On the day of my father’s death four years ago, I wrote this about a man I loved, only a handful of hours before I received news that my father had died. I loved this man, but, simultaneously, I found I hated the relationship I was in. Today, I still love this man… and somehow, somewhere, forgot that the relationship is volatile at best, and vicious at worst… He still loves me, which is not consolation, it IS a prize. I could leave, but would be empty. I must stay, obliged to stay, though he feels no obligation to me.
Non-attachment… it is a constant theme in Buddhism, and though I am not Buddhist, it is a concept I try to incorporate everyday. Obligation is smothering. Love… is love.
I re-post these old words to remind myself, that on that day, when I was told my father died, what pounded through my chest about this man was not all of the ways he failed me, not all of the disappointments, and waiting, and wondering, and insecurity, but love. My knowledge that my loving him gave me more joy than sorrow, and that despite his lack of worldliness, and unfortunate immaturity about many things, he is an incredible old soul and his love of me is simple and sincere.
I chose the elevator ride with him, chose the ups and downs. Some days, the ride is without interruption. Some days, other people get on, and distract us from each other. Some days, the elevator breaks completely, and one or both of us leave the confines of the tiny space to find another way to get to where we need to be at that exact moment. And yet, despite this, or maybe because of this, we find ourselves back to where we must be, together. I am still consumed by love, I let it devour me and nurture me.
I choose. I can push the buttons, I can take the stairs.
I choose him.
Some days, I get on an elevator, and I forget to press the button. The doors close, but I stand there, inert, waiting. I wait, and nothing happens. Sometimes, a person from the outside will press a different button, and the tiny box-carriage will rise or fall and I don’t realize where I’m going until I arrive at someone else’s destination.
I fell in love with a man I met outside an elevator. For the entire ride, I felt this sense of strange anticipation, as if something powerful was about to envelop me, conquer me, maybe consume me alive.
In the world of odd couples, there is not a worse possible match. There is no man, that on paper, could be any more wrong. But I fell in love slowly, cautiously, stupidly. I protected myself for as long as possible, steeled against love at first sight, tried with mighty force to throw myself in the path of other, more appropriately designed men. But the force of love, of passion, of need for this particular man was more than I could stand. Eventually, it was as all love is for me… entrancing and devouring.
I don’t believe we choose love; love chooses us. This love chose me because I was weak and unable to be immune to the power of someone so raw and ill-designed, I was raptured by something outside my control.
But rapture ends when reality creeps in. I can no longer ignore the actions of someone who forgets me too often, who can promise me he will regrow my heart only to eat it whole…
Someone else pressed the button on the elevator. It’s time for me to get off.