November 9, 2012

Anatomy of longing


 
 
Most days it is endless conversations in front of the flickering computer screen, covering everything from the translation and voice-over policies of news stations to the nature of love and human connection. Meals, coffee, desserts shared, naps taken, laughs and whispers soaked up greedily. Even when we merely make do, it is more than many people have in a lifetime. We are blessed and grateful.

 

Sometimes it is being jealous of his mirror, because it gets to see his face in the morning. Or his work clothes, because they get to wrap around him for an entire day. I wonder if the bank clerks and post masters know what greatness they are dealing with when he comes in and says “Hi.”

 

Sometimes it is a day spent without, reading and re-reading letters, turning over photographs, and rubbing your face in his T-shirt like a dog. And counting the speech mannerisms that we have exchanged like fluids, such as “a day spent without.” I have started to say things like “close proximity,” “since the beginning of time,” and “nation of two.” He has started blowing raspberries at the world when it pisses him off and saying “I love you” in my language.

 

Sometimes it is waking up at a strange hour for a strange reason, only to find out he was struggling with something at the very same time across the ocean. Other times, more difficult times, he materializes next to me as my soporific body desperately roams night corridors, and gently touches my shoulder. His chronotope is six hours and a hundred degrees of longitude behind mine. Standing guard. Won’t let me fall.

 

Not a day goes by that I do not see his name on my screen or a piece of paper, and I am reminded of what Russian Formalists meant by остранение. If I did not have the photographs and the letters, I swear that there are moments when I would wonder if I might not be the object of some hilarious cosmic dissimulation. This other, this foreigner is now my soul mate. He says that he always was. I will not change my name because I am who I am, but I already know that in my heart of hearts I will be “Mrs. G.” This love is something else, I tell you.

 

I have written about heartache and emotional fumbling. I have written about parts of me that I could not be less proud of. I have exchanged private notes with many of you who knew exactly what I was talking about, and on top of it were so beautifully generous in sharing your own insights with me. Thank you. I wrote about a new love overtaking everything I knew, and I will continue to write about the missing that fills the spaces between, that makes up this anatomy of longing. Life is such a gorgeously messy little spectacle.




9 comments:

  1. I can completely relate to this, having engaged in a long distance love affair for several years. And as wonderful as it was, I know that for me, I need to practice with a flesh human. I need to be able to look someone in the eye and say the things of my bold typing fingers. My mouth is a wimp. It is an easier intimacy for me when distance holds us apart, and therefore I am drawn to it. Anyway, I remember the joy, counting words, thousands of e-mails, letters, photos, sharing everything, feeling like a soul mate. Happy for you :)

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    1. Thank you, Unlocked.

      Yeah, this isn't my first rodeo either. I spent about two years living apart from my former partner altogether, and the universe has handed that card to me again. I am a touchy-feely, tactile, squeezy, physically intense creature and this is torture for me. The beautiful upside is that I have never had this much open, honest communication and mutual commitment to a common goal.

      Some affairs are meant to only play a certain part in our lives. I should know. Others are the real deal. Looking back on the course of events makes me wonder if we even have a choice in the matter :) Those that I kicked and screamed about were lost to me. The one that is meant to last feels like it is growing and nurturing itself, sometimes in spite of me.

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    2. ...and also, I wonder if your comfort with distances is a thing of communication or of desire...? Of things being easier to type than say our loud, or of what makes one tick deep within?

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  2. Love is a messy, beautiful, painful, exhilarating thing. I miss it.

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    1. Gorgeous, indeed. I hope things work out the way you want.

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  3. Yeah. I know. All of those words. It's an experience that I truly believe is necessary in order to claim your own humanity. Those who have never experienced it would argue, but they do not know what they do not know. It's an argument about as valid as a discussion of the physics of what is beyond the universe. Yeah. All of these words. I know.

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    1. I love your love of physics, have I told you that? And I know you know. Those who don't know, they might get a chance to find out :)

      For me personally, I absolutely claim my humanity from this experience. I was born for this. Not in an everybody-needs-somebody, Bridget-Jones-the-edge-of-reason [even though there is good intertextual literary satire there], I-don't-want-to-die-alone kind of way. I was born to realize myself in an intense partnership, that is all.

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  4. If your blog is about love, a purportedly happy thing, why is the physical appearance of your blog so dark as if something ominous is lurking? How about sa happy, pink template with flowers and unicorns?

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    1. Jeez Phil, you know I'm all about kittens and ponies, but when have you ever seen a unicorn-themed Dr. Faustus? I have a reputation to keep, you know. And besides, that's an elephant in the background, about as four-legged and single-trunked as a unicorn :P

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