Thursday, May 10, 2007

I toss and turn sometimes...

"I don't think I've ever loved anyone that I've lost as much as you loved her"

This is what my friend told me and I realized that it was something I never wanted to hear from anyone. It makes the reality too real. My friend - one of my few that I can have more than a superficial conversation with - said this in what I expect was a tender tone.

We speak on a lot of subjects, and I'm kept on my toes, and introspective. Recently discussion about the admirable depth of character of fictional individuals from films took a wildly different direction. I can't exactly recall the path we took but I believe it began with film that lead to disturbing events in our lives that turned a corner to disabilities and diseases; the video about the poor girl born with no face, or the man with a bacteria "much worse" than the flesh-eating virus (his wife stayed by him the whole time and even after the disfiguring...and that makes me smile that she did), and a friend who is quadriplegic. We wondered about how much someone had to love life to keep fighting when something like that happened. I think we both may have shuddered a little when we didn't know if we had that much. This expanded into broader topics of age and the various mysteries of the world (universe even) that plague our mind time and again.

I like to think I don't fear aging. I hate my birthday, but not because I'm getting older. I sometimes make a fuss..."if i lived my life again I'd be almost 55" and I feign wobbling legs and dismay. But this false dismay I show because I feel like that it is expected of me.

So here I am very aware of my own mortality but not horrified by the idea as perhaps I should be. I think my outlook on life was supposed to change years ago when I learned I wouldn't be here forever. My curiosity of what comes after is too great I think. Not so great that I chase it by any means, or am in a rush, but not so small that I wail at the thought of "the end". Or so I say; fast forward in time to when that moment comes and perhaps you will see me fighting tooth and nail against old age, or whatever claims me.

It's funny; thinking about aging, or the enormity of existence, the vastness of the just doesn't make me fret over mortality, infinity or eternity. And mortality and eternity go hand in hand for me. Forever is a long time after all, and all I've known of existence this whole time is now and me ... what would it be like in a world without me in it? Not because I'm a great mover of events or important keystone of our current age...but just because I've never known a world in which I didn't exist.

It's an odd feeling to think of a distance time when no one will even know you existed. But while is fills me with strange emotion it doesn't scare me. It's watching friends and especially old loves move forward with their lives that does. Frankly watching it terrifies me.

I've had two loves in my life. Two people that I would without a doubt give up everything for; give my life for. They've moved on. In their world, I've all but faded away. In their world, I might not exist any longer.

It was a long time ago, but she was a huge part of my life. The biggest part, really. And vice versa I like to think. I like to hope. Her words at the time certainly made me feel that way. It - she - was one of those gifts presented to someone too young to appreciate it and care for it, and I shattered it. Anyone who knows me knows the regret I still and possibly will always hold over that.

I understand the concept of forever. Can I really grasp it? Probably not. Yet forever doesn't seem long to me, despite the fact that, yeah, it's probably pretty damn long. It's going to continue to pass without anyone being able to stop it and just like the years already gone by in my life, it will be past and over before you know it. Yet knowing I'm never going to be with this person - her - again, possibly never even see her again, makes "forever" seem like exactly what it is. A very, very long time.

I can picture the past. Rome, the Mayans, the Boston Tea Party...there is a nice chronological map in my brain that lets my imagination see those place, those people. But the thought of a single lifetime without seeing someone that was so important to you make those historical places seem merely over a river in time, but your life without them is a vast ocean of it. It makes you wonder if the people who are in their lives now, those people who have replaced they really appreciate what they have? Do they realize that while they are there, taking her company, friendship and love for granted, that you have been doomed to an entire existence without even a moment of that again? I like to think they appreciate it like they should. But I know they don't.

We tried, I like to think, she and I. The friendship route. It was too hard. For both sides. For me because it makes old feelings that I keep buried (as best I can) flare up. For her, possibly the same, but also because, if any of those ancient feelings still reside, it fills her with guilt, to even be reminded of that time, after having moved on to love another.

And here we are. Being in the other's life is too rough. So we'll cross paths here and there, now and again. Maybe for a few more years. Eventually we'll come to the day when any manner of communication with the other has been lost and while it is an easy age to find someone in, neither of us will try. And soon, if not already, the stories about the other will be forgotten and the few that remain will no longer start "one time my first love and I..." but rather "one time this person I used to know..."

Our relationship will end up much like the relationships of my family. Of the way I picture my grandmother before she met my grandfather...what sort of long gone love lives on within her memory? Before my aunt met my uncle...what was her first love like? Does anyone know she still sees his blue eyes in her dreams?

And finally one day the only connection she and I will have will be in the imagination of a young offspring, like I once was. We will be a distant, blurry figure in their minds when they try to imagine an impossible time when their parent loved someone else, and just as quickly we'll be forgotten by them. They'll never even know our name.