“Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience” ~ M Scott Peck
If I were to write you a story, it might be for me. It might be for all of us. I might write you a story. I might let this be what I do, why make it anything else?
One starry night you came, quietly. Asking little, settling in under the radar, letting down your baggage. By the time I emerged from the depths of my heart you had already lit a fire, tending it gently, breathing in its fierce warmth. We talked for hours, my spirit at ease and happy to be seen by you in the flickering firelight. I knew I’d stayed a little too long, I couldn’t help it.
For weeks after that you were quietly there, and I felt so safe to know it. I didn’t know why my heart sang happily “he is here, all is well, ah bliss, he is here”. I felt an angel had come to my side, far from me and yet I felt you moving around the space like you were attached to my eyelash by a gossamer thread. I knew you were there, and it felt so warm and safe.
One day you came to me with fire burning in your eyes. “Tomorrow I’ll be off.” My heart jumped and I set straight to finding what had hurt you, what had shattered your peace here? It was simple enough to smooth troubled waters, no real hurt or harm was meant. I’d seen your fire, your fierce justice, your lionheart.
I took a step closer, curious to feel the fire and see its colours. After a long day of weaving I would wander, more or less aimless, to your where the evening sunlight beamed through trees and birds sang. Walking the little path to peace and friendship. You’d roll me a cigarette, pour me a drink, and just listen… sometimes gently sharing, coaching, guiding. Often just smiling and deep chuckles.
A dance began – you came closer. Closer to staying, closer to sharing yourself. So close you had to leave to know if you should stay. The impact of your opening was powerful to me and I felt my spirit move in response. Like a subtle shift in atmosphere, like the air before a storm. Something moved just beyond my awareness.
When you returned, you invited me to dance, invited us all to dance, with a smile and open hand. After a few rounds, I accepted. We laughed, we drank, you asked your penetrating questions, opened us all up like a box of treats to share ourselves and enjoy each other. I felt your magic, saw the sparks fly in your eyes – lighting us all from within, bringing more of ourselves to the fire.
That night sitting quietly in a crowded room, your music began to play. I listened, with my heart, and tucked my toes under your thigh for the first time. Feeling at home, feeling safe and then —something exploded from inside me, burst out of its shell like a rocket and went off like a firework behind my eyes and deep in my chest. I know you… I feel you from inside… What is this?? It feels like home. Somebody took somebody’s hand and there was no resistance. Somehow knowing flowed between us like an immense charge. Nothing was said, nobody moved, nobody saw… but the whole world shifted.
We walked, in silence… we sat, in silence… we separated in silence and the whole merry band disbanded into the dawn. At the lake I waited, you didn’t come, I didn’t know if I wanted you to. I walked away into the longest day’s night. I didn’t sleep.
The next day I came back to face the sun’s light by day. I searched your face for something, you wore it like a mask. We made moments, to walk together briefly, spend a moment alone on some task. My head and hands struggling to coordinate, my heart struggling to be contained behind my mouth. My mouth unwilling to be a part of it at all. I think you were amused, I didn’t know what to think. I began to think I just might be, a little bit mad.
That evening after hours of discombobulated toing and froing, setting up cosy with scattered minds, talking in circles about attraction, almost falling into sleep, I couldn’t take it. I retreated, I slept, only a little.
The days after – my entire chest was bubbling like a cauldron, fluttering like a bird at a glass window, desperate to find a way out. My body hummed like it was preparing to take off. I couldn’t eat, sleep or think very much at all. You seemed to be walking around just fine, except the care you took not to really look at me. After three days and three long nights I felt my energy was draining away, the effort not to connect with you was taking all of my resources and I really felt I might collapse under the weight of it. I had to speak to you, or collapse right there on the ground.
I can barely express, as I could barely express, the effort it took to communicate what had come into being entirely without words, remains completely indescribable. I only know it was clumsy and brief, the words we shared. I told you I needed to give you a hug, I knew it was the only thing that would make me feel better. So I did, and then we really spoke heart to heart. Then we communicated. I felt life rush back into me, I felt and saw the sky literally light up as the dogged grey clouds suddenly swept away, the bright blue sky and radiant sun. I checked the forecast, in half an hour it had changed entirely to bright sunny skies. I laughed, you smiled, we walked and spoke no more of it.
From that moment I was filled with more energy than I knew what to do with. I had another days worth in me every day. You squeezed my neck gently… “it’s been a long day for you”. I melted.
… and the rest of the story? There’s so much more, I’ve relived it so many times but now I’m letting it go. The rest was a long lesson of all the things love isn’t quite, all the things I tried to make it be that tied a noose around the neck of what it was.
There’s just one more moment, that felt really true… riding beside you in the car you held out your hand… “what do you want?” “I want your hand…” you squeezed it, held it, glanced at me and smiled…” don’t worry about anything, life’s for living”. It felt like the start of a journey into endless possibility.
The rest is history, drama, life lessons and our best efforts with all we could muster to love ourselves, love each other and find our way. It’s all precious but it’s not the heart of the matter, it’s not the treasure I found in my heart and in yours. The rest was learning to fly.
There were moments, fleeting and deep, where I felt our hearts speaking. In the silence just before sleep, when several points up and down my core just hummed and gently pulsed, and I felt you close. In glimpses of eye contact, of recognition. In hugs of heartbumping beats of knowing. The last time I saw you when you gently kissed my shoulder and breathed deep. And let go.
So much is in the letting go, so much more than in the clinging.