Love and fuck are four letter words.
I have had my lover for a while - 1/5 of a life is significant for a young adult no matter which section of that life was involved. I have had my emotionally unattainable lover conjugally and adamantly over four years in clandestine arrangements, barely scheduled evenings where the only methodically laid out plan was the excuse with which to allay my parents' questions. His girlfriend has always been immaterial. He never mentions her and she is a participant in our love through sheer nonparticipation. She is silently held to his heart as I am to my soul with his words surrounding us both. I am not a great beauty, but he manages to convince me otherwise and not just for an evening. There is something in his thought pattern that leads me to wonder aloud if he even exists - but I have seen him photographed and these photos were not doctored in any way, so he must be at least substantive.
He is a faithless one. He places his heart in politics and his hands in his pockets, so where his affections emanate from is a complete mystery. Still, one day he knocked me on my back with the ultimate pronouncement: he loves me. He knows he loves me. He has had time to search himself and he has found that. He tells it to me instead of a gift - honored with eight letters placed on my lips for reciprocation.
I am one of those fairy creatures who always does the right thing and never reaps the rewards. I have studied hard for an entry level position in a small law office with no room for advancement. My days are spent lugging heavy chronicles of human ambivalence toward unselfish justice (revised, annotated and clothed in the finest Corinthian leather) and dusting off their tops looking for the magic spell which will condemn one and set another free. I know these books as well as my lover's body - I know which pages are missing and which ones have been superseded by the handy leaflets inserted yearly into the back of the book. Each malocclusion in the binding is the result of the flaws of my predecessors. Nobody knew that the books were speaking. Or maybe they did, so they tried to shut them up. Every day I find a new remedy - a statute for this woman who was disfigured in routine surgery, a precedent for a child who lost an eye in a fight, a few notations in a landmark case for a black man who was denied advancement due to his race. A sorcerer's apprentice would be hard pressed to repeat the miracles I've performed in just a few short years.
But my lover has already heard it all before. He has never read the books or talked to the people, but he already knows the story and he passes his own judgment without pity. Some days I can't look at my books simply because he would know them better than I would by merely peeking into the library in the dark. He is a brilliant man. My lover is hard to denounce and impossible to ignore. By sheer impetuousness he will be a millionaire before he is forty. And he loves me.
He loves me! Like I said, I could not believe it. I wanted to deserve it, had ached for those three little words from him. That man whom I had seen grow from a scraggled drunken artist lost in Detroit and up to his neck in debt to a young educated single small business owner was the object of my affections. Had been the object of my affections for years. His absolute beauty drove out every other standard for my eyes. The logical purpose of his walk astounded my knees to the point of collapse. The slight tousle of the demurely untamed curls that sprouted from his braincase drove my body into a jittery frenzy. And so forth. He was inhumanly beautiful. A heartbreaker. A logician with a sense of style.
Has anyone ever noticed that when one compares his or her loveliest in all the world to a deity, he or she always picks a Greek or Roman one? Men are like Apollo pulling chariots and women are like Aphrodite or Venus walking out of the sea. It's all the same story: boy or girl meets boy or girl and has no other words to explain their madness for this gorgeous/strong/delicate/sensitive/PERFECT creature who fulfills every single wish on the part of the entranced. And then they date. Sometimes they marry. Woe be to the multitudes that eventually wake up, for the Kingdom of God is no longer theirs.
If I'd awakened ages ago or had reached a point where I never would, then I would have no problems whatsoever with anything. But, stupid me, I have developed my loveliest's bad habit of questioning the obvious. I am a language-based person, out of dealing with books for extended periods of time, so my questions naturally asked about his words. I defined them:
I: A single entity, usually a selfish concept, identifying the principal/direct object of a relationship of some sort. Generally denotes ownership or dominance. May be used in the abstract, but not suggested, as it lessens the impact of the word.
Love: an emotion consisting of contradictory elements, both physical and illusory. Has been characterized as an overall good feeling, a sense of peace, a concern for something other than oneself, a desire for the greatest result of said emotion shared with someone else through cooperation and preset rules. Alternately described as a bane on society's youth leading them to immoral behavior committed in its name, a torture of the mind because it supposedly does not make sense, a sacrifice made by two people for a whole devoid of substance and an outmoded concept except when expressed in universal terms, social measures enacted to the benefit of all and forced charity.
You: The receiving person in a relationship. The object of an action's result. Possibly an antagonist. An unselfish concept, denoting someone other than self. The opposite of I.
On any plane of reality, this layout makes no sense whatsoever. I and You are understood in cause/effect terms, but Love as an intermediary has no set meaning. Love is not clearly indicated to mean affection or drudgery. My incredulous mind immediately seized that contradiction. What did he mean, exactly, by his love: does he view me as a queen or as a project? I don't even know if I'm insulted: my meaning of love has come to include such things as valor, honesty, unchallenged sexual prowess and acts of loyalty beyond human endurance.
His love made me human, so I could no longer endure his beauty in sight of my own paltry features. A single touch from him, once more welcome than a lifetime of pleasure, was now anticipated with a bit of restlessness. My body almost died from skin hunger, but it could not stand his touch for fear of imperfection on both our parts. His words were used to elaborate to the point of obscurity the depth of his love from no source. My mouth was dulled with the kisses we used to exchange in secret now looking for a place of torment to be free. If we should ever marry, I will try to be there for the wedding, even though no one will be invited.
I am here tonight and I want his body. I want a body that will not love me, but he will not want my body if I incite him to rage. I know his body well - I have drunk from it many times. I want his love and I want his mind and I want his eyes to drop casually into mine and I want none of these together. I would take another lover, but it would start the process all over again. My hands are small enough to stroke him intimately without fanfare in any situation, but he is sensitive and will not let my hands please him so I can please myself. I want him to kiss my forehead where my hairline starts because he does it so well. But he has to work tonight and he had to work last night and he has to work sixteen hours a day every day for nothing lets a small business owner relax for a moment. But he loves me. Damn it, that man loves me! It's everything I said I wanted. I want that name attached to mine forever as long as we both shall walk this earth in ¾ time, andante. But I don't know what it means and I am afraid I'll lose even the small joy of ignorance. I know he won't tell me; he claims I am intelligent enough to figure this out on my own.