Lauded by Lovers IV

The ocean was near, yet we continued to swim in private pools. Surely, salt would have stung and possibly tormented every remaining wound, yet the disinfectant nature of chlorine violently removed whatever restoring power lies within any body of water. You spent mornings sweeping that balcony, while I spent nights pacing along the ledge of my roof. Individually we sought the beauty of a nuanced sky, but forgot to remove the paint. We’re embarrassed members of a generation of forgetters, despite knowing how the the past drips into the present like sap out of a maple tree. The clouds of unknowing wept, yet clothes remained dry as we clung to idols formed not of metal and wood. Mothers encouraged the building of faith, but failed to understand how clinging to ideas of God eliminated the possibility of a supreme vision. Thus, we remained trapped in the gyration of blind energy that some perceive as reality.

For some time, the pursuit of security became an obsession we rarely addressed. My gaze grew more ambiguous as your insomnia became all the more determined. We overlooked the obvious concerns in order to cordially fit into the constraints of working weeks. Didn’t we once believe that health is more than the absence of disease or injury? Whenever pressed, I valiantly defended the makings of my manhood, even when it offended the sovereignty of your womanhood. A silent agreement halted the indiscriminate attacks, but peace remained galaxies away from my soul. My uncontrollable rage, which was on display within the confines of my pathetic darkroom, appalled visitors.  Endeavouring to institute calm, they proposed a burning of all negatives that depicted you. Their naiveté was dumbfounding. With all their education, they somehow believed the ritual of fire would speak to that void you created. They, similar to  the handful of friends and family members that tolerated these outbursts, pitied my existence and hoped for a renaissance. I suppose, they were unaware of the developed photographs lodged deep in memory. Some were in black and white, most were in colour, all helped to further a suffering that was undeniably self-induced despite my wild allegations that tended to implicate you.

Whether it was due to loyalty or a lack of facts, informants relinquished few details. Then again, hearing his name, place of birth and character traits would have merely increased my disillusionment. Didn’t you know that a year later, mornings were still difficult? I wrestled with your ghost while cursing his being. My downward spiral had countless lows, which I grew tired of sharing. One morning, I awoke before the alarm, but kept my eyes closed. Entering my darkroom, the mission was clear: destroy every lingering image of you. But discernment is complicated business for an agitated mind, particularly when engaging in a discipline that often blurs the lines between truth and fiction. To my surprise, I found you in places I visited alone, working jobs you never held and nurturing children we never made. In a tone that was most unsettling, my scissors repeatedly commanded me to cut memories that had yet to be. Anxious beads of sweat sprouted from my forehead as my body started to tremble. Rebelling, I questioned its wisdom by asking why reality is limited to the happenings outside of self. Uninterested in an answer, I released my weapon and opened my eyes. Unable to stand for another moment, I knelt on the cracked floor vowing to surrender everything except my breath. I grabbed the pen and notepad from the nightstand and commenced the most cathartic exercise of my life. My heart spilled onto the paper in black ink like Malevich’s with his black square.

Your letter arrived six months after I sent mine. A few seconds, perhaps less, was all it took to realize that I still yearned for your words. Nevertheless, a day, perhaps more, was the time it took for me to open the envelop and extract the four pages. Your telling of our history reminded me of why we were once lauded by lovers. It reminded me of why company is never satisfied with the limited space I offer. His name arose when discussing your living arrangement, which you eloquently portrayed as uncertain. Time had apparently given him the confidence to ask the most unfathomable of questions. Fortunately, time, an illusional force capable of much  harm, had not thoroughly extinguished the flame of our courtship. At least that’s what I gathered from your curiosity about where we would be if sight hadn’t vanished. You correctly asserted that we all have a desire, or even stronger, a fundamental need, to be seen. On the final page, you placed a photo of that park bench where our story began. You confessed to visiting that indelible park a handful of times and concluded  that we were lauded by lovers because we dared to love.


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