I was in love with you once. I remember it as clearly as a crystal winter’s night. The popular notion of love is that it’s fuzzy and warm and consoling. My love for you chilled my very bones. I hated that I loved you from the minute I started to. Everything I ever perceived myself to be froze up while I loved you. There was no movement left, within or without; my soul was preserved in its state and couldn’t evolve while I loved you. Gelid air filled my lungs and I wandered around my own self as through an empty warehouse, my footsteps on cement floor echoing back at me, everything aglow in blue faded light. Dust gathered on the shelves I used to store my feelings on, they had all been swept to the ground by your consuming nature. For the first time I realized how infinite my soul was and how deep it went. Endless corridors lay adjacent to spacious halls and boxes I hadn’t touched in years or ever stood around in disarray. Yet every move I made seemed unsafe, disturbing your curve and it wasn’t worth the strenuous effort, so I quickly stopped to stray. You on the other hand had found your perfect playground. You burst through the door and filled the corridors of my soul with everything you were, thoughtlessly opening boxes I could never tape back shut. And while I loved you and silently stood and watched you throw around my childhood memories and my deep contempt for stupidity, I still hated you for being who you were. So selfish and so arrogant, so convinced of your own intelligence and so reckless. I never saw you in the daylight, only saw your silhouette in the shallow gloaming of my warehouse. It was the only way I could stand to look at you at all. And yet I say I loved you. And I do because you at least were real and intense. You touched parts of my self no one had ever reached and with your touch gave them life and made me aware of their existence. You made an impact, you moved the boxes, you didn’t just look into them. You rearranged and reordered and realigned me according to your taste, your knowledge and your pleasure. You put me to use when I had felt useless all my life. Suddenly I wasn’t lonely anymore, there was someone else living inside me, the voice was existent and my questions received an answer. I didn’t want the noise you made to leave me again. Just the sound of your breath next to me in bed was enough to assure me I was alive and this world not as desolate as sometimes it looks in grim daydreams we have.
You took what you needed from my warehouse, carried it around with you out there in the world, never gave some of it back. I didn’t feel like I ever gave you anything. You found all the things worth taking by yourself while I just stood there and consciously observed you robbing my soul as if it was just that: a warehouse without an alarm system. You left some things behind too. Going through the boxes now I find them, scattered, useless things you didn’t need or didn’t want anymore, like your nicotine addiction. I couldn’t keep you for long. The corridors and halls seemed endless to me, but you soon found their limits, stood in front of the walls that hold in my soul, and decided you needed to break through. I never fixed the hole you ripped for your escape and sunlight is now pouring into the room I kept my dignity in. I stand in it a lot, my arms crossed over my chest, and marvel at the bright whiteness of everything beyond my wall. The light is so radiant it almost becomes a corporeal force, magnetic in its power and I wonder if one day I will step outside and leave who I was, carrying just one box to my new warehouse, the one I built from dreaming.
None of what I feel today is hindered by the memory of you. I am not bitter when I talk about my love, it left the same way it came in, sudden and without a warning. And in the end it doesn’t matter why the boxes are in different places, as long as the places are meaningful to me. That is what I am left with, I am back at square one. I can only assume the boxes were in purposeful places before you came and where they were defined who I was. It was a maze and I was looking for the pattern. I have to start over now, the pattern has changed, but the game is still the same. The arrangement of my boxes still says who I am. I just have to read it right, read it better than the coffee grounds left in my cup in the morning. Sometimes I am tempted to test my memory and put everything back the way it used to be, to return to delivery condition. But then I wonder if who I was before was so much better than who I am now and how can I judge when I hadn’t figured me out back then and I haven’t figured me out yet? And with each day I wait to convert back to Old Me, the more the memory of it fades and I stumble upon crates and cases and chests and coffers I don’t recall the proper placement for.
Every now and then I attempt to move a box, store it away on the designated shelf, attach a tag and cross-reference it in the index cabinet. I successfully hoisted the box of bashfulness onto the top shelf of the recycling rack. And the carton of cataclysm was lighter than I thought, while the canister of capability took all my capacity to even be moved an inch closer to the can-opener. And did you know that doubt simply evaporates if you lift the lid off its crate? I still don’t know why the jar of jealousy stands next to the flask of faith, but I am sure I’ll make sense of it soon. In the meantime I lavish the liquid in my ladle of language.
As of now my legs wobble with every step I take, they are new to the motion as I am new to every experience post the era of you. But like a child with every stumble I gain more confidence, hone my senses and earn my keep. Strange how nothing has changed without like it has within. I might go and buy a dust brush, see if I can’t get these hallways to shine.