Why else would I wait nine years for my first love to emerge from what I was convinced was the minor inconvenience of his marriage, children, thousands of kilometres of distance? I felt I could wait almost forever if the end would bring absolution. Waiting for a reprieve is almost like reprieve, as long as the fantasy can be maintained. But he came back and instead he was very fragile; his love was tepid and impotent. I drove him away in disgust.
Miguel's face, without submitting to hysteria, is like the sun. A bit of a homely face, perhaps, but with dark, heavily-lashed brown eyes I can rest in without fear of sanction. On whole, he appears the human equivalent of an attack dog. And yet, his face for me, the one only I know, is pure sweetness.
At times the sweetness fades and those brown eyes grow wet. I usually equate vulnerability with endings--sign of an emotional wedge that will drive my dearly dispossesed away. Miguel's tears are a sign of a future; it's the way he lets me know "I'm fighting for you." I love those honest tears, just like I love the honest heart they spring from. It is the strongest heart I have known. I want to spend forever looking at its contours in the face of my beloved. It is the home I thought I would have to wait years more to find.
Oh dear reader, how in love I am.
And yet how depressed. During the two weeks I spent touring southern Mexico with my love I felt my skin shrinking, my will dying. "You realize you aren't talking to anyone," Miguel said to me. I sprouted two raging infections. I slept endlessly. I looked up at a towering, ancient Mayan pyramid that begged for exploration and said, "Well that's quite enough for now, let's go get lunch." '
I wanted to escape through the permeable Guatemala border into its desperately impoverished lushness and never stop running. I wanted to hole up in a very small place and stop moving. As my stomach convulsed and heaved, Miguel and I spent the entire day holed up in a cabana in the Chiapas jungle listening to the rain pour onto the tin roof. "Finally the world has gone away," I thought. It was like a little death, the mild depressive's dream of living unconsciousness.
Why my mental health has slid into sludgy waters once again is a matter of speculation even to me, but it is interesting to note how one can simultaneously be perfectly at home and excrutiatingly uncomfortable. Time with Miguel is a living exercise in what I wrote my first novel about--the idea that love is about finding the person your body and mind can rest in with utter abandon. Whether we are snarled in horrific traffic in Mexico City's Viaducto, suffering through a brutal eleven hour bus ride in the twisty Chiapas mountains, or having cheesy quesadillas on the couch after a long day at work, I can look at Miguel and think "This is exactly where I want to be and who I want to be with and that's bloody that."
Perhaps this seems a patently obvious aspect of new love. But as someone who hates to make the irrevocable choice I usually enjoy courting a seed of doubt that would give me permission to take a quick side exit. In this case, Miguel talks about sending wedding turkeys to my parents, about getting married in Turkey for heaven's sake, and for the first time in a long while I think "All of it! All of the madness! Pour this incredible fortune right down my throat and let me make a life out of it!"
But the truth is that the love slides right through, leaving a golden trail that fails to penetrate a deeper sickness. That state now envelopes my days with darkness. After the first man I stopped believing that love would bring me out of unhappiness but I still can't help feeling fascinated that the two states can co-exist so neatly.
Now I wait for my own little world to uncoagulate and allow me a thin gray happiness. I think if I can reach a state where brilliant lights streak across very even sky I will have found my utopia. But that climate seems remote; the sky over my Mexico City is very dark and low right now. I have decided to simply hold on until the scenery changes and thank God for these brilliant flashes of respite.