The cigarette seemed lonely.
As he smoked on the run down balcony of the run down building, he wished to be somewhere else. The sun, usually a joy for him, today seemed lonely too.
He imagined her. Stirring as the sun poured into her windows. Him, cooking sugar bacon. Them, on the deck, smoking, laughing, talking. Debriefing the week and the world. Wondering if her chemise was too indecent for Juan and Juanita.
“Maybe the next one will be better,” he lied to himself as he lit another.
All of us are flawed. Some are flawed beyond reasonable measure. Most of us are appropriately flawed.
Appropriate flaws are good. They make us interesting. They keep us humble. They give us the impetus to grow, to be “a better…”
But even appropriate flaws, during the time between recognition and “better,” can prove fatal. Fatal to a life, a goal, a relationship.
Maybe, just maybe, in a rare instance, we can find a repair. A small jewel to cover the injury in the diamond. The scar, the flaw, may always be there, but maybe, just maybe, with time and patience and skill, even the scar can become beautiful.
The divorce was painful. She was his first love and she ended him, ended them, with betrayal.
He did what he always did: Recouped and made a new plan. He studied how to make himself irresistible. He planned the exact words to say, where to place his hands, how to seduce.
And it worked.
The dozens of women he dated were, to him, mice and he was the cat. He played with them and when he tired of them he left their carcasses under a piece of furniture. He didn’t like what that made him, or what he did to them, and now he cringed at the thought. But he craved the attention.
Then he met her.
She was beautiful and smart and funny and…unpredictable. He read people – that’s also what he did – but somehow her mind was elusive. Trying to understand her thoughts was listening to a distant radio station.
At first he played with her, too. Teasing. Sexually loaded conversations. Seducing. It worked, to an extent. But he found himself wanting more from her. He wanted to know her, the real her. She was a Matryoshka doll and each time he opened another piece of her, he found another inside.
Slowly, she revealed herself to him. He was used to unveiling women by mental force, knowing their minds intimately despite their best efforts at concealment. He couldn’t with her. He had to wait. She had to let him in. Show him. It was both maddening and enticing. His every act, every word, could trip a mine. He had never walked this field before.
He fell. Too quickly and too hard, but for real. She called it infatuation. She didn’t see how anyone could. Less quickly, she fell too.
When they were together, it was bliss and joy and laughter and magic.
Over time, he tripped some mines, with predictable results. Eventually, too many.
He wasn’t sure what would happen next, but he did know one truth:
She would always matter.
“I can’t do this any more.” The email was careful and perfect and devastating.
“Then I need to see you, one more time, and give you things that belong to you.”
She, not reluctantly, agreed.
It had been five weeks. She had traveled. He had gotten insecure and his fears had prompted him to lose trust. He had sent her the dreadful email that was the last, lead-heavy, straw.
He had seen this coming and had hoped it would not. During those weeks he had grown. He wasn’t insecure any more, not like he had been, and was ready, no matter what happened, to go on. Either as a better partner or alone.
They had a night together. Then a day. They talked. They enjoyed each other in every way. Some painful words but mostly words of enlightenment. Words they should have been saying to each other for months.
They made love. It was passionate and joyful and fulfilling.
Now it was done, a skyfall. The thrill of the freefall, the jerk of the shoot, the gentle glide to the ground. But the landing, the ending, was hard.
She held out some hope. “I need to get free from the noise. I need to miss you. Think about all this.” But now, today, it was over.
Either way, it was a new beginning for both of them. Either apart or as the couple they should have been for months.
He hoped against his fears it would be the latter.
I wish love was different.
I wish love was just the good times, the good feelings. But it can’t be. To truly love we have to give ourselves completely to another human being. In that giving there is inherent risk.
People are flawed. Pride, ego, fear, selfishness are a part of all of us. There is no perfect partner, no perfect love. Our flaws cause pain. Pain for ourselves. Pain for those we choose to love.
If someone loves me, I will hurt them. I won’t mean to. I won’t intend to. But I will.
If I love someone, they will hurt me too.
If we are going to love and experience all the joy love brings, we must also know, up front, it’s also going to bring pain.
Love is worth the pain.