June 23, 2021

I would have loved you, but I never got to know you.

It took me far too long to realize that unrequited love—or a crush, which is not the same thing—that neither is anything like real love. Real love is like a worn-in baseball mit, a comfortable lounge chair, a beautiful old threadbare rug that’s no longer soft, but is still warm.

Unrequited love, a crush—those are different things altogether, all about fantasy and projection and ideas and dreams. I wrote all about that, elsewhere:

“…We will find out how deep the roots wend, if this is more than just mutual projection…” ~ Things I would like to do with You

Those things are beautiful and fun because they’re easy. When they get hard, like a mirage, most dissipate. A few turn out to be, indeed, a desert oasis full of palm trees flowering heavily with dates, busy with the sounds of birds and bugs and creeping animals who leave their marks in the mud by the water, each night.

Those things are beautiful and fun because they’re easy. When they get hard, like a mirror, they crack. Two-dimensions is not enough for a relationship, with its whips and cracks and nuzzles and heavy intimacy, redolent and familiar.

But the longer I lived, the more beautiful mirages I dated or tried to, the quicker, the sooner, I woke to her real nature, if I got to know it—or, at least, to the illusory nature of my own hot air, my own ideas about her. I remember falling in love with Her 1,008 times. Literally. She walked by on a sidewalk in front of the maroon lacquered cafe. And that was enough.

These prose-ish poetical musings are formed by a sandwich—not the kind you eat too quickly when you’re too hungry—but by the sandwich of finally having found and fallen into that redolent threadbare warmth that is genuine love. A love that leaves you arguing in front of the Post Office, or making love in the first morning sheets. And, on the other side, the sandwich of having seen a past mirage, and knowing that I never knew her—not much. We only got to know each other after she’d moved away, online, and that, too, is a two-dimensional mirror. But two-dimensions, at least, is enough to get to know her art, and through that, to discover hints of her third-dimension.

For more: 10 Healing Quotes on Unrequited Love.

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