Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Your Wyles

I wrote these words to you: “You are more lovely than you know.” This was the second iteration of the words I scribbled down on a piece of paper quickly torn from the receipt roll. The first was, “You are the most beautiful person I have met in the past three years of my life.” (Perhaps you can see why I was less than content with the first version.)

But I need to return to the end of 2003 for you to understand the tableau I endeavour to recreate.

Some time in the span of 2001 to 2003, I wrote a note to the first Idea, confessing my overwhelming infatuation with Its person. I had, however, balked at including my name — a notion I had stolen from the first love note I ever received. I had written a second letter; this one bore my name at its end. (I can still feel it in my breast pocket — hot, heavy, burning with dizzying agitation.) I had long-planned designs to give it to her before I disappeared onto my homewards-bound bus, my inaction somehow seeming, in one fashion or another, analogous to an archetypal romance.

I did not give the first Idea that second note.

I remember the sensation of sinking into the bus seat and realizing I was the coward I had long suspected myself to be. The note was a pile of bricks in my consternated pocket at this point; there could be no chance of redemption after such a stunning exhibition of gutlessness. (And yet there was, History says, correcting me. Just not until many years later.)

Flashing forwards, to now, to the last day of 2013 — and what exactly has changed? I stand with a note written for an audience of eyes that will never even devour it. (I almost left the building without even saying goodbye to her, but I knew this crossed the line from cowardice to plain rudeness — and I could never hurt her.) I forced myself to find her, before I left the building, the city, her universe. She was in full view — there was no privacy, nor fireworks, nor anything that would aid my amorous ambitions. I gave her a playful poke. I told her I was leaving. She embraced me. (How this reality differed from what I had pictured in my head — telling her, “If you touch me, I might die” and believing it.) I embraced her back. She’s so slender, I think to myself. So that’s what she would feel like in my arms.

She asks if I’m going to come back and visit. I lie and say, “Maybe” and “I’m sure we’ll see each other before long” even though I have serious misgivings about whether or not I will see this dearest of creatures again in this mortal coil.

You are more lovely than you know mocks me from my breast pocket.

“Goodbye,” I say.

(I cannot recall what she said in response.)

In the BMW and feeling the engine rev to three, four thousand RPMs and flying down Bayfield, (515) by Slipknot erupting from the Harmon Kardon cacophony and Sid Wilson's guts are pouring out his mouth, (“DEATH, DEATH, DEATH!”) and at the moment, it’s all I can bear to subject my ears to.

You’re still a coward, I remind myself.

But maybe that’s how you kill an Idea — if she were one — hypothetically speaking, I wonder. Complete abnegation — not humouring idle whims and idealized versions of an already idealized woman.

But who knows. The highway yields to the gas pedal and I find myself almost smiling, the déjà vu, the déjà fait, the hilarity of three years of cowardice culminating in nothing but a pathetic meditation on my own pathetic qualities.

I trembled like a leaf when I saw you again, is what I wanted to say to her. Your face is like an eclipse, is another one. But I didn’t. And so, she will never know the extent of the paroxysmal obsession — infatuation — love — that she instilled in me that singular moment I first clapped eyes on her that one day in December, in years omitted.