My aim is to understand love. I know how alive I felt when I was in love, and I know that everything I have now, however interesting it might seem, doesn’t really excite me.
But love is a terrible thing: I’ve seen my girlfriends suffer and I don’t want the same thing to happen to me. They used to laugh at me and my innocence, but now they ask me how it is I manage men so well. I smile and say nothing, because I know that the remedy is worse than the pain: I simply don’t fall in love. With each day that passes, I see more clearly how fragile men are, how inconstant, insecure, and surprising they are…a few of my girlfriends’ fathers have propositioned me, but I’ve always refused. At first, I was shocked, but now I think it’s just the way men are.
Although my aim is to understand love, and although I suffer to think of the people to whom I gave my heart, I see that those who touched my heart failed to arouse my body, and that those who aroused my body failed to touch my heart.
Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?
I made my first mistake when I was eleven years old, when a boy asked me if I could lend him a pencil; since then, I’ve realized that sometimes you get no second chance and that it’s best to accept the gifts the world offers you. Of course it’s risky, but is the risk any greater than the chance of the bus that took forty-eight hours to bring me here having an accident? If I must be faithful to someone or something, then I have, first of all, to be faithful to myself. If I’m looking for true love, I first have to get the mediocre loves out of my system. The little experience of life I’ve had has taught me that no one owns anything, that everything is an illusion—and that applies to material as well as spiritual things. Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever (as has happened often enough to me already) finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them.
And if nothing belongs to me, then there’s no point wasting my time looking after things that aren’t mine; it’s best to live as if today were the first (or last) day of my life.
I have spent a lot of my life saying “no” to things to which I would have liked to say “yes,” determined to try only those expProxy-Connection: keep-alive
iences I could control—certain affairs I have had with men, for example. Now I am facing the unknown, as unknown as the sea had once been to the navigators who crossed it, or so I have been told in history classes. I could always say “no,” but would I then spend the rest of my life brooding over it, as I still do over the memory of the little boy who had once asked to borrow a pencil and had then disappeared—my first love? I could always say “no,” but why not try saying “yes” this time?
I’m not a body with a soul, I’m a soul that has a visible part called the body. All this week, contrary to what one might expect, I have been more conscious of the presence of this soul than usual. It didn’t say anything to me, didn’t criticize me or feel sorry for me: it merely watched me.
Today, I realized why this was happening: it’s been such a long time since I thought about love or anything called love. It seems to be running away from me, as if it wasn’t important any more and didn’t feel welcome. But if I don’t think about love, I will be nothing.
All my life, I thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement. Well, that’s a lie: freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly.
And the person who loves wholeheartedly feels free.
That is why, regardless of what I might experience, do or learn, nothing makes sense. I hope this time passes quickly, so that I can resume my search for myself—in the form of a man who understands me and does not make me suffer.
But what am I saying? In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.
It hurt when I lost each of the various men I fell in love with. Now, though, I am convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone.
That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.
I’m going back, or, rather, part of me is going back to that world where only what we can see, touch, and explain make sense. I want to get back to the world of speeding tickets, people arguing with bank cashiers, eternal complaints about the weather, to horror films and Formula 1 racing. This is the universe I’ll have to live with for the rest of my days. I’ll get married, have children, and the past will become a distant memory, which will, in the end, make me ask myself: How could I have been so blind? How could I have been so ingenuous?
I also know that, at night, another part of me will remain wandering in space, in contact with things as real as the pack of cigarettes and the glass of gin before me now. My soul will dance with his soul; I’ll be with him while I sleep; I’ll wake up sweating and go to the kitchen for a glass of water. I’ll understand that in order to combat ghosts you must use weapons that form no part of reality. Then, following the advice of my grandmother, I’ll place an open pair of scissors on my bedside table to snip off the end of the dream.
The next day, I’ll look at the scissors with a touch of regret, but I must adapt to living in the world again or risk going mad.
“I saw nothing but that light then. And then this next thing, this next thing was…sound. A dull roar at first and then a pounding like the pounding of a drum, growing louder and louder, as if some enormous creature were coming up on one slowly through a dark and alien forest, pounding as he came, a huge drum. And then there came the pounding of another drum, as if another giant were coming yards behind him, and each giant, intent on his own drum, gave no notice to the rhythm of the other. The sound grew louder and louder until it seemed to fill not just my hearing but all my senses, to be throbbing in my lips and fingers, in the flesh of my temples, in my veins. Above all, in my veins, drum and then the other drum; and then he pulled free suddenly, and I opened my eyes and checked myself in a moment of reaching for him, grabbing him, forcing him back to me at all costs; I checked myself because I realized that the drum was my heart, and the second drum had been his.”—
“I’m scared that I will undoubtedly fuck up anything that is good in my life. I’ll fuck it up partly because I am never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough for me, and partly, or rather: I’m never satisfied because I am so scared of getting fucked and not having control over getting fucked, that I would rather fuck it up myself. I’d rather ruin something myself, than take the chance of losing control over it. Although I am scared that this is true, I am not entirely convinced that I will always act this way. I think I have a strong tendency for this behavior, but so long as I am aware of it, I can at least diffuse it a little. Can’t I? Moreover, as a consequence of the above, I am scared that I will never be happy in a relationship. I’m also scared that my lifestyle is preventing me from having a shot at a normal relationship (which requires spending time together) and by the time I slow down, everyone will already be married, and I will only have the hordes of the lost to choose from.”—
Dove –noun 1. any bird of the family Columbidae, especially the smaller species with pointed tails. Compare pigeon ( def. 1 ) . 2. a pure white member of this species, used as a symbol of innocence, gentleness, tenderness, and peace. 3. ( initial capital letter ) a symbol for the Holy Ghost. 4. an innocent, gentle, or tender person. 5. Also called peace dove. a person, especially one in public office, who advocates peace or a conciliatory national attitude. Compare hawk1 ( def. 4 ) . 6. dove color. 7. ( initial capital letter ) Astronomy . the constellation Columba.
Light –noun 1. something that makes things visible or affords illumination: All colors depend on light. 2. Physics . a. Also called luminous energy, radiant energy. electromagnetic radiation to which the organs of sight react, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 700 nm and propagated at a speed of 186,282 mi./sec (299,972 km/sec), considered variously as a wave, corpuscular, or quantum phenomenon. b. a similar form of radiant energy that does not affect the retina, as ultraviolet or infrared rays. 3. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of sight. 4. an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon. 5. the radiance or illumination from a particular source: the light of a candle. 6. the illumination from the sun; daylight: We awoke at the first light. 7. daybreak or dawn: when light appeared in the east. 8. daytime: Summer has more hours of light. 9. a particular light or illumination in which an object seen takes on a certain appearance: viewing the portrait in dim light. 10. a device for or means of igniting, as a spark, flame, or match: Could you give me a light? 11. a traffic light: Don’t cross till the light changes. 12. the aspect in which a thing appears or is regarded: Try to look at the situation in a more cheerful light. 13. the state of being visible, exposed to view, or revealed to public notice or knowledge; limelight: Stardom has placed her in the light. 14. a person who is an outstanding leader, celebrity, or example; luminary: He became one of the leading lights of Restoration drama. 15. Art . a. the effect of light falling on an object or scene as represented in a picture. b. one of the brightest parts of a picture. 16. a gleam or sparkle, as in the eyes. 17. a measure or supply of light; illumination: The wall cuts off our light. 18. spiritual illumination or awareness; enlightenment. 19. Architecture . a. Also called day. one compartment of a window or window sash. b. a window, especially a small one. 20. mental insight; understanding. 21. lights, the information, ideas, or mental capacities possessed: to act according to one’s lights. 22. a lighthouse. 23. Archaic . the eyesight.
Laughter –noun 1. the action or sound of laughing. 2. an inner quality, mood, disposition, etc., suggestive of laughter; mirthfulness: a man of laughter and goodwill. 3. an expression or appearance of merriment or amusement. 4. Archaic . an object of laughter; subject or matter for amusement.
I don’t believe any single thing or person can be described with one word. These are the words I have been given and the definitions I have therefore chosen. A dove, however, is symbolic. It is more than a bird, more than peacefulness. It is universally beautiful and it is lasting. Light, while lasting and pure, also has the ability to cast shadows. It can illuminate certain points while washing out others. It is, in some ways, vain and shallow. Without limits it can be considered quite harsh. Laughter, meanwhile, is joyful. It is happy and delightful. It can also be incredibly cruel and without sympathy.
But like I said, these are just the words I’ve been given.