Candyland

By
So I have this fear that I’m somehow crippled in my writing because I’ve never been in love.

I don’t know why I think it’s so crippling, except that I have some inkling that it’s a whole maze of emotion under one word, capable of giving people powers and insanities like nothing else. I think it deserves my recognition, if not my respect.

I’m not talking about attraction or kisses. I want to know about love, even the un-romantic kind. I want to know why some people don’t feel the need to shove others away, why I have such a hard time accepting a hug. I want to know how to fool myself into thinking I need something that I could survive without.

Where’s the starting line for love, and what kind of game are we talking about? Is it Candyland, the one where everyone always wins without even finishing? Do you start out happy and sometimes descend into a tantrum? Do you know you’re in love because you like the way they smell and the way they smile, and because you miss them when they’re gone?

Or are we playing horseshoes, with a lot of prayer and a little bit of perfect? Does it involve breathing exercises, and the art of letting things fall through your fingers? Is the gold medal so interchangeable with last place that, with a little bad luck, you can end up with nothing?

Personally, I’m hoping for a plane ride. I want a swoop at the beginning and at the end. I want to sleep along the way and know that it doesn’t matter, because I’m not in charge at all. I want the security of being taken where I’m meant to go, even if that happens to be rock bottom at death spiral speed. My life has always been about me knowing exactly where I wanted to end up, and I want it to continue like that, but with the ground always feeling a little insubstantial on the days when I'm not dressed appropriately.

I have this feeling—another fear of mine—that love’s not everything it’s cracked up to be. That it’s just a name for something daily that we all go through that can't be explained with any other word, like yawn or tickle. Another reason for people to claim superiority, because they happen to have first-hand experience.

Of course, the worst thing would be experiencing it without knowing at all. My nightmare would be love coming and then slipping away before I could do anything about it. It would be exactly like that road trip we all took when were eight years old, the one we slept through. What happened was you slept through the Grand Canyon and woke up at the rest stop with your face pressed against the vinyl seats and a yearning you hadn’t felt before. The natural wonder you missed is the one thing you want to see more than anything else, now that you know you’ve missed your chance.





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