There are constraints. And there are imagined constraints. There are those relating to the physical world, and others that come into play with psychology.
I can only jump a metre off the ground. That’s a physical constraint. There’s gravity and my average physique.
I cannot just walk over to you. That’s an imagined constraint. That’s me putting up boundaries around what I can and cannot do. You’re not far away, not today. But I make sure we’re not in a position to run into each other, just like you make sure it won’t happen. It’s a symbiotically imagined constraint. It’s a very delicate thing, however foolish it is.
And however foolish we are.
I don’t know why we keep telling ourselves lies. I don’t even know if we tell ourselves lies or just each other. Once again I feel the imagination trying to barge in. Lying, I think, is not the right word for what I do to myself. I don’t tell myself that I’m in love with you. That would be a lie. I’m not. But I imagine that I am. It’s so easy for me, I sometimes can’t help myself but do it.
Being in love with you was my status quo for three or four years. It was the one certain thing in my life. However quixotic it was, it gave me a sense of security. I knew there was something I dreamed of. Something that kept me going forward when the rest of me wanted to stop, go backwards, disappear. There was a light. There was you.
I’m in a better place now. A much better place. There’s a real purpose to the things I do. The book we’re about to publish. My decision to specialize in political philosophy where I finally feel like I’m back to the talented version of me; the version that works harder for praise, and thrives when he hears that he has done a good job, that he has made a unique assignment; the version that takes criticism as a way forward instead of as a hindrance and a reason to give up.
But even so, I still fall back on my imagination every now and then. I let it tell me what I want instead of following (what I can only tentatively call) my heart. I let your light of the past shine whenever I feel like I’m suddenly drowning in darkness. You’re my life jacket, but I’m afraid it’s no longer you keeping me up but me dragging you down.
I don’t know what good I do you. I don’t know what good you see in me, if you see anything. If I’m not just a memory of something to you as well.
It must be about a year and a month since I said goodbye. It was meant to be forever, but it lasted till January, or February. I don’t remember. My life moved on. I felt the weight of your world lift from me. I was sad, but no more sad than I could manage. And I breathed clean air. I fell in love, over and over again. I saw the blue in the sky. I saw stars. Man, I saw fireworks.
And then you came back.
I was hesitant. But not for long. You came back like a whirlwind, dragging up the past: all the things I had said goodbye to, all the reasons I had had to remove you from my thoughts. You brought it all up again. But this time you had left him. You were on your own. For once, for the first time since the first few months I knew you, you were on your own.
And here was I, seeing you win me back over, and hopeless against it. I let my ‘new life’ slip through my fingers with every text I sent you. I was certain that this was it. This was when it would all happen. This life with you. I was so ready for it, I never even felt to see if what I felt was something real, or something imagined. I just went with the flow and did my best to get things going.
But here we are. Here we are.
I felt some glimpses throughout the year of what I’m feeling now. I had doubts, but I never took them seriously. I figured it was just my undecided self playing tricks on me again. I figured I would come to my senses whenever I saw you.
But I never saw you. And for every text you sent me I felt my response growing colder. I began to feel like it was more of an act of duty than an act of will, of desire. I never got back to the feeling I had, when I would smile just by seeing your name on my phone. When the simplest “hi” would send my heart racing back and forth, jumping from my stomach to my throat until I had to do push ups and jumping jacks just to focus my energy on something else for a minute. Before picking up the phone again.
I never got back to loving you. And I never learned to love you like a friend.
So what to do. I can try to stop my imagination running amok. It’s the damnedest thing: I still get jealous. I don’t know why. Because someone else gets to live my fantasy? Even when I don’t want that. It’s horrible. It’s absolutely horrible of me. And I’m so sorry. Det må du virkelig undskylde. But, you see. I think this is what I felt a year ago. I saw this horrible side in me, and I saw it come up only when I let you wander around in my thoughts. And I tried to let you go, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. Not as long as you could still reach me. I couldn’t let you go without letting you go. I couldn’t kill this thing inside of me, as long as I kept feeding it. And this past year has seen me wander right back into the kitchen of earthly delights and fill up on everything, taking extras when I was not allowed to. Breaking all the rules. For eating and for conversation. And I’m so sorry. But this is what my imagination does to me when you’re in my life.
I don’t think I can ever learn to love you like a friend.
And I don’t think I can ever love you like I loved you back then. And anything short of that original love is less than you deserve.
And I wish I had a more positive way to end this. But sometimes a sad post just has to be sad.