Image deliberately distorted to protect me from the consequences of displaying it.
How strange. Instinctively perhaps; certainly not voluntarily or premeditatedly. Reactively. Overwhelmingly; as if trying to redress an imbalance. I can’t seem to think of you without facing an overwhelming urge to tell you “I love you”; never in English though, only in Spanish. In Spanish it seems so much more profound, so much more unique, so much more special, so much more right.
It makes it difficult for me to call you since I know that uttering that reality is useless, hopeless. Unhealthy in the sense that it will damage the fragile relationship we’re both seeking to reestablish. A healthy relationship; perhaps not based on trust but somehow, on something unique, something very special that overcomes distrust.
But I so enjoy hearing your voice, each word a seeming treasure, even when it’s not what I might hope to hear.
How strange, how utterly strange. You love being shrouded in mystery and secrecy, closed, and I’m an open book, a confused and frequently incoherent open book, to be sure, which is why not blurting out my feelings regardless of the vulnerability to which they’d expose me, requires so much discipline. But then, I tend to be good at discipline.
Sometimes I feel like asking you if you know what I feel, if you would know it no matter how vehemently I’d deny it, whether you can see right through me, but then, I don’t know, I just don’t know, I stand paralyzed like a fawn in a hunter’s light. I’m pretty sure you do though.
Still, what use would it be to admit something that has no hope of realization or probability of reciprocation; an admission that might instead frighten you, or embolden you to assume the puppeteer’s platform; not all that difficult a task for you where I’m concerned.
It’s frightening to realize that while perhaps not likely, it’s possible that you could make me betray any value I hold dear. It’s not likely that you’d want to but it would be easy enough for you to fill my universe, leaving space for nothing else, not even for me. That would be all too similar to how you once described love to me, an all giving source tied to an all-consuming heritor; everything given and nothing received until, the giver exhausted, vanished.
I wonder if you really believed that in general, or whether it was what you expected, or perhaps merely hoped for, from me. The sad truth is that at times I was tempted to accept that, something that shames me as it so tastes of betrayal, betrayal of everything else, betrayal of my intellect and my soul, of my being and my beliefs, of my evolution, of the reasons for which the universe created me as who I am and who, perhaps, I was meant to be.
You make me understand the mythical Adam. I’d undoubtedly have eaten the apple and have traded everything for you; knowingly and brazenly, and I’d have admitted as much when probed. You saved me from that by choosing the other path.
But now you’re back.
Have you changed in any way, any way at all? I remember the question that should have been the most beautiful one of all, the one you once posted to the winds, rather than to me;
“Would you risk everything for love?”
And then you left.
With someone else.
I survived and evolved and established new relationships, utterly bland relationships in which I was the sought after hero, not because I needed that role, I disdained it, it meant nothing to me. It lacked flavor and odor; it was colorless, shades of white; it had no music, it never touched my slumbering soul, but the days went by, and I did good things for others, I was a teacher and a protector, as my name meant me to be, I was the universe’s tool alienated from needs other than the merely quotidian; and I seemed just fine though I strove for a purpose and like one I admire, Pablo Neruda, I turned from love as a deeply personal affliction to love for a people, for civic causes, a quest to fight injustice and inequity, to promote peace, something in which to lose myself and keep from thinking of you, except, from time to time in my dreams.
I started writing this as a brief message to you, an explanation of why I don’t call as frequently as I feel I should as we embark on new, interpersonal explorations, perhaps on welcome intrusions into each other’s lives, into a process of healing and perhaps a quest to better understand each other. But now, as I tend to do with you, perhaps I’ve again exposed my deepest essence; and perhaps, as you almost always do, I find that a bit too frightening, a coward who dwells somewhere within me urging care and caution and immobility, seeking to herd me into safer shadows.
How strange. Instinctively perhaps; certainly not voluntarily or premeditatedly. Reactively. Overwhelmingly; as if trying to redress an imbalance. I can’t seem to think of you without facing an overwhelming urge to tell you I love you; never in English though, only in Spanish. In Spanish it seems so much more profound, so much more unique, so much more special, so much more right.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.