In a certain darkness, the illumination of love in the eyes of someone looks like a prayer candle lit in the solemnity of the church – a dim area, quiet hush of prayer, of hoping or begging for something, anything; for some, a last resort. More lumens to maybe call upon the notice of a less-than-attentive god, or to at least illuminate a spell of darkness, and all those hopes flicker and bounce shadows about the faces of the praying, simultaneously revealing and distorting, depending on the slant of the flame at that moment. When we signal to the fates, some kind of SOS from the spirit, sometimes we must settle for reading answers from the shadows created, like Plato and his cave.
I was not sent to answer his call, but he decided I must have been. He never asked me before I was appointed. It was not my choice, nor my function. I am as lost here as anyone. But, he saw my face, and the flicker in the dark was a beacon, and so he decided I was the answer. But I hadn’t been asked any question. My candle was my own prayer, my desperate reaching for some kind of path to tread, but he took it as some sign meant for him, and began to follow me. Soon we were both lost and I had to send him away.
I have logged in countless hours as an object of affection in the lives of others. A serial monogamist for the better part of my teen years and my adulthood, I was also a searcher. I knew the love I wanted was out there for me and I had to find it. This was often at the cost of my family, my funds, my family, my self. Not to mention my dignity. There were several mistaken attempts… well, ok, let’s be straight about it – they were all missed attempts, failed connections, complete raging disasters at times. My poor parents, who were stuck with me as I returned home over and over, after each failure would come to its conclusion, they would pack up the truck with my remaining possessions and bring me back home.
I thought I was doing the right thing – I was following my ultimate vision of love! For the love of God, isn’t that the meaning of it all?! In the eyes of that other person I would see the reflected flicker of my prayer and I would reach for it. “Reach” is really an inaccurately moderate word; it was more of a lunge mixed with a stumble, or maybe a blind leap. I would fall into the relationship, willy-nilly, and despite repeated failures, I always found myself shocked when I wound up on my ass, tears in my eyes, hair a mess, fat lip, possessions lost at apartments I had to abandon after being shoved down the steps of what was previously “our” dwelling. My inner eye still has a rip inside of it from that one time. I lost my white and purple quilt, my favorite lamp he smashed, and finally, thankfully, my innocence. The loss of this set of false beliefs was the gift. It was then that I began to understand that my vision deceived me. I wasn’t seeing love in these places. I was seeing the reflection of my hope, and it was an illusion, and quite dangerous.
When he began to pursue me, I knew immediately not to take it personally. Usually that expression has a negative connotation – don’t take it personally. But it applies in love, too. Sometimes someone falls in love with you and it has very little to do with you. That was what he was doing, and I knew it. Yes, it’s hard to not get caught up in the heady feeling of, OMG! Somebody Loves Me! but my previous experience had left me better equipped to understand it. He thought he loved me but he never did. He never could have. He barely knew me but the candle of his hope caught in the darkness of eyes and he focused on that spark, and followed. I told him to stop.
Pushing away these pursuits will make people think you are cold and unfeeling, locked up, broken, unavailable. Don’t listen to it. I know I’m not broken – I’m far from it. I have been smashed and rebuilt so many times, the glue and sharp edges has made a new conglomerate of stuff and now I am stronger than ever before. And I may have a torn inner eye but my vision is finally perfect in this regard. He thinks he loves me but he does not. The whole thing has very little to do with me. I am a placeholder, the variable x in his equation, to be filled by any value that makes sense within a particular solution set.
I hope someday he understands this and appreciates what I did by stepping away and saying sorry, not sorry. It wasn’t a rejection, but an act of reverence and respect. Our souls deserve more than being a mere reflection of someone’s hope and sorrow. The life of being the mortal mirror is one of the deepest sorrows one can face. It’s so very lonely to live as a reflection of everyone else. Walking through life seeing others as a means to an end of loneliness only pushes away real relationships and plunges the self into further isolation and despair. Only when we make genuine connections beyond our need are we able to really begin to know, and eventually love, anybody.