Saturday, August 29, 2009

A cup of coffee

I am thinking about a time I was on a beach on a beautiful spring day with K. It doesn't matter when this was, because the best times in life are cut out from time and set aside.

The sun is shining on us as we are sitting on the beach, and I am able to kiss her, and although it has been some time since we have seen each other, it doesn't feel like it. It seems easy and natural, like we do this all the time.

But we don't, and she says to me that she won't do it again. She wants me to understand how difficult it is, and I understand that, but I don't know how not to want a good thing: I don't have enough good in my life to think it is worth setting aside something that feels this good for any reason.

Birds are skimming across the water. They are just carrying on with their lives, as birds do. Not for the first time, I am envious of the other animals of our world. They are not weighed down with others' choices. They do what they are able. Maybe I do too, and I want it to be others' fault that I cannot be happy. That is what B thinks. She thinks I want that because it is easy.

But it isn't easy. Being unhappy is the hardest thing that you can do. You want it to change so much but you are Sisyphus, struggling to get your rock up your hill, knowing that you can never succeed, but will have it roll down and crush you.

I wish sometimes that I had better heart, like Camus' Sisyphus, and could face the waste my life is cheerfully. I did once. I grew into melancholy, and yes, I think that others helped me into it. It does not absolve me of anything to say that.

So I am touching her face and I am feeling like this is something I should do. It is something I should have because it is part of me to love her. I want to tell her that but I know that to be beloved can be like having a loaded gun at your head. I think she loves me too -- I'd say I know it, but knowing it implies imposing my belief about someone else's feelings on them and I am not about that: I know only too well that people think that there are ways you should and shouldn't feel, and I am determined in this life to let people feel whatever they feel about me, without my drawing a box for them to be in, without becoming a cage for them to sit in.

When we parted, I could not look behind me. I did not want to see whether she had waited to see me go or had gone as soon as I had started to walk away. I do not know which would have hurt more.

Earlier, when we were talking, she had squeezed my hand three times sometimes, as though to reassure me. I don't know whether it was to tell me she shared the feeling I expressed, or to make me feel better about it, because I hadn't remembered her ever doing it and didn't know what it meant. But as I came home, I could still feel the imprint of her hand in mine, and it felt like a small fire, warm and real.


That night, I did not sleep well. I did not want the dream that I knew awaited me. I would be sitting on a bench in the garden of my stone cottage. But the bees had long deserted the pear tree. No one had cared for it and it had died, leaving only the wood in the form of a tree.

And I would be sitting on my bench hoping that somewhere inside the tree was a living core that wouldn't have died, and I can't say why, because it is too much for anyone to read, and I can only let it echo out in a small closed corner of my being.

And the wind and rain would have melted away the cement because it was not well made, and one by one the stones had fallen down, until there were almost more in the rubble than in the wall.

And I realised that my garden had stopped being a place where I felt content, and had become a testament to illusions that I could not make real: that I can be worth loving, worth cherishing and that there is any place in my life where the sun will shine.

But I know too that other nights I will have other dreams, and in some, she will remember my voice as she is walking out of the lychgate, and want to hear it just once more, and turn, and as we talk, she will nourish the tree that needs only enough care to keep itself alive -- because pear trees are hardy -- and she will forget that there even are wind and rain to pull down the walls of the gardens we build to hold our dreams in, and we will sit together drinking still lemonade on a glorious day, the last of summer, and our lives will not lack anything because we are here.