Into the Woods

I look at pictures of her several times a day. I search her face for answers. For a sign of where I went wrong. For a greater depth than I am capable of- grace and serenity. The ability to make someone happy. The lack of a compulsion to fight.

She wants to be a librarian. One of my dearest friends wants to be a librarian. She's kind and she's happy. She knows religion. She settles into things gently. She wears her hair in beautiful braids. Are you like her? Is that what makes you more worthwhile? Are you more worthwhile?

Is that even a concept? Can one person be more worthy than anyone else? Is the standard the ability to glow with happiness? To emanate peace? To curb ambitions? Am I truly less happy with myself or is it just that my mask bears imperfections? Am I just more foolish? Time will tell. Somehow he makes people foolish. I've only known one person to escape this, and I think it was in part my fault for driving her away. She's married now. Will you be married too in a few years? You smile in all your pictures and for a moment I forgot that I used to smile a lot.

I forgot what 8 years of wearing each other down had done.

I look at her pictures several times a day. Less so lately. I find no answers in them. She was in a sorority? Does that sense of camaraderie make you more open? Does it make you more loving? More capable of loving in a kinder way? Is it your youth? Is it because you haven't experienced him yet? Because you'll never know the person I knew for 8 years? Will you always be a better match for your luck in getting someone who is trying to be a better man?

I know that this is making me sick. That it has been for a while. I'm destroying myself because I can't figure out how to be the kind of love that would make things work. I can't seem to juggle the intensity of this love across the terrain laid out by his needs and maintain my own composure. It's hard to be myself. It's like going home. Maybe that's why he's felt like home for so long- he was all the hardship of reaching for love and trying to find the perfect thing to make it happen without the added stress of being my mother. He was self-sustaining. Incapable of being pleased, or perhaps I was incapable of pleasing him? We were both this way. Do you please him? Genuinely? Do you actually control his happiness in a way I never could? Do you take a soft glow and make it brighter? More vibrant? Something tangible? Is it your smile, your youth, your self-love, your self-assuredness, your cute diseases, your body, your breasts, your intellect, your desire, your ambition, the ease of your nature, your wide face, your goofy nature, your ability to take yourself less seriously, your ability to maintain better friendships, your ability to fit in, your semi-consistent adoration of him, your proximity? Is there anything more than the casual nature of loss and gains that controls our places?

I couldn't have been better. It's possible I can't be better. I am more comfortable with who I am than I elude to. It might be the medication. Still the medication isn't keeping the wear of the simple act of loving away. Is it that it is unrequited? It's not. Not entirely. It's just not right. It doesn't sync. It's too hard on both sides. There's so much love but it doesn't help to navigate each other's needs. My muscles tighten and my heart aches. The hair-pulling, the crying, the moodswings, the heart pain- it's all been getting worse over the years. It's not his fault. You're not getting the same him, either. So it's probable that this destruction wouldn't be a symptom of your love.

I have scars on my arms that I thought would fade. Problems that were inherent. As much as I wanted to be my best we might have brought out the worst in each other. Will you be the catalyst to his best self? Is it your whiteness? Is it your parents? Is it because you are better traveled? Is it your career history? Are you more imaginative? More talented? Less prone to indulging obsessions and comparisons? Are you just better at conversation? Easier to listen to and easier to care for because of your ease in accepting what you can control in life?

I struggle but I'm not truly unhappy. The disease is subconscious. When we're together I remember everything that was good. When we're apart the doubts sink in and they take over our reunions and my departures. Things have been getting worse as I ignore the physical manifestations of my unease. Could I ever feel secure with you? Is it really worth it to anyone to keep hurting each other for the rare and perfect moments of happiness? Where I might be as calm as anyone else? Where I am the light, the connection, the happiness, the ease of existence? The place that is safe and warm? The one who can hold your secrets and delight in your triumphs? Is it enough that you are warm? That you can make me laugh? Is it enough when I might never be? When you might never be? Enough.

I look at her picture less often because there is nothing to be gained. What will happen will happen and I can perhaps wait it out, or perhaps move on. She's not better than me. No one can truly be better than anyone else, I have accepted. After years of fretting over what is fair and what should be allowed. After years of trying to determine who is worthy of love and what makes them so. I know now it's all timing and proximity. It's all chance. It's a mixture of opportunity and the desire to maintain things past that initial opportunity. It's the very human pursuit of companionship, if only to stave off loneliness.

I just want to stop being sick.

The tremor, at least, is not your fault. Nothing is, really. The fault of either of us.

Maybe things will sync. It's all a matter of time, proximity and opportunity. My love.

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