23 September 2018
And that was it. I close the door behind me and escape out into the painfully brisk air, tugging at the clothes that hang around me, trying to retain what little warmth my body can offer.
Her words hit me like waves, but, as I walk further and further away, her screams seem to fade into the distance, and what were once waves slamming against a rock wall dissolve into gentle swells lapping onto sun-dried shores.
Finally, there is nothing- no hands around my neck, no fist connecting with my skin, no tears in my eyes- nothing but the quiet of the muted winter surrounding me. As I step on to the rickety bus, I take once last deep breath of that morning air, feeling my lungs burn with the excitement of such a sudden temperature change.
That’s why you get on buses, isn’t it? To go somewhere different? To find change?
Perhaps, but there is no changing for me. The same monotonous tune has been playing for upwards of 14 years by now; there was nothing worth remembering, nothing to look forward to, nothing.
But that was the only life I knew.
That was the only love I knew.
Years after that morning I wake to find myself basking in the torridity of the budding spring. I’m laying on a dock beside someone who has become my heart’s only desire, watching his sun kissed body sway with the rolling lake water. He knows everything about me; where my past lies, where my future will take us.
He knows that what I feel for him runs through my veins and arteries and capillaries to the very crux of my being; that what we have means more to me than anything I’ve ever known.
He knows that he’s all I want, and all I will ever want.
He knows that I’ve let go of dreams and goals for him without hesitation because I just want him to happy.
He knows that.
But like that morning those years ago, there is change to be brought, and by the time all the oak leaves have tumbled through the air and settled to the ground, he has discovered something new. Someone new.
I had said he loved me; then he had said nothing for what seemed like ages and now as I lay dejected and destitute in the December air, he loves anything that gets him a high; he loves the oxy, ecstasy, crack, cough syrup, and all the hang ups in between. He loves the highs; he loves her.
But by that time he was all I knew.
He was the only love that I knew.
Not long after that December comes yet another change, and in a time where my heart is still bleeding and my mind still racing, I see someone new wander down a set of stairs and into my life. He is elegant; his striking features and sense of style ring out into the crowd like the bells of The Notre Dame.
I’ve seen him but never spoken to him before and still despite this I go to him and say him all the things my heart can’t.
Nevertheless, I’ve taken a great many lessons from people who have said they love me and now know what to expect so when I feel the temperature dip lower with each passing day my immediate reaction is to flee as fast as the bus of change will take me. I feel winter coming and while I know that how I feel today won’t change I’m very aware that how he feels very well may, so I approach my reckless emotions in an effort to funnel them toward something that can’t hurt me.
Because as much as I my despise it with every ounce of my soul,
this is still the only love I know.
And then comes the final stop of the bus route.
In pictures, nothing changes. There is no fear of being wounded or betrayed or battered or left to suffer alone in the cold.
Every photograph I take encapsulates something more; something beyond my own understanding. When I feel the shutter close, I take a deep breath just as I had that frigid morning so many moons ago and in it, I find a balmy glow of compassion.
I know that my love for these pictures won’t change because I know now that pictures themselves don’t change, just the people inside them.
And this, which is nothing of what I knew before, is love.
Love is Unfaltering. Love is Unchanging. Love is Impenetrable. Love is Impassable. Love is Beautiful. Love is Electric. Love is Patient. Love is Incomprehensible. Love is Kind. Love is Beyond any and all possible measure;
This is the love I know.