I Smell Christmas

A quadrille

children kick balls
on the resurfaced street,
dressed for winter.
the dog sleeps, wakes
to be walked and fed.
I watch cartoons–animated
movies with Christmas trees
taller than my building
on screen.

season of giving
crash-landed . . .
I’m not ready for it.

are you?

*The piece reads better going directly to the website: https://acorneredgurl.com. The WordPress Reader has horrible recent updates to it, and I’m about ready to haul the entire WordPress engineering crew out of a huge window.

We Never Stop Loving Those Who We Love the Most

Sometimes that can be a hindrance

Photo by Daniela Darlene via ReShot

Intimately, on a scale of deep passion, I have loved — truly loved four people. Two women. Two men. This isn’t to say, I have only had four relationships, no . . . it is to convey I have only fallen in love with four people. Others I have liked — have been fond of — have enjoyed their presence. But . . . I could walk away from them or they could walk away from me and not one eyelash would bat.

I recognize, at age forty-one, this could seem perplexing to some. It is probably even unbelievable to others, but I have always been a person who loves hard but only with a person who could break down some effectively built walls. Four people did that.

And after each one, I threw up another wall — bigger and stronger than the previous barricade. Two years ago, the last person with whom I was in love and I stopped communicating — the wall remains. It keeps bad people out, and all the good feelings — memories and fun-filled times, in. “I just wanna be loved. Like everybody else does. I just wanna be loved.” ©Jill Scott

Recently, a friend of mine said to me, “Eventually, Tre, you will have to let someone else in. And they won’t have an easy time if that wall is still there.” I am aware of this. It sits with me for many days and taunts me. But the wall is my safety. The wall is security. Anyone willing to dive into my heart should be able to knock it down, correct?

We think we know what we want.

Sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes, we are clearly flailing about on this earth, grasping at strings of air, yearning to survive another day. I can tell you who I think would be most compatible with me, but it doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome for us. I can tell you what I want most in a partner, but there could be things within me that person may not want or gravitate toward.

“I just wanna be loved. Like everybody else does. I just wanna be loved.” ©Jill Scott

On a good day, I can say with certainty, this is all I need. On a bad day, other things cram into the spaces of my brain and force me to believe there is more. There is so much more. But what? And why?

Learning to love more than the four.

Currently, I am teaching myself the importance of loving more than the four. What does this mean? It means I have to be willing to know someone else can do what the four did. Someone else will want to do what the four did. And if I don’t keep my eyes open and be mindful of this person’s attempt when it occurs, I could miss out on the fifth because of the damn four.

You still here? Are you following me?

We never stop loving those who we love the most. No one’s asking us to. No one expects us to. We fall in love for so many reasons, many of them understandable to most, and some, not so much. The things that make us reminisce about our lost loves during our transition back into the dating world will always hang in the shadows — dangling their hindrance devices.

Can we move on? A better question . . . do we even want to?

Currently, I am teaching myself the importance of loving more than the four.

I want to believe I have enough strength in me to let loose and let love have its way when it tries to sneak in again. But first, I’ll have to do something about this damn wall. I don’t want to tire myself out from the heavy lifting. Stripping away one’s barrier could end up being a test on “survival of the fittest.” Am I fit enough to survive?

The four won’t hold me back.

This is my mantra. It is what I am telling myself these days to get through the lonely moments. The four can only do what I let them. The four will only be as harmful to me as I allow. I won’t be held back any longer.

There is a whole life in this world waiting to be had, and love is a part of it. Opening up is a part of it. Being able to be vulnerable and willing to take a risk is a part of it.

We never stop loving those who we love the most. No one’s asking us to do this at all. No one expects us to. But we have to differentiate between holding on to our past loves because the experiences were positive, and we’d like more like them, and holding on to our past loves because we are afraid every other one will not be like them.

If we keep holding on to them, what else will we be willing to grasp. Today, I refuse to allow the four to be a hindrance.

Where’s the sledgehammer? I’ve got a wall to destroy.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium