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?
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.
I remember a night when we walked under the stars. We talked of love. You had been its victim and I was a dreamer seeking adventure. You said that you had parcelled your heart up in a cage, put it on a train and you were running as fast as you could in the opposite direction. You didn’t care where you were heading as long as it was as far as possible from the pain and chaos of love.
I begged you to reconsider.
I told you that love was the most exquisite drug, the only high worth chasing. You said it was like heroine, a temporary fix that would wreck destruction upon my world.
I said love was the air in my lungs and its breath set me free. You replied it was the sickness consuming us from within.
I thought love was the divine spark that set our souls on fire. You told me it was it was an inferno that burnt everyone to ash.
‘That’s your pain talking,’ I whispered. ‘It doesn’t have to end like that.’
‘Love is pain. There is no alternative ending.’
‘I can’t believe that.’
‘You will. One day you will.’
‘Love is worth the sacrifice.’
‘You don’t know what you are talking about.’
‘Then show me’
‘You don’t want that. I don’t want that.’
‘You don’t want me.’
‘You have no idea,’ you sighed.
‘You don’t want to believe that I love you.’
‘You love the idea of love.’
‘You love pushing me away’.
‘I’m saving you from yourself.’
‘I don’t need your protection.’
‘If only that were true.’
‘Why are you being like this?’
‘Love did this. I’m trying to stop it doing the same to you.’
To avoid reality I dream. To reveal the reality of myself I dream.
The sky is indigo. The hour is late. My screen flashes yellow. I scan my fingerprint and it unlocks. A message awaits. It reads – Return to the Labyrinth
We’ve been here before you and I. Centuries ago you would have slipped away from your servitude on the whim of relief. Across the mud and dirt you would have appeared at the threshold of my door. The floor inside strewn with flotsom of a million adventures. The rose petals, the animal skins, blood scattered papyrus, and cracked and tarnished halos.
The sign above my door says ENTER. One simple word. It is a command, an invitation, a challenge. There is no warning. No words could contain the beauty and terror of what lurks within.
Everyone knows that something strange happens here. This is the road that leads to nowhere and everywhere. This is the place that vampires become victims. This is where pilgrims journey looking for saints and leave broken by their sin. Some that travel here never leave at all. Many are lost within these walls.
This is the labyrinth within and without the heart.
Tonight the threshold is the screen and the floor is lines of code. I let the book slide from my lap. ‘The Unfinished Tales of Uqbar’ falls to the ground. The clock on the wall carves out the seconds of this soul asylum but as I open the screen we have already fled. In the virtual arena a few zeroes to the left and our identities are changed. Binary is the mask that disguises us. I begin to type out a world where we belong. The landscape of our escape is the space between words.
Here the present is infinite. The past is nothing more than a fleeting memory. A ghost in a fog of misfiring synapses. The future is the untyped arrangement of endless possibilities. The truth is just a fragment of the whole.
Ever present, it leaks back to us. It leaks back in legends, in myths, in dreams. All we have to do is remember.
We enter the labyrinth as fools seeking paths not yet determined. We find ourselves in dead ends, we catch ourselves in our own traps. When we think it is over, it has only just begun. There is always a new possibility. There is always a hidden door. Take nothing for granted.
What is it I have to remember?
I build this reality.
This is the maze of my imagination.