She could be the love of my life. We could be destined to meet time after time in an unbreakable cycle, but the timing could always be wrong to repel us once again, so far from one another.
I left my friends to continue the drinks and merriment that had been my temporary, emotional reprieve. Home, I placed tofu-dogs into the oven. I dozed, and awoke half an hour later to a sweet-putrid smell of burned bean protein that not only stank the apartment, but also left a rancid taste in my mouth, which mirrored the severed romantic prospect.
I put on my coat and walked through the city streets covered in snow. I found myself walking in the park where we spent our second date.
I had left my black scarf at work, and was now forced to wear a stupid, pink scarf my mother purchased in delusion, despite my repeated pleas of contempt for the color. I felt my true self denied under the yokes of its hue.
I looked up, and recognized my now ex-girlfriend with her new boyfriend, both happily walking down the sidewalk to their latest destination. Her new boyfriend spouted a third-grade analysis of conspiracy theories, like those you would expect to hear from the abusive, Berkley boyfriend of Jenny from Forest Gump, showing up at Black Panther rallies to pat himself on the back for being the single token of enlightenment, not realizing the congratulations themselves were an oppression. I walked behind, and listened. The darkness and winter layers protected my identity.
They turned to enter a Couche-Tard to buy beer.
She used to make me feel guilty for liking beer and going out dancing, although I only did so two days of the week. But I guess at that point in the relationship, everything I did and said was automatically wrong. He was older, yet looked younger than I expected, with sandy brown hair and a boyish face, despite his advanced years. Was he more financially secure? I thought of my small, bachelor apartment, and imagined he would be taking her back to his cozy, warm home.
She talked with an enthusiasm the complete opposite of the monotone voice used in our last days, as well as used to impersonally break up with me. She was happy, and I had to get over it.
I wanted her to be happy. And I did not want her to see my sadness.
I looked down and hated the stupid, pink scarf my mother gave me, as well as myself a little. It was not the color, but the fact that she was always insisting I act as someone I could never be. The scarf would be in the garbage soon.
Like Daisy Buchanan, perhaps my ex-girlfriend wanted the power and protection of age instead of the transitory passions of youth, and honeymoon phases. She was older and more rational. Her heart was locked away, and well past youthful indiscretions of being swept up in any moment. The mature, shadow side of femininity reared its ugly head, like something out of a Steinbeck novel.
Fickle like Cressida, I was only lucky to escape the flames relatively unscathed, with so little time in its trance, unlike ending a twenty-two year marriage. That was one thing of which to be thankful.
No affection can be relied upon. So many enjoy the thrill of the chase, and only in the end, realize the prize never existed, but was only a fantasy of ego, or false sense of worth placed on the worthless—everything. All have a price. Only some hold the correct type of currency to unlock each treasure, and only for a time.
I did not want to forget the magic we had, now left hollow, tawdry, ruined, and empty in a bleak present. I wanted it to stay pure, free, and fun. Alas, I must now find the strength to never look back.
Outsiders love rules, and fickle, fading, dream to one day be allowed in the hallowed halls of society, no matter how much they protest otherwise. Outsiders worship the elite like no other, not realizing they are collectively and individually, worth so much more.
Perhaps we were both too romantic. The faithful husband returning with dependable precision is not as exciting as forbidden trysts with a musician or dashing sailor, at least for some. Perhaps we were in love with the yearning, or intoxicated with the eternal chase to find fulfillment in the wrong places, to never truly want happiness, until we found it alone, within our self, eventually hopefully. It could be a constantly ongoing process at that.
Per chance she would long for me once she realized I was truly gone. However by then, there would never be going back—poetic and sad. I hope not. The ordinary quotidian is not for me, in this world of illusions, adventures, dreams, and excitement. I live my life as filament burning on both ends. If we boomerang back to one another like fireworks, so be it, but it could only be after completely walking away to see anew and grow.
To not become a victim of love, like Jay Gatsby, or a gambling addict, I had to set a strict limit on how much I was willing to lose, before walking away from the table to never look back. I had decided to never open my heart. That was my burden, and my savior.
For all the glamor of the casino of love, the house always wins. It is a hard choice, to retrieve dignity and worth, once the casino looks over what you have to offer and decides to throw it in the trash. We are all walking gambling addicts, love addicts, or both. It takes cultivating the strength of will to refuse to play a losing game, shun being controlled by another being, with questionable motives at the very best, and to walk away. Perhaps I would join the table again one day, but probably not.
People who love are consistent. If a person is not consistent, they do not love. If their past is filled with inconsistency, then there is one certainty: they only know how to love them-self, singularly, and likely, forever. Sprint away for your very life. You do not have long on this earth, in this form, in this time. Do not walk.
I would disappear into the underground facility where all ex-boyfriends disappear. I had the security clearance badge now. Both the elevator and escalator were broken, so I had to find the courage to jump down the staircase from the highest story. It was a sizeable drop, and my ankles would burn at landing. It would be painful. I would show my badge and enter one of the queues with other men, also broken from the journey of our travels.
There, I would be trained to accept and tame the rush of neuro-chemicals that made me feel like I was dying, being violated, and being abused at the same time.
I could even pay a sizeable under-the-table fee to re-emerge in a few months from the private facility with an attractive new girlfriend to make my ex-girlfriend jealous. Emotions were too hollow and raw, but when truly healed, I would not care about making my ex-girlfriend jealous, or feel anything really. I would no longer care one way or another, except a dull longing for her to find happiness, because I truly did care. No, I would rather heal the pain alone than gain some sick sense of hollow victory playing games.
I looked at the men checking in, and did not feel alone—felt it only human to sometimes be played for a fool. Failure is the best teacher, and without failure, there would be no Macbeth, Romeo & Juliette, or Tristan & Iseult.
Together banded with my brothers with broken hearts, we slowly walked the queue like zombies. In a few months, we would re-emerge stronger than ever before. Our surviving hearts would be awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for surviving heartbreak, in the form of war stories over pub beer, and rosy laughter about excitement on the new horizons of the future.
Trust time to change all.
I am convinced that as my energies change, over countless millennia, my true love and I will meet again and again, always new. It might be one person, parts of several in very painful succession, or just learning to love myself. It could be an experience down many different avenues, and changing in order to find one another, time and time again, leaving when done, to find again when needed.
And if we meet too soon, our energies repel, until weathered smooth in the surf.
The timing must be right to stay together, and wrong, means we must part to change and come together once again.
‘Til then or to never. ‘Til the next cycle doth us part.