The sun is shining, the day is hot for this area of the country, the trees desire to be still in the heat and the wind is impotent in its refreshment. Still, it is a beautiful day. I’ve some coffee before me, the last of the Royal Vinter brew from Gevalia last December. Eliza sleeps in bed this late afternoon, sick, and Pandora saunters around the apartment, stalking toy mice.
In relating to the world around me, my experiences with joy and contentment, I’ve found that the more I open up to happiness, the more I realize I am truly happy. It isn’t a matter of trying to convince myself, but of just realizing that I am happy. Happiness is a quirky bird that doesn’t nest in possessions or answer the call of titles. It seeks to nest instead in warm hearts with warm breezes and with steady limbs, not swayed by the typhoon winds of careless emotion. I remember a day in Houston a few years back when this notion really hit home with me. A couple years later I could honestly say that I was happy. But happiness on a day to day basis requires opening up to the possiblity of the moment and not being afraid of that moment. When I walk down the street, a cup of coffee in my hand, a song in my heart, and I come across something that gives me a moment’s pause to admire (archetecture, flowers, a view of a sunset, etc…) I open up to that moment for what it is. I had a wonderful summer love with Kat in Texas a few years back and I still love Kat. She is a great chapter in my life, a chapter that is indespensible. That chapter was so powerful, I think, because before we loved each other we both knew of my plans to move from Texas to Oregon. This being said, we decided to enjoy the days we had as fully as we could. There were no steps, no progressions, no levels of intimacy to travel through, no timeline (hanging out to boyfriend to special someone to marriage). No, we just opened ourselves up to the possiblity of the moment.
Fast forward a couple years and Eliza. I think that the same thing happened here of sorts. A brief history from the beginning. I began work at the club in December. Eliza was one of the girls and she was incredibly beautiful. Now it is a strange thing for me to be able to do, but I have an ability to turn off my attraction to a woman, to put a wall between her and me in my mind. So effective is this wall that I lose all attraction for her and find it difficult to imagine anything sexual with said person. I just “let go” of attaction for her. Being a man with hormones, I am attracted to women that come into work, but after a few nights of seeing the new girl I will “let go” of all attraction for her and that will be that. Women that I’ve really been attracted to, who have hit on me and asked me out, I’ve put up the wall and have since found it impossible to tear down said wall, even during a more fortuitous time (such as not being a co-worker). Okay, having said such, I never allowed this to happen with Eliza. I loved her sets and I would sometimes have to turn away, go to another room or even outside as the sexual attraction for her was too strong. Yet I never let go of that attraction.
I never knew that I had a crush on her. Eliza has told me that all the girls were telling her that it was obvious to them that I had one. But looking back on it, I can imagine how I might have had one and not known it. I just never entertained such ideas in my mind, but the heart (or at least the subconscious mind) seemed to be attuned to her. The word was that she was going to leave us. Quit the job and move back across the state for some personal matters. It became a running gag between us that I would ask her to move away with me to Canada and she’d tell me that she’d only go to someplace warm. I’d also mock threaten her not to move, then teasingly beg and plead for her not to move. All this was done in good spirits and humor.
It was perhaps two weeks before her move when she kissed me. It took me by surprise. We were alone in a room and she told me that she had to tell me a secret. I sat down in a chair next to her and put my elbows on my knees and clasped my hands, ready to hear her secret and to be an ear for her. Next thing I knew she was kissing my neck and fireworks exploded all around. My heart raced, my pulse quickened, and I became disoriented. I still get this sensation even today when we kiss. It feels like the first kiss, I revel in the texture of her lips and I will lose my balance while standing. Odd, because I have very good balance and above average agility. Yet when we kiss I will begin to sway and will have to grab ahold of something to steady myself. It is our private joke that we can never kiss on a cliff’s edge.
We kissed and the wheels of our lives began to weave threads together. What future did it hold? There did not seem to be any future actually. She was leaving for across the state and I was staying here. She was also considering moving to Portland when she finished her business. I was in love with Eugene and the University of Oregon and didn’t want to move. But I cannot lie… I became enamored of her and though she has her alloted share of troubles and concerns from the universe, her feelings and quirks about herself and her life… I see so much beauty from her, an inner radiance that captures my eyes and grips my heart. Being habit in my daily life to approach each moment as best as I can, to appreciate it and to simply “be”… I allowed myself to simply love. I have no gods, no religions, but I am a lover of beauty in its widest sense. This woman is beauty. I could not help but love her.
With time now my enemy I let myself love her for each moment that I had. Each day was a gift, a treasure. She was leaving soon. How often have I been driving down the highway and will notice that the sunset is stunning in its colors and will pull over to the side of the road and sit on the car in silent awe? Too many to count. How many times have I been late for an appointment and yet have come across something beautiful and will stop to fully look at the object? Too many to count. Eliza was, in my mind, another sunset of unsurpassed beauty and I was pulling over on the highway of life to sit in silent awe.
But things change in life like the scenery along a river’s bank. The only constant is the moving of the river, the flowing of time. We’ve found ourselves in a remarkable relationship. She is the love of my life. It would be a lie for me to say that I’ve not imagined what a future with her would be like. I have. Yet there is a common thread in many of the things that I do. When I go hiking, it is not the destination that I am there for, it is the process, the hike itself that draws me. When I paint it is not the finished work (my paintings all sit in a stack on a shelf) but the process of feeling the surge of creativity mixed with jazz, black coffee, and paint brush. When I make love it isn’t the experience of orgasm that I strive for, it is the process of being with her, of experiencing her, her taste, her touch, her scent, her warmth. So why would a relationship be approached as a means to an end? It isn’t. I am not in this for the ultimate goal of marriage or kids or anything. I want to experience this relationship for what it is and to bring as much to it, and take as much from it, as I can. What a world of difference this makes in everything! If getting to a spot on a mountain was the goal, drive there for the hike will waste time. But if you enjoy the hike, oh what a grand hike you’ll have and what a view you’ll get at the end! If orgasm is all you want, masturbate and get it over with. But to immerse yourself into another person, to match heartbeats, to mingle breath, to feel fingers grip through tangled hair, rippled muscles arch in rhythym, locking gazes… ahh… that is magnificent! For marriage and kids, the world is filled with opportunities for such. Many of the kids I grew up with have followed the mistaken path of “graduate h.s., get a job, get married, have kids, pay a mortgage” for happiness. Only to wallow in misery.
What would a life with Eliza be like? What would it be like to have a house, a dog (can’t forget a dog), a yard, a normal work schedule? Kids? All interesting questions indeed and not beyond my thoughts. Yet the more important questions are what relationship do we have now? How can I give more to this relationship? How can I help her to develop herself according to her dreams and ideals? What can she do to help me in my own development? How can we alter and shape each other’s lives for the better? It is amazing to me that sharing a Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookie with her at 3 am is special. That watching South Park with her is fun. That shopping with furniture with her is fun. Last night, lying next to her naked form I was struck with a deep amazement. How could the universe produce such a person, a person so fulfilling to me, and how could mere chance explain our unlikely meeting?
There is no timeline with Eliza. I am not moving towards marriage and kids. I want this relationship to be all that “it” can be. I told her a few weeks ago, that if we approached this relationship with all that we could and grew as much as we could from it. Imagine what our next relationships would be like? Don’t we naturally progress in relationships? I mean, once you’ve been involved with someone remarkable, you don’t put up with anything less afterward. I am not saying that ours will last forever, though the way things feel now it is hard to imagine there ever being an end. I am not saying that love is this mystical state that descends on a couple and everything will be okay. Like Scott Peck says in The Road Less Travelled, it is work and a committment. The time may come that Eliza and myself decide to move on. But the relationships that we would each have after this one… they would have to be truly truly great! Truly, indeed for this one is already a great relationship which bucks the beliefs and misconceptions of many around us about what a relationship is. More than one person has made the comment to me, to her, to us, that we appear to be a happy couple and not the norm. We are both sappy love birds who kiss often, snuggle, tease, play, love, and live.
Maybe there is a future for us, maybe not… but there is sure one hell of a present! And this present is something of which I am grateful for. I told Eliza one night that I didn’t believe in god and so I didn’t have any deity to offer my prayers of gratitude toward. I didn’t believe in a purpose of the universe, a concern on the part of the universe for my own little life, so offering a prayer of thanks to the stars above seemed silly. But I do have a heart filled with prayers of thanks and gratitude of having her in my life, so I opted instead to give them to her. Her birthday is a week away and I have literally no money. Our four month anniversary is half a week away and I have no money. I do not wish to be rich… but I wish that I could show her how grateful I truly am for her in my life. One night recently I stood in the door way and watched her sleeping form. I found myself talking to her mother, now passed away from her own life of sadness. My heart weeps for Eliza’s pain in this. But I found myself talking to her mother, telling her that her daughter had grown up to be a remarkable woman, a woman she would definitely be proud of, a woman that I loved and I gave her my thanks for passing on what surely must be components of her spirit into Eliza during childbirth. I found myself telling her that I would be there for Eliza, a rock, a friend.
And now to the wonderful idea. Eilza had written a note to me last week with an idea about a book. You see, I would love to be a writer someday (though I think that journaling as often as I do has hampered my artistic writing ability), and Eliza is a wonderful painter with words and phrases. I still have the note and it reads as thus:
I just had the most incredible idea that I didn’t want to risk losing it and that I couldn’t hold it inside! Remember that story written in a month? (I had told her of Nanowrimo) Or something like that? I think that our story is wonderful romantic and full of enticing details and sentiment on so many levels, even from the beginning of our own personal paths, before they ever crossed. How so many of our thoughts travelled similar currents and eventually ran together in the most unlikley, but erotic sort of ways… what do you think love? What better story than the true, unadulturated peek into the mind of a woman and man who work together, grow to want each other, taste each other and discover flavors never sampled aside from the inner yearning within their souls… I write my path, you write yours, and they gradually cross and join in a map written of the most rare ink.
She is remarkable. I had actually entertained the notion of writing out a story of our meeting and romance before. But it seemed too personal, too revealing, to… one-sided. Her idea seems wonderful. What other books have approached such in this manner? What a story it would be! And I can’t help but wonder sometimes… “how will it end?”. But ah… here is the fun… the writing of the story… and perhaps the ending isn’t to be written any time soon. But oh what an ending it will be!