Lift

The quest for happiness is a curious thing. Now I have finally found it, I seem to be intent on trying to push it away. The demons that I have been carrying around for so long are giving one last snarl. Fears are surfacing. Paranoia tries to overcome me once again.

It began yesterday. A subtle shift in mood. A whispering in my head that said he was going to cancel. That he wouldn’t want to see me, that he would have changed his mind about how he felt. I knew that I could have put it to death with a text. I knew that all I had to do was ask for reassurance and he would have given it willingly.

But habits need breaking.

For myself, for him, I cannot continue to carry the baggage of the past around. I want to exorcise the voices that try to keep me small. I want to be a better person. A person who believes I am worthy of his love. Happiness is not something to be scared of. The dream of us is so powerful that it will break through any wall or barrier or test. And when fear grips me in the early hours of the morning and I am consumed by doubts that I am enough for him, he holds me close and dissolves all of my uncertainties.

He is the key that unlocks the shackles with which I have kept myself bound. He is the light which extinguishes the shadows of my past. He is the calm at the centre of my storm. If I offer him more than I want to give, if I try and sell him a false fantasy, he sees straight through it. He takes my hand in his and I feel our souls entwine. He guides me away from the darkness and into the sunlit world of his love. When our eyes meet, I remember that I am his and he is mine.

We are perfect, just the way we are.

Together we are free.

Up & Up

It’s amazing how quickly life can change. It is less than three weeks since we met for that drink and now every second of every day my heart beats with dreams of him. It is a whirlwind but one that has been a year in the making. We already know each other so well, we’ve already read the small print. It’s like our souls had signed the contract months ago and they were just waiting for us to finally take the first step. And now we have, our relationship is travelling at the speed of light. Perhaps it should feel scary, but the reality is it feels like coming home. The rest of the world falls away and there is only us and the force of our love.

I never knew what it felt to be alive until now. Every second with him crackles and burns with the most intense energy. It radiates out from us and infuses our surroundings, other people are drawn to us and it lifts them higher. They might not know what it is and where it has come from, but I can see the ecstasy of our elation reflected in their joy. Their laughter echoes the euphoria emanating from us. It sweeps over them like a temporary insanity, it raises them beyond the limits of normality and reveals just how incredible life can be.

He has given me this life.

His love has blessed the essence of my being. I’m not sure what I have done to be worthy of experiencing this but it feels as though someone, somewhere has listened to all the deepest wishes and desires of my heart and conjured them into existence through him. He is everything I ever wanted and more. When he is by my side it feels as though I could conquer anything the world could throw at me. And over the past three weeks the world has been cruel and unkind to him and he has stood strong as a mountain. He has been brave and tender and incredible when most others would have buckled under the pressure. And when he has needed to, he has come to me and stripped off his armour and bared his scars and sorrows and it has only made me love him more.

The fact that he feels safe enough with me to do that fills my heart to overflowing. I’ve only just started to discover all the facets that make up the brilliant jewel at his core but if the rest of my lifetime is spent exploring that treasure hunt then it will be the most exhilarating adventure. The whole of eternity wouldn’t be enough time to spend with him. The stars could burn out, the universe could fall into darkness and I would still be blinded by his light. Our souls were forged in the same fire. Now they have been reunited and they are burning brighter than a billion suns. My heart is a furnace and he is the fuel. The fire between us has melted all of the pain of the past. Our love is hammering out a new story. This is the world where we both belong.

This is the beginning of forever.

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way

And then, just when I thought that it was all over, Love Beckons.

I met someone a year ago. It was an average Monday, I had no inkling that it would be the beginning of a new adventure. Our kids were being tutored in the same place and while they were in classes, we made each other coffee and talked. We talked for hours.

The following Monday we did it all again.

And again.

And as the weeks went past I found myself taking time to dress better, to do my makeup. I found myself thinking about him more and more. If I got to the car park and his van wasn’t there, I felt my heart sink. I hadn’t yet begun to believe that it could be something, but the times that we were together were the highlight of my week.

Everything about him amazed me. He was funny and attentive and kind. He had the best tales and his life fascinated me. As the weeks turned into months and we got to know each other better, we opened up about our pasts. He was honest and his story tore at my heart. It was clear that he had been burnt, but the way that he had chosen to walk through the fire and come through the other side inspired me. He had looked hell full in the face and it had only made him stronger.

We had begun talking about meeting for a drink but his life was so busy and full that it seemed as though it would never happen. He was always so unavailable and part of me was relieved. The other part of me, a part that I was refusing to acknowledge, was beginning to dare to dream. I wanted to spend time alone with him. I wanted to be able to talk to him free from eavesdropping ears.

The truth is I wanted him. I just wasn’t ready to admit that to myself yet.

The turning point came when we were forced into new surroundings by the necessity of the kids’ exams. We went and got coffee and although it had been weeks since I’d seen him, we slipped straight back into the easy conversation that had been the hallmark of our friendship so far. It wasn’t until we were back at the college, sitting in his van and waiting for the kids to finish that anything unusual happened. He showed me some racing data on his laptop and as I leant in closer to look at the screen, I felt a surge of energy. It was like being struck by lightning. All those walls that I had spend so many years constructing, he slipped past them like a magician. In those few seconds I could see why spending time with him had meant so much to me. My heart jump started back to life and it scared the hell out of me.

I began babbling. The nerves overtook my brain, words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Every edifice of normality crumbled into nothingness. I told him I hadn’t had sex in five years and if someone tried to get close to me I’d probably run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Inside I was cringing at what I was saying but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. He had broken through my defences and I was trying to plug the panic anyway I could. I told him I was done with love.

And then he said something which had a profound effect on me. He said, ‘I think you are looking at it from a glass half empty point-of-view.’

It so many ways it was a completely innocuous thing to say, but I drove home thinking about it. And in the days and weeks to come when the lulls in life allowed me time for reflection, I found myself replaying those words over and over again. They forced me to confront a couple of inescapable truths. First, I had to stop feeling sad over what I thought I’d lost and start waking up to the fact my life wasn’t over. Second, I desperately wanted him to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure how either of those things would be possible. But my heart had started to beat again. It had started to believe again.

Maybe, just maybe, the magic did exist after all.

It took almost six months for the drink to finally happen. Life, Russia and everything got in the way.

When it finally happened, quite frankly I was a little pissed off. By then my life was together, I had a routine. I was occasionally dating complete non-starters. Safe people with whom I knew there was no future but they served to break up the routine of my otherwise mundane life.And then he messaged me.

I knew there was no choice but to accept.

I played it cool in the build-up. I put off having a bath and getting ready until the last moment. I refused to shave my legs (or other parts) because I thought, well dammit he’s waited this long he obviously just wants me as a friend. I hadn’t seen him for weeks. I thought I was over it. And then I saw him at the station and I realised I was oh so wrong. I still wanted him. Now more than ever.

The sight of him was like the first drops of rain in a desert. My soul drank in the feel of him and began to bloom.

By the time we reached the bar, I felt like we had never spent a second apart. He was the harbour in the tempest of my life. Spending time with him was as natural as breathing.

We drank too much, I confessed all that I had to give. And he didn’t flinch. I thought it would be too much. I thought that the beautiful mess of my life would be too much for someone who had already walked the inferno. I thought I would be too complicated, too broken, too fucked up. I threw everything at him. Daring him to run, daring him to back away, daring him to admit I was too much.

He stood immovable as a lighthouse. Guiding me home. Telling me that it was all ok.

All my defenses came tumbling down.

At that point, the fact that we would end up spending the night together was inevitable. I had wanted him for too long. Playing it cool was no longer an option. Playing any kind of game was irrelevant. I gave him my truth and he returned it in kind. I wanted him and to my amazement, he wanted me too. Even now, right now, typing that makes my soul sing.

It was everything I wanted and more. That evening is burned on my skin. His kindness is seared into my heart. It brought me back to life. I thought I had understood what it had meant to feel alive before. I was blind. Waking up with him that morning was like the dawning of a whole new universe. His skin against mine, his hand in mine, his breath caressing me. I have never felt so safe.

To be secure in my own skin is a whole new world. I don’t feel that I need to change to be good enough. He has seen me at my worst and he doesn’t care. And I know that come what may, I will always be there for him. I know now that as much as I had tried to fight it, as much as I didn’t want to be emotionally invested, it is already far too late.

I am his.

The Prophet

When love beckons to you, follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him.

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

Kahlil Gibran

 

Lose Control

I need sex.

I need a weekend in bed wrapped up in heat and sweat and lust. I need my body to shake with passion. I need to find myself in another person and for them to find themselves in me. I need the world to shrink to the space between us. I want my mind to be consumed with the pursuit of pleasure. I want to lose control.

My libido has woken up and I’m starting to obsess. It is making me reckless. The devil in me is starting to flirt with danger. I’m taking dates that I know I shouldn’t because I’m beginning to chase the thrill. Right now I’m in control. But I’m like an addict on the verge of a relapse, any day now I’m going to take the hit and to hell with the consequences. I can feel it drawing closer.

I want the anticipation. The flash of flesh in a low-lit room. The touch of lips on skin. The sound of a breath catching in a throat. A hand around my wrist. Desire searing through my veins.

Taking me higher.

Taking me harder.

Taking me over and over again.

This Isn’t Everything You Are

It is funny how loss can blindside you. Most days I think I’m fine. I think I’m over it. I tell myself I don’t care that you are gone from my life. And then something will happen and the whole illusion comes tumbling down.

The most recent instance was when I was flicking through the first book. Most of it doesn’t make sense to anyone but you and I. The vast majority of it is nothing but messages between us, late night ramblings on MSN about everything and nothing.

I shouldn’t keep it really. I should burn the whole fucking thing and be done with it. But I tell myself that it is a record of that time, it reflects who I was then and how I have grown and so I keep it and occasionally allow myself to torture myself with it. I hate how pathetic I was. A girl so in love with the wrong world.

I found a message where you asked me if I thought we’d be friends forever.

I replied that we’d been through so much, survived so much turmoil (mostly instigated by me and my inability to deal with my feelings for you). We’d always found a way to move past it, to keep walking the path, I thought there was nothing the world could throw at us that we would not overcome.

Until it did.

As is the way of these things, the final straw was actually a rather minor matter. It could have easily have been overcome if either of us had been so inclined. But I think that I had reached the very end of my tether and you were so concerned with protecting your carefully constructed world that neither of us had the will to carry on.

So we walked away.

I had always said you were my heroin and so it proved in those first few days of cold turkey. Perhaps in my mind I thought that the silence wouldn’t last, that one of us would crack and make contact. That had always been that way of it before. I was determined that it wouldn’t be me. Not this time. You had overstepped the mark by miles and cut me deeper than I thought possible. I knew I’d get through it, but I sure as hell wouldn’t be the one to come crawling back.

And then weeks passed and still the silence continued. By then I had started to get perspective. Just like an addict I looked at how I was when I was in contact with you and I realised that I didn’t really like that person. I didn’t want to be that girl. I needed to get clean. You might have been the fire that set my soul alight but the blaze had grown out of control and burnt my whole fucking life down to the ground. Before that I had thought I needed you in my life.

Then came the realisation that I needed you like a fish needs a bicycle.

You needed me because I fed your ego. And while you were busy chasing bright lights and cheap thrills, you knew that I would be a safe place to confess your sins. You lived your adventures and revelled in telling me of your conquests. You said that you needed my wisdom. I think you that you wanted someone who would listen to your boasting and bragging and lap it up. I was the fool that couldn’t get enough.

That is until we had our own adventure. A journey that started by the storm torn seas of San Francisco, through the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, to the neon signs of the City of Sin and back again. Months later I finished my rendering of that story and that was the thing that finally killed our friendship.

I had tried to portray our experiences as accurately as possible. You accused me of trying to destroy your life. Of course, you had gone back to your ex. Of course you had. Your same old safe bet. And you thought I was so full of desire and longing for you that I would tear your world apart to make you mine. For once in our friendship I had all the control and that scared the life out of you. Like a cornered animal, you lashed out. You didn’t need to do that. All you had to say was,

‘Please Eden, I love your book, but keep it for us. No-one else.’

And I would have done that. I would have done that in a heartbeat. I never need it to be shared with the world. I just wanted a memory of you, of our adventure. For us.

For myself.

But to accuse me to being this vicious, manipulative bitch. In that moment you utterly shattered my heart. You proved to me that you didn’t know me at all. You didn’t understand a single atom of my soul. And just like that bit in Labyrinth where Sarah realises that everything is junk and the walls start crumbling around her, I realised that this version of you that I had created was nothing but a simulation.

You weren’t this strong, wise, creative soul. You were just another scared boy who would fight tooth and nail to protect this bourgois fantasy you’d woven for yourself.

You didn’t care about Truth.

My book of our adventures was nothing but a mirror and when you saw it held up to your life you hated the reflection. You blamed me. You wounded me. I was so tired of battling your ego that I decided to withdraw.

I knew it would hurt me, I knew it meant leaving my book and everything I worked for behind. But I knew that if it meant I was free of you it was worth it. I needed to break the power you had over me.

And let me make it perfectly clear…

You have no power over me.

I may say that I miss you. I may say I wish to walk and talk and dream with you. But the ‘you’ that I want to do that with doesn’t exist. He never did. He was a figment of my imagination that was built on the fragments of fleeting memories. I took a real person – you- and rebuilt him into something that was worth my time and energy and love. You are not him and he is not you. You are a knave and he is a knight.

I believed your lies. Sometimes I got so lost in the illusion that I forgot reality. Blinded by deceit, I chose the door that led to certain death.

Now I’m reborn and my spirit is free. I know who you are and I am remembering everything I am.

This is a new beginning.

Talk

Golden sandy dune, indigo twilight sky. A familiar voice, a flood of relief.

He paced in front of me, kicking sand with his feet.

‘Have you any idea how much trouble you have caused? Any idea at all? Jesus Fucking Christ Eden. You’ve surpassed yourself this time! Talking to people about it? Uploading it online? Trying to attract attention to yourself in the biggest way possible! You would have been in a coma within a second of hitting return. You could have been lost forever, so you’d better have a pretty fucking good explanation prepared because you have pissed a lot of people off. Me especially. Well?’

I bit the side of my cheek, trying to avoid his gaze. I missed you, I thought.

‘You missed me? You missed me? You destroyed the world because you missed me? Well, that’s alright then! The entire history of civilisation, humankind, everything. Erased, all gone. Because you missed me? Any other repressed feelings you’d like to share? Despair perhaps? Or misery? I’m sure that I have a few galaxies lying around not doing much that would benefit hugely from a dose of your emotions. You stupid, selfish moron!’ He grabbed me and shook me harder than I would like.

Anger rose in my chest and I shoved him away from me. ‘ You know, you are usually far nicer to me in this world. It’s been a pretty shitty day truth be told, the very least I’d expect is that my dream-you would be a little kinder.’

‘Oh holy fuck, you think you are dreaming? Have you completely forgotten what is going on here?’

‘What’s going on here is that you are pissing me right off.’ I started walking away.

He caught up to me and gazed deep into my eyes. ‘Seriously Eden, have you forgotten what is going on?’

I shrugged, ‘What is going on?’

‘Fuck!’ He kicked the sand and muttered, ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck. You’ve been under too long’.

‘Too long for what? What the hell?’

‘Hell. Exactly.’ He shook me again, ‘Eden, seriously, I need you to remember’.

‘Remember what? You are talking crazy. And to be honest you are scaring me a little’.

‘I can’t tell you. It has to come from you. You have to trust me. You don’t need to be scared – well actually you do- but not if you remember. Quickly.’

‘Trust you? Are you kidding? Almost everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie’.

‘If it wasn’t I wouldn’t need you to trust me. Please. Try.’

‘I am trying’, I said through gritted teeth. ‘But you’re not exactly being helpful.’

‘You’d be surprised.’

‘Really? If this is helpful, can we skip obtuse?’

‘You know, you are really quite funny when you are angry’.

‘Can you fuck off and starting talking sensible?’

He sighed, ‘No. I can’t and you have no idea how much I wish I could.’ He leaned forward and touched his forehead to mine. ‘The point is you have to remember. That is the key to everything’.

‘The way you said everything, it sounded like everything. Trust me, nothing in my head is that important.’

He squeezed my hands. ‘You are going to wake up now. You cannot forget that you need to remember. You have to take this memory with you’.

‘You said I wasn’t dreaming!’

‘I might have lied’.

‘I hate you’.

‘I often feel the same. Now…wake up Eden’.

Magic

A month ago I lost my mind.

Again.

I can’t remember if this is the fifth or sixth time now. I’m not sure that keeping count of the times my brain has lost its grip on this world is particularly helpful or constructive. I used to try and hide it, insulate myself from the world for two weeks and wait until the storm passed and I could emerge as if nothing had happened. Since I am not the most sociable of creatures, often it could be concealed to all but those closest to me.

Every episode has common features: reality becomes elastic, time reveals itself as nothing but an illusion and the walls between worlds feel thinner. Thin enough that if I were to find just the right spot and I were to push hard enough, I could slip through into an alternate reality. I always thought that in that other world our love was a certainty.

But now I am not so sure.

Something changed this time around. This madness blew in on a different wind. Or maybe when it blew in I was a different person. This time, along with the chaos it has brought clarity. Our story was never our story. It was never about you and me. It was about me finding myself. You were just the conduit by which I entered the labyrinth. You were the sledgehammer that destroyed the old version of me so that I could build myself into a better, wiser person.

Perhaps there is even more to it than that.

When we found each other again the last time around, the final time around, I was just beginning my study of philosophy. My books were talking to me of Jung and synchronicity and then you were back in my life and talking to me about Jung and synchronicity. In my head 2 + 2 = 5. I thought that everything was pointing to you. But what if you were just there to point me to the message the universe was trying to tell me?

If you were the white rabbit, I was so busy chasing you that I completely failed to discover Wonderland.

But now you are gone and Wonderland keeps calling. I think that perhaps it is time to find out if I am the right Alice.

Pride has stopped me taking this path. I thought that without my friend beside me, the journey was meaningless. The truth is that the journey now has more meaning. This was a path that could only have been walked alone. I clung to you like a child to a toy. I clung to the pain of losing you as proof that I wasn’t strong enough to face life alone. My sunken dream was all the evidence I needed.

My sunken dream is evidence that I was on completely the wrong path. You were a minor detour to teach me harsh but necessary truths so I could become who I needed to be. I set my sights far too low. I moulded myself to your beliefs. You were the chrysalis that bound me.

Now the blood is pumping into my wings and I’m fighting to break free.

No more running away from who I am. No more running from what life is trying to teach me. No more pretending to be someone I am not.

Each madness is a moment of transformation. An invitation to leave myself behind. A time to strip myself down to the atoms of my sense of self. A chance to rebuild myself as the person I want to be.

Eden version 7.0

Who am I now?

Someone who still believes in magic.

Yes I do.

Of course I do.

And Love.

Above all things, Love.

Hunter

The truth is you have broken me. It’s been almost nine years since I last saw your face and your voice caressed my ears. Nine years since the thrill of your drug raced through my veins. Nine years of building a wall around my heart to stop it being broken by love again. Thinking about it, I wonder if I built those defences to stop the pain getting out. The pain of your absence is the only part of you I have left.

It’s not like there haven’t been other men. My marriage was destroyed, that was inevitable. So I chased other prey. Once a hunter, always a hunter. There was the cliched relationship with a younger man, a couple of shameful one night stands and a particularly appalling situation where I was left feeling dirty and used by someone to whom I never should have given a second of my time. The inescapable truth is that each and every time I was trying to chase the high you had given me.

I should have listened when we walked under the stars and you warned me of the dangers of love. Maybe I should never have contacted you again at all. Now I walk like a wraith in the wreckage of my life and I wonder what would have happened if our story had ended twenty years ago in that field. If San Francisco had never happened, if I could delete every word we had written to each other, would I be happy now? You took me higher than I ever believed possible. Is the devastation of that loss worth the fading memory of the ecstasy?

The night we first slept together ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘ was playing in the background. If I could erase and rewind it all, would I?

Would you?

I want to love again. I want to feel something again. Anything.

I don’t know how to start piecing the shattered remnants of my heart back together. I don’t even know if it is worth trying anymore. Before you, I believed that love was the only truth worth discovering. Now I think perhaps ignorance is a kindness.

Plug me back into the Matrix. Let me take the blue pill. Wake me up when it’s all over.

And yet, somewhere deep down in my soul there is the tiniest glimmer of hope that tells me to take a chance at life again.

You are gone and these ramblings are the last fading echoes of our story. The final purging of a tale that must find an ending. One day I’ll stop writing and begin to live again. Every tap of the keys is a step towards being clean of you. I long for the light.

Silence will fall.