To Be The One You Love
I know if I should live a hundred years
Never see another face like yours
On stranger seas, or brighter shores
Cause I know
That my love is real
David Gray, If Your Love Is Real
I love her.
I love her.
I love her.
My heart blooms at the thought of her. My heart grows at the sight of her. But I can’t love her the way she wants. Will love ever be on my terms?
It hurts to the spine to feel that my form of love is perceived as not right or not enough. My love is real.
I loved her.
“How do you know you love her?” Some ask.
I know it from how I feel when I am without her. Without her, the stars are dim and the sky slips into darkness. But when she is with me, the sun gallops through the sky and all living things rejoice in her name.
But I can’t give her what she needs.
I am not the soul of spring that buds inside of her heart. I am not the stillness in between each breath as her mouth blooms with words. Because I can’t give her what she needs. I can’t be what she wants.
And even still, flowers fiercely bloom inside of my soul. White orchids, cherry blossoms, bluebells and clusters of bleeding hearts prance and dance to a rhythm of their own when she is near. I’ll give her anything she wants. But I can’t love her like that.
I feel heaven’s heart fade into the night. Hand clenching heart. Teeth sinking into my soul, because I know that I will never be the one she wants. The one she needs. Because I can’t love her like that.
And when the world is silent, I can hear the beating of my brittle heart. Without her, the stars are dim and the sky slips into darkness.
And though I am all for believing, my heart is filled with a certain amount of doubt that she will ever want to be with me because she wants more than I can give.
But still, I long to be her one and only...the one she wants...the one she needs (in the way I can be wanted or needed).
I was a freshman in college when I started dating Maria. I loved being around her. She was so incredibly passionate, opinionated and intelligent. Effortlessly, she pulled me into her orbit. I felt like I was floating. I loved her. I didn’t mind the kissing, sometimes it even made me dizzy, but that’s all I wanted to do. After dating for a few months, she wanted more. In my heart I knew I didn’t know how to give her more, but I tried. I tried because I wanted to be with her and if more is what keeps people together, I would. I gave her more. I tried. It didn’t turn me on. I didn’t feel good doing it, but I knew that is what she wanted. So I did it.
Soon, I started making excuses. I started being too busy. I made the circumstance impossible to be sexually intimate, so I didn’t have to do it anymore.
“Do you not want me? Am I not pretty enough for you? Are you not attracted to me?” She’d ask.
“You’re beautiful. I am just really tired. I have class in the morning and need to finish a paper.” I replied, hoping the lie and shaking in my voice was concealed.
“You don’t want me!” She said during a party with anger in her voice and a shot of tequila in her hand.
“I do. You’re drunk right now and I want to get you home.” I didn’t want her like that. But I could never tell her.
It wasn’t until she left me that I realized I could never be what she needed. She told me that she would never ever be with another girl because of me. She kept her promise. She married a guy, moved abroad and recently had a child.
But I’m not a girl.
I slip into darkness; I am stuck in unrequited love purgatory because I don’t want to have sex with anyone I fall in love with. She too, may feel it is unrequited love.
I’ll hold all my loving and longing for her tucked deep inside of my heart.
The second time I felt deeply for someone was about a year after Maria and I broke up. Carly was kind, hardworking, bright and powerful. She soared through the sky like a happy monarch butterfly. I always admired her gentle strength.
The second time we hung out, she leaned in to kiss me. Kissing was not on my mind, but I kissed her back. We started hanging out more regularly and soon we were dating. I made her mixtapes, brought her flowers, remembered dates that were important to her, wrote her poems and held her hand like branches of trees intertwined with one another. And like a tree, my love for her grew.
One day in summer, she called me and told me she had slept with her ex-girlfriend while back home in her midwest town. I told her I didn’t want to see her again and that it was over. There was no coming back from that. She cheated. She cheated with someone who was able to give her something I couldn’t give her.
I turned up “Without You” and slowly sank into my bubble bath. I went to art school, okay?
Months later we met up at a cafe and she said with a deep and sorrowful sigh: “I don’t want to be a lesbian. I don’t want to be an old lesbian.”
I didn’t know how to respond. All that crossed my mind was the monumental scene in Lost and Delirious when Paulie declares that she is not a lesbian.
Paulie: Lesbian? Lesbian? Are you fucking kidding me, you think I'm a LESBIAN?
Mouse: You're a girl in love with a girl, aren't you?
Paulie: No! I'm PAULIE in love with TORI. Remember? And Tori, she is, she IS in love with me because she is mine and I am hers and neither of us are LESBIANS!
At this point in my life I didn’t see myself as a lesbian. I didn’t see myself as male or female. I was still understanding how I identified. I told her I understood, paid for her drink and excused myself. We never spoke after that.
This would happen a half a dozen times with women I wanted to be with. It would keep happening because I didn’t have the language to describe what I felt. It would happen because once I found the word asexual, no one would believe me.
The way I experience love is meaningful, whole and enough. But maybe this is what they mean when they say sometimes love isn’t enough.
Now for me some words come easy
But I know that they don't mean that much
Compared with the things that are said when lovers touch
You never knew what I loved in you
I don't know what you loved in me
Maybe the picture of somebody you were hoping I might be
Awake again I can't pretend and I know I'm alone
And close to the end of the feeling we've known
How long have I been sleeping
How long have I been drifting alone through the night
How long have I been dreaming I could make it right
If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might
To be the one you need
Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky