It was a better, if still bitter ending. Easy to acknowledge that reality, intellectually, but emotionally, a very different matter.
In the end, had things gone as he’d hoped, he’d have fallen flat on his face, unable to meet her expectations, probably not even those that had been reasonable. The deck had always been stacked against them. He wondered why the attraction had existed at all and then acknowledged that most of the attraction had been on his part.
It had been so powerful, a singularity pulling him in against all reason and experience, something primally powerful, overwhelming, but in an instant of sanity almost immediately regretted, he’d escaped, something he’d ambivalently both regretted and welcomed. But now he couldn’t stop thinking about her.
He was in an interminable runnel, a constantly repeating feedback loop, overwhelmed, emotionally drowning without any plausible options yet reaching out hoping to find a lifeguard, although who or what that might be seemed impossibly incoherent.
There was music he associated with her, Govi’s Andalusian Nights, which he played over and over even though he knew it would keep the wound from healing. Oddly, he didn’t really want it to heal, healing would drive her memory away and he wanted to keep it fresh.
During very brief soothing instants it seemed he might break free, at least break free of mourning’s denial stage, venturing towards acceptance, perhaps even resolution, only to reject the light and huddle back into his dark, psychological cave and its inner caverns of depression. It was amazing that he remained outwardly functional, but he did, … somehow. To outward appearances he even seemed productive. His writing though, next to her what he’d most valued, had virtually evaporated. In the past, their tragedies had inspired poetry, cathartic poetry, but not this time. He wondered why.
Intellectually he felt desperate, frantically seeking to understand what his experiences with her had been meant to teach him; perhaps that some things really were impossible and that the impossible was more than merely terribly difficult. Until his experiences with her had finally ended he’d been implausibly optimistic, which might explain why he’d become involved with her in the first place, and in the second and the third and the fourth, each disastrous failure leading to unrepentant renewals each time she’d returned.
Still, notwithstanding their coal-black string of romantic failures, each night as he fell into a restless slumber (as well as when he woke) he engaged in a somewhat strange spiritual exercise, seeking by will power, thread by thread, to weave a fate in which he and she were together, happy and mutually fulfilled, imagining that his answers lay in the magical world of quantum uncertainty, a world where magic not only seemed possible but probable, where neither past nor future were immutable. At those times he sometimes wondered whether, in such a context, they’d never have met, instead of having met and gone on to the improbable world of happily ever afters.
Then, he’d almost always wonder what if anything she was feeling.
He should have known better than to have fallen so profoundly in love with one whose name was the Latinized version of Artemis. Artemis the huntress, the virgin goddess, the lunar avatar. Of course, he’d never planned on meeting her, it had happened suddenly, improbably, out of nowhere. And anyway, if she identified with any goddess, Inanna would probably have been her choice. At least that’s what she’d claimed.
He now wondered whether in comparison with him, Actaeon had been the fortunate one, but even were that so, had he to do it over again, he’d do it without much change, even if he presaged the inevitable pain at the end. Something he’d always understood but had found the gamble worthwhile all the same.
He smiled unrepentantly as he realized what his hero, Albert Einstein, would have said in response. And he realized that Einstein would probably have been right. Which explained all of the foregoing rather all too well.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2019; 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 and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.