“I can’t get your face out of my mind and the taste of your skin lingers still. I want you to meet me tonight just outside your backdoor. Bring your haunting imagination, your big laugh, and your silky eyes. I’ll bring my open chest cavity and a fist full of spice. Make sure you level the bull’s-eye lantern so it illuminates only my midriff. You’ll know me by its trembling wanting.”
“I picture her falling out of my arms. I gasp when I see her head hitting the handrail as she tumbles down the stairs. Or I imagine my own bloody death just outside on the hill after some terrible accident, or her mother’s death, or her mother’s and hers, or mine and hers. I have these little horror fantasies ten times a day.”
I don’t want to want something so much. I intervene with stories about the end. And because I feel so out of control— the wanting itself could never just go away by itself— the end has to be horrible and undeniable. Then the wanting will fade. It always does.
I used to practice on my way to my painting studio: I’d arrive to find firetrucks and firefighters and smoldering ashes. There’d be no trace of my work and all the hours alone at night reaching for the sublime.
I imagine my lover in the arms of someone else, leering back at me. “Grow up,” she says. One actually did say that. The imagine fits easily into any story of mind lost to desire.
One might justify these fantasies, I would, by explaining we are simply preparing ourselves for the inevitable end to the intoxication. Fantasy. Too good to be true. Dash that.
Besides, I did grow up. My baby grew up, too. Gone, mostly. My marriages grew up. The initial euphoria transformed into tests of “Real Love” that asked us to nurture the growth of the other, even at the expense of our own desires. Last summer, after I found out my father’s heart had stopped for eleven terrifying minutes, I let myself imagine my life without him. The pain was immense during the fleeting seconds I gave it. Was that preparation?
And Love. I can’t deny, for all my didactic rhetoric that Love is about what we give to someone else, it does, mostly, start with wanting something for ourselves. When we feel so close to getting what we want so badly, we lose ourselves in the wanting. What’s so wrong with that? Why do I need to see its end just as it starts?
Maybe Brené Brown is on to something when she explains that being vulnerable to our deepest desires to connect to each other and to the best things in life is so terrifying we deflect it at the cost of actually feeling what it means to be completely alive, out of control, trembling in pleasure of the wanting.
It always changes; that, I know for sure.
So why skip it?
Why end it a thousand times?
Why look away as it falls upon me— and I into it?