I knew about love and its traps. How it starts well, how mistakes are made, how in moments of confidence or unbearable pain, things are said and never can be unsaid. How caution intervenes, and you behave like a polite friend, aching with the need to renounce that caution, if only to say intolerable things again. How those intolerable things, how cruelty comes into it. And terror. Suspicion. How you are bound by those rules of politeness, self-imposed, once again, never to seek out the vital information. How not knowing become worse than knowing. How your life becomes devoted to finding out. And how you find out. I knew all that. I never speak of it.
I wanted an end to shabbiness, to pretence, to anxiety, to dissembling. The last time, the time of which I never speak, had been so unendurable and also so baffling. I found myself rising, somehow, to expectations which I did not understand: grossness, cruelty, deceit. I had been humiliated, and had been enjoyed precisely because I was humiliated. It was all so different from what others had believed of me. I had managed, somehow, to live two lives. But in the end, it was the more respectable of those lives that I had inherited. I minded, of course. Oh yes, I minded. But at the same time, I know that whatever people say and whatever they put up with and whatever they get away with, love should be simple. And it is. It is.
And then you came along. You fell into my lap like a gift from God and you enlightened my otherwise uneventful days. Ever since I had known you, I was smiling all the time. When we were together, everything seemed right. I could go on with my days, doing things I did not want to do, seeing people I did not want to meet. You pleased me to no end and I thought I had it right this time around. And ohhh how you spoiled me. Maybe because I wanted to be spoilt, at the same time, in a same way, I suppose, that fortunate women are spoiled, or lucky ones. I wanted to be treated like...like a bride, of course.
And the best thing was, I always knew when I would see you. You did not keep me waiting. You did not keep me wonder or speculate. This was so unlike the last time. I could only say that everything that had happened was miraculously reversed, and I embarked into this venture with full confidence. The worst thing that a man can do to a woman is to make her feel unimportant. You never did that. Finally, there were no images in my head. I did not write. I was happy.
But at the end, I know nothing about love. The only thing I know is I am losing you and I can feel my heart sinks at the thought of it. It seemed to me that I, rather than you, had brought this about, and my despair is extreme. Lately when I think of you, I tremble steadily, close to anger but not quite angry enough. I am tense with anxiety, with great sadness, for I doubt my ability to inspire love. If, as it seems, I have become so uninteresting so quickly, how can I put matters right at this late stage? I am not a powerful woman, able to bend others to my own will, nor am I particularly malleable, and therefore able to bend to the will of others. I could have been different, I think. Once I had great confidence, great cheerfulness. I did not question my purpose or the purpose of others. All that had gone, and I have done nothing to replace it. I have become diligent instead of spontaneous; I have become an observer when I see that I am not allowed to participate. I would do what is required of me - although I am by now so confused that I cannot quite decide who requires it.
Still, I miss you so very much. For now that I know I love you, it was your whole life that I love. And I would never know that life. Changes would no doubt take place, and I would never know what they are. And if I wish to please you, I must simply stay away. And your life…your life…would go on without me. And I would have no knowledge of it.
And yet, every single night, it is you by my side. I curl my body around you in my dreams. You are in my subconsciousness during the night and in my consciousness during the day. Even though you are stucked in my head now between the intersection of the imagined and the real, I know it is you I love and it is you I kiss...