you’re the only one who can hear your breathing

 

I saw her destroyed,

I helped her to be rebuilt,

She took from me unflinchingly,

And she gave me more than I ever expected,

 

Within her confines,

I built a small world,

And she let me call her my own,

Her attitude was dismissive,

Yet beautifully encroached,

Our routine becoming etched into my mind,

Like a road map that can never be unlearned

 

And even though we had barely spoken,

I knew that she was home

 

She let me rest in a time that was always uncertain,

But I had always been certain that she had been the right choice

 

And because of her,

My heart will forever remain

 

unbroken

 

The Contact, part 1

It was the same dream, again.

In the dream, I observed myself standing at the edge of a canyon looking down into a massive crevasse. My body stood rigidly, my face emotionless. Slowly I begin to see what it is that I’m looking at below me. Almost as if in a movie, my point of view turns to see a mangled heap of twisted metal, intertwined disturbingly with lifeless bodies. They resembled human bodies, but there was something off about them that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, almost as if they weren’t the same species as myself. The heap begins to resemble an unknown object, one that I had never seen before, but reminded me of something I had seen off a sci-fi movie. Suddenly, it would hit me like a forced epiphany.

It used to be a spaceship.

The bodies donned uniforms with insignia of various ranks and prestige, but the colors were hues I didn’t recognize belonging to any major nation state.

This had been a military spaceship that had crashed into the canyon.

The dream always ended the same way. I would be staring down at the wreckage, silent, grief stricken plainly all over my face. Then I would place one foot in front and start to plummet towards the wreckage.

That’s when I would wake up suddenly, my breathing strained from the imagined horror.

I had the dream repeat itself every night for around a week when they suddenly and inexplicably stopped. I had never mentioned them to my family or friends, unsure if any level of psychoanalysis would really produce any sort of applicable results.

After all, I wasn’t sure what a crashed spaceship would have to do with the strained relationship of my mother.

The week that the spaceship crash dream disappeared, I simply stopped dreaming. I would go to bed and then wake up, not sure if anything had transpired in my mind that night. It was the week after the week of no dreams that my dreaming started to slowly return, and began to take a strange and disturbing twist.

In my new set of dreams, I was now donning the uniform that I had seen in my original dream, surrounded by people dressed just like me and we were all wielding sleek and futuristic guns. Before us were waves and waves of horrified persons, screaming and running for their lives. We stood there unregretfully in a long line and shot what seemed to be little bolts of electricity into the backs of our fleeing victims. Those were the worst of the dreams. The dream would repeat itself, night after night – but each time there were new faces and different landscapes. The landscapes were varied, ranging from red soaked clay mountains to settlements that hung suspensefully in sun struck clouds. Everyone we shot though looked like us, their screams echoing through my ears. It felt like I dreamed the same nightmare for months.

During the chaos, I distinctly remember the feeling of horror and uncertainty. Why were we doing this? Who were we? I couldn’t speak in my dreams, but these questions pounded inside my racing heart as we repeatedly committed the atrocities.

I still wasn’t sure what they meant or why it was happening, I simply knew that they were. They reminded me of watching a movie, one that you’ve seen before but you had forgotten the key parts.

Then one night, they changed. One night, my dreams talked back.