Good On Paper

Day before yesterday, she took a drive down an old country road to try to clear some cobwebs in her mind. Things had gotten murky in the onslaught of an emotional deluge. A completely unexpected one. Out of the blue.

The road was lined with giant cottonwood trees, beautiful and majestic, works of art even. They were delightful and steadfast, anchored well to the ground, their leaves fluttering and seeming dainty for such massive structures.

The sky was gorgeous, clear and sunny. There were no cars on the road. It was only about seven miles or so one way and when she got to where she was going, she took an adjacent road to course a path that she was familiar with and that would evoke the feelings she was on the hunt for. She was full of emotions, but they were muddled and she needed to order them in some fashion that they wouldn’t upend her. She couldn’t put her finger on what was setting such disease.

Days of old, she could count on her sister to help, but her sister was gone now except for in memory. Sometimes it helped to drive by where she had been and where they had been together.

her sister's abode

Touch. Is it to feel the pressure of another person’s skin on yours. Can words touch. Can one touch without touching?

It was an aching feeling that she was having. Something had touched her deep inside, like a bug had gotten in. She wanted to reach for his hand, but his hand was in her mind or twelve hundred miles away.

What was this aching feeling of wanting words to manifest in structures other than sentences, off of the pages they were on? Why did words suddenly not seem like enough? There were so few of them, but also so many and they had all been crammed in the space of the blink of an eye.

She now wanted them to be not only good on paper but alive in a more profound and concrete way.

There had been a bunch of words written, but they could just as easily have been words that she had written in a story. This was what was so unnerving, that she could have written the words as answers to herself, perfect responses to questions that she had or things that she was thinking; but she hadn’t written them, he had.

He sounded so very good on paper and they had each contributed to causing this to escalate. “Damn the torpedoes!”, he had said. And she had let them be damned, at least for a little while, even though something was nagging at her dreadfully. She was expecting shoes to drop and it wouldn’t be long before he said, “…obviously the odds are long that things, even as they’ve developed, will ever get off the ground.” And then right after that, in the same letter, “Being able to sit next to you, talk for hours, hold hands, laugh, look into your eyes, be comfortably “in love”, and let aging natures take their course from there are thoughts that wake me up in the middle of the night. But all of that is because of what goes on between your ears.”

Damn those torpedoes. It was time to back away.  There were little dogs involved.

Would more words quell the aching. It didn’t seem so. It seemed that the words were behaving badly by this time.

The symptom was of lovesickness. Why was she aching with lovesickness?

Lovesickness refers to an informal affliction that describes negative feelings associated with ongoing relationships, or the absence of a loved one. It can manifest as physical as well as mental symptoms.”

Time to start the analysis, the diagnosis, as was her method of rebounding from a slight or mental concussion. It was time to try to heal.

What was she loving? What was negative about it? How was it absent?

She was loving a bunch of words. Oh sure, there was someone putting the words to paper, so to speak. Was it a figment of her imagination?

Yes, she would decide to think of it that way; something she had conjured. It was in a dream or a story she was making up in her mind. The whole thing certainly didn’t seem to be of any more use than that. Fodder for a story. It couldn’t become really real.

It was different than the dreams of late that were waking her up at night. Dreams of terrorists shooting her in the head and of her continuing to walk long enough to conquer those who were there to kill her. She had stared the gun in the face as it shot at her and hit, going through her brain and she could feel her essence leaving, but she had managed to keep going until the last of the lot was down on the ground before her. And she managed all the killing with her hands and no weapons. Her sister was somewhere in the periphery as usual. Dreams can’t be explained. But all of the dreams she was having along with this other wonderful paper dream were of a nature of surviving long enough to conquer or quell those who would try to or accidentally do her harm.

Would she survive all the wonderful words on virtual paper that had suddenly spelt a dream out on them? Perhaps not. Time would tell. Certainly. At any rate, passion had been awakened anew. That damn feeling of being touched deep down inside had arrived again, unexpectedly and profoundly. After so very long away, it was a lot, a lot unnerving. She couldn’t quite remember how to survive it.

A day alone on holiday might do the trick. Just in the nick of time, Thanksgiving. Everyone else with others or someone. She didn’t mind being alone, not one bit. She didn’t mind being with others or another either; but this time, it would be alone and likely just what she needed.

Real love is not a search to combat loneliness. Real love is to transform loneliness into aloneness, to help the other. If you love a person, you help that person experience the completeness of aloneness. You don’t try to fill them up and complete them by your presence. You want them to not be in need of you.

When a person is totally free, then out of that freedom, sharing is possible. You give, not as a need, not as a bargain, but because you are overflowing with love.

aloneness vs loneliness

It seems to be the consensus of experts that the best way to overcome lovesickness is to stay busy.

Busy it would be. Busy creating. Busy putting more words on paper but this time to herself, for herself, to heal herself.

It had come upon them suddenly. He said he felt the same. It wasn’t supposed to go that way. They were supposed to be friends like she and Tom had been. That was what he liked so much about her and all she had thought she would want from him too.

7. Are you tempted to say, “I love you”?

“I can say this without reservation: I want you to be as happy as possible ALWAYS even if, sadly, I were in no way part of it.
I HAVE to start my day, Circe!!!!!”
The fair-locked goddess Circe was bathing in the ocean, along with the water nymphs, when Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, felt her magic touch and her beauty. He fell in love with Circe and took her as his lover.

The fair-locked goddess Circe was bathing in the ocean, along with the water nymphs, when Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, felt her magic touch and her beauty. He fell in love with Circe and took her as his lover.

We can’t seem to help who we ‘fall in love’ with and it usually happens accidentally. We see ourselves in the other perhaps the same way Narcissis saw love in his own reflection often failing the same as he and Echo.

Words and reflections, like a magic act; smoke and mirrors. Was that all it was?

One day Juno was seeking her husband, who, she had reason to fear, was amusing himself among the nymphs. Echo by her talk contrived to detain the goddess till the nymphs made their escape. When Juno discovered it, she passed sentence upon Echo in these words: “You shall forfeit the use of that tongue with which you have cheated me, except for that one purpose you are so fond of—reply. You shall still have the last word, but no power to speak first.”

This nymph saw Narcissus, a beautiful youth, as he pursued the chase upon the mountains. She loved him and followed his footsteps. O how she longed to address him in the softest accents, and win him to converse! but it was not in her power.

Echo and Narcissus (John William Waterhouse, 1903, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

Echo and Narcissus (John William Waterhouse, 1903, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

Something was in the way.

Distance, timing, fear. Two little dogs.

It wasn’t physical distance any longer that was between them. She had backed away, gone back into her shell. Things he had started to say, attitudes she could feel he was developing pushed her away.  She could see that he was blaming her. Trouble was, she was free, he was not. Once she fully realized this, she knew that what had been was all that there could ever be.

If you don’t intend to fall in love, another person’s status is of no nevermind. When you accidentally do, it matters greatly. Time to back away. There is no where to go. She would not be any kind of mistress, not that he was asking.

He had called her Circe. Circe was a sorceress; some say a ‘good witch’. Did he think that she had put a spell on him? Was he falling in love? Could he? Was he free to?

It isn’t fair to blame a man, even if he’s married or otherwise engaged. They can’t help falling anymore that the other can. It can happen accidentally, free or not.

She didn’t blame him. She was simply sorry. Sorry for the circumstances and grateful at the same time for him honoring her distance. Sorry that this time, another time, it wouldn’t be more than good on paper. On paper, they were perfect it seemed. That could be good enough. It would have to be.

“Will love ever come again?” She didn’t know, but she was happy to have been reminded that there could be someone so deep and thoughtful, so smart and clever, someone that could challenge her, someone that wanted to look and look deeply at her and want to know her.  Seems that is mostly what everyone wants, to know and to be known. That was the closest she’d ever come to perfection. That was encouraging and even enough to match The Bridges of Madison County kind of loving..

a brief affair that is never sordid but instead one of two soul mates who have met too late.”

bridges of madison county