Tuesday, April 27, 2004

apologetics

Life pivots on certain choices--sometimes small ones--which direct the trajectory of everything that follows. Questions which are not a "yes" or a "no", but a "This" or a "That." One or the other. This job or that job. This place or that place. This boy or that one.

About 8 months or ago, I came to just this sort of fork-in-the-road. To the left, there was a lovely friend of many years who I suddenly discovered loved me (THAT way)--a friend who was brilliant and a kindred spirit but also much older and too many kinds of inappropriate to count. To the right, was B, who was normal and funny and sweet, a new and unmet boy who sent me flowers at work and drove me 26 miles to the beach one night, just to kiss.

I spent many hours driving around aimlessly, smoking cigarettes in my car and playing the same sad song over and over, contemplating this small fork. It's not enough to say it's about deciding who you love, because it's really a decision about the love you have and the possibility of having the love you want. For me, 8 months ago, my time abroad had made me a stranger to my own life. After so much time spent feeling out of step, feeling out of place and awkward and un-normal, B was a chance to finally hit my paces with everyone else. I loved my lovely friend. But I wanted to love B more.

In the end, I chose B. And I told this lovely friend that I needed "normal" more than I needed him. And it was true. B fits. And with him, I started to fit too.

At times it has felt as if everything since has been colored by that choice, because I am with this boy and not with that one. B and I have fought a lot about semantics--fights where I have felt locked in an unending struggle to be heard and understood. Small cold waves of misunderstanding and hard words which leave us salty and shivering. But we cling together, still. It is in these moments that this choice comes most to color. Because I realize my lovely friend spoke my language, in a way that maybe B never will.

Eight months after this fork in the road, I find that I love B in a comfortable, unreckless sort of way. For all the things he does that make me want to scream and squeeze his head until it pops, he is a place to rest at the end of the day. In his arms, there are no worries about being dorky or feeling fat or inadequate. B is the one who never yells about misplaced papers, purses and keys, and the one who never calls me silly or stupid, even at my silliest and stupidest. He's the one who watched 13 going on 30 and pretended to like it, and who picked up rock climbing so we'd have more things in common. He is the one who is patient when I cry and scream, when I'm crazy and mean, and when I'm inexplicably and mystifyingly sad and weepy.

Where my lovely friend could see me, B accepts me. And maybe that's the rarer gift.

posted by m at 2:21 AM



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