Last night, I lay awake in bed thinking of job interviews and Scotland and you. Thinking that I love you. About eight months too late, by all accounts. And I know it’s my fault. I know that I turned this love into something nasty and unrequited. But I’m used to getting what I want. Sort of. I mean, I’ve never had much money but I’ve always been lucky and I’ve always been resourceful. When it comes to relationships, I’m the same. Plato and Eros. I think I’ve forced people into loving me. And I want to force you to love me. Because when you did, I was bored or oblivious or indifferent. And now you don’t love me and I love you and I want you to love me back. I want to make that happen. But, for the first time ever, I feel there’s nothing I can say to make you love me again. I’ve never been much of a doer. I’m a talker. Actions speak louder than words? Oh well. You’ll have to settle for my nattering.
I miss you. I love you. If I had you now, I would worship you. Or maybe I just think that. Maybe I’m fooling myself again. Maybe I don’t love you and I’m lonely and I want someone to cling onto. And maybe that’s all I’m capable of. Maybe I’ve grown out of love. Maybe love is a made-up thing for passionate teenagers.
The first time I was in love, it was love. I thought it was love. It still is. But it’s not the kind of love that lasts, is it? It lasts when you’re sixteen and you’re rebelling against your parents and it’s risky and risqué and you’re always horny and sex is new and exciting and you think that means love. But maybe it’s just infatuation. I knew that I would travel to the moon and back for my first love, but part of that was because he didn’t feel for me the way I felt for him and I so desperately wanted his approval. I’m sure he loved me but he wasn’t addicted to me like I was addicted to him. And maybe that’s not love. Maybe love is more rational.
The second time I fell in love just proves my point – irrational love doesn’t last. Like a flame, it burns hot and fast and then it’s gone. One gust of wind and it’s like it never even happened. That’s what happened to me. My second love. I think I loved him for a long time before I even really knew him. And he was so mysterious and geeky and cool all at the same time and I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. I was in love with him, I was sure of it. I could see his flaws and we had our arguments but I loved him. Or I was infatuated with him. Either way, that love was intense. And brief. I haven’t seen him in over a year.
Maybe what I think is love isn’t really love at all. It’s obsession, infatuation. Chuck Palahniuk said, “What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.” I want that. That’s love to me. Of course, it’s not healthy, but it’s passionate, isn’t it? I want passion. But maybe that’s not what love is. Maybe love is just caring about someone and wanting to spend time with them. But I have friends for that. I have lots of wonderful friends who I care about and eat pizza with and fart with and love.
But love is different. Eros love, surely, means passion. It means drama and arguments and make-up sex and tension and all that other youthful stuff. The stuff you do when you’re seventeen and you’re drinking cider from a plastic bottle with your teenage boyfriend and you’re arguing with each other because you’re on antibiotics for a cold and he thinks you’re being ridiculous because who needs antibiotics for a cold, for God’s sake? Is that love? It’s aggressive and it’s passionate and it sure felt like love at the time. But I’m nearly twenty-one and I’m cynical and more mature and I’m more assertive and I’m also happier. I don’t think I could have that kind of argument with a boy now.
Then again, I thought I was in love a couple of months ago and when I found out that I wasn’t, or rather, that the love was another in a long list of unrequited, I beat myself up and I cut myself up and I set myself to self-destruct. And maybe that wouldn’t happen if someone actually loved me. I have this habit of falling in love with people who don’t or can’t love me back. Maybe they love me in their own way but it’s not enough. So I strive to win their love. I want approval and I want someone to tell me that I’m wonderful. But when I get that, I don’t want it. I’ve had boyfriends who, for whatever reason, thought I was the bee’s knees, and they don’t feel significant now. I wish they did but they don’t. I want to be loved but I don’t want to be loved. Being loved bores me. I want it so badly and when I get it, or if I get it too easily, I don’t want it anymore. It’s too easy. It’s not dramatic enough. I don’t want to be childish but my idea of love hasn’t changed much since I was fifteen.
I want healthy love. I want you. I’m still so sure that I can make it happen but maybe I’m fooling myself. Maybe what I’m really doing is learning a valuable lesson. I’m learning real love and I’m learning not to toy with people’s emotions. Christ, I miss you. We had such a real life thing and you understood me and you loved me, I know you did. But I ruined it. I had to. It was too much like happiness and I wanted destruction. But I miss you and I want to be happy with you and I want to make you happy.
“A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy.” (George Jean Nathan)
I want that for us, you know. I want to be sleepy with you. I think I can do that now. I think I can love you. I want to love you. I want to give you my time and my energy because you deserve it. You are so wonderful and I’m sorry. I hope you read this and you understand everything that I’m not brave enough to say. Know that I’m sorry and I love you.