Monday, April 17, 2006

Everything is Illuminated

Oh it's just a movie.. but yeah..

It's got me thinking about my family's history and what various stories of love and tragedy are lost in the forgetfulness of the years. In some ways, I think love may be richer and deeper when never seen brought to fruition. How many volumes could be filled with tragic endings? How many folks pass away in their later years with a distant sadness still seen in their eyes from a love never attained. It is these stories that captivate my imagination and wonder. Shakespeare realized it in his story tellings, as have many others. The tragedies that end in heartbreak and suicide often strum chords in our hearts that resound familiarity. I even dream sometimes of that heartbreak passing down the generations and through my own veins. I can almost feel it, though I will never know for sure. Like a diamond on a piece of black velvet, it's the tragedies that cause the joys we experience to be illuminated.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Cloves, albino apple pie, and the promise of a tornado

My new Indian friend had me over tonight and we surely had a blast. I scribbled down a recipe as he made a chicken dish. Cloves, cinnamon, garlic, onions, tumeric, red chilis, etc etc etc made an incredible dish. He forgot to brush butter on the top of the apple pie so we called it the albino apple pie because it was so white. Wow, it sure did feel good to hang with a person from another culture once again. India is actually fairly high up on my list of countries to live in.

And where are all these tornados that I was promised? School lets out at 1pm so the kiddies won't get swept to Oz and now it's 11pm and such a beautiful night! Ah well.

Now there's a thought....
How I would love to be swept to Oz tonight. A magical land full of singing midgets and flying monkeys sounds like just the thing to chill me out from a long week of mediocrity.... See ya......

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

It's either heartbreak or indigestion

I preface this with a few points.
a. This probably doesn't belong on MySpace. I assure you the unabridged version will be in my journal where it belongs.
b. Don't expect this to make sense. Its my heart being poured out.
c. I trust you not to be a drama queen and forward this to anyone involved. I doubt most of you know any of the people I'll mention and I'll simply refer to them by initials anyhow.
d. She doesn't have MySpace.

[Deep breath]

Ok, here we go.

I received an email this morning. I knew it was coming. It was inevitable. In the back of my mind, I had no way to escape what I knew was only a matter of time. Melissa is getting married.

Perhaps some of you have experienced a similar event. A love of your heart marries another. Though you think you have long ago moved on, you realize that that dull ache in your chest has revived itself with the simple news of the engagement. The heart is a funny thing indeed.

I don't know to this day why I loved her. Again, the heart is a funny thing. I walked into the cafe that September afternoon in 2001 and spotted a friend grading papers. I walked up and began chatting with him. There sat Mel across the table studying. Now, understand, I absolutely don't buy into all that crap about love at first site. It's bogus.

So, yeah. I fell for her hard in that first 10 minutes. Why did my heart choose her? That question has been turned over in my mind for countless hours over the years. Now, granted, she has the most incredible eyes I've ever seen. But other than that, she wasn't anything close to the type of look or personality I am normally attracted to.

As I was chatting with my friend, she looked up at me. I fell into her eyes (vomit if you like but there is no other explanation sufficient). She asked me if I was taking a particular course and then proceeded to ask me about the homework. We only chatted for about 10 minutes but I was truly in another world. I have no idea what I said, for I was in auto-pilot. I walked out of the cafe and said out loud, "Bill, you just met your wife." It was my own words that shocked me back into reality. I scolded myself for being so stupid. How could I say such a ridiculous thing?! I didn't know her name or anything about her. My logic told me that I was a fool for listening to my heart while having no solid reason to be interested in this girl. Besides, it was me who did most of the talking in that first 10 minutes anyhow. There was some crazy connection going on that I couldn't explain.

I could not stop thinking about her for the next week. I replayed our 10 minute relationship over and over in my head. I filled up pages in my journal. I felt like a damn pansy.

To make a long story short(er), we became very close friends throughout the next few months. I told my best friend JC but no one else. I prayed for her. I watched her. I wrote about her. My heart was completely captivated as I got to know her. I saved the receipt from our first dinner together. I dreamed what our first embrace would feel like. I looked forward to our first fight. She consumed my thought life. I was absolutely sure that she was the one.

The end of the first semester nears. I'm off to a different campus overseas the next semester while she is to remain in the States. I agonized for two weeks in prayer and counsel with my bud JC. It was truly a difficult decision whether to share my feelings with her or not. On the last day, it came out. I don't think I was expecting a response. Rather, I wanted to just bring everything out in the open. I knew that if I kept quiet and our story ended, I would wonder for the rest of my life as to what could have been.

Fifteen minutes before I left for the airport I choked out an apology followed by, "I owe it to you as my friend to tell you the truth: I have developed feelings for you over the past few months and you deserve to know. I'm sorry; I know it sucks." She gave me a smile and a big hug with a simple, "we'll keep in touch."

We did. I saved every last email. I drove JC and AD crazy every night in our apartment as I daydreamed aloud during the next several months. She never gave a concrete response as to whether she was interested or not. All I know is that she decided the next year to join us overseas for the remainder of our college time. I met her at the airport and honestly expected something to eventually work out. For awhile, things went very well. We took long walks together in the evenings and I felt my heart attaching to her in a way that I had never previously experienced. Although it seemed odd that she never once mentioned our conversation in which I "dropped the news," I figured that she must at least feel a little fond towards me. Otherwise, spending so much time alone with the man whom she knew had feelings for her would be cruel. Again, I started praying for direction to specifically talk to her about taking our relationship to the next level. In addition to my best buds JC and AD, I found CH - a very godly and mature sister to trust. CH and I prayed together about me approaching Mel. The response we both received was a very different answer to prayer than I expected. I sat Mel down over tea and poured out my heart for an hour. However, I told her that I had to let my feelings die because it wasn't God's timing for us to get together during college. I assured her that God was capable of working everything out later if it was to be His will. She looked at me with a very puzzled look the whole time. I think she honestly believed that we were just best friends and purely platonic. Our relationship from that day forward has remained awkward. I moved on, or so I thought.

Back in Atlanta, our communication nearly ceased. I went on to other romantic interests and kept only in distant and seldom contact with her. It would be nearly two years later until we saw each other again when we rendezvoused in Atlanta to drive to JC's wedding.

My pal MB joined us for the road trip. He has a gift for reading people and a stronger gift for incredibly deep and accurate insight on personalities. (It didn't help that Mel fell for him during those three days but that's another story.) After only a few days around her, he witnessed my intense feelings that still remained. I attempted to hide them but apparently in vain. After begging him at the end of the trip for some of his insight, he shared with me that he could see the mutual (!!!) attraction but that we would never work out in the long run. Wise man. Hard pill to swallow though.

For weeks after, Mel and I spoke regularly and she even encouragd me to visit her several states away. I almost bought a plane ticket but again prayed and was directed against it.

So I receive the dreaded email this morning. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel. I'm not sure what I actually do feel. I wonder how I'll react at the wedding or if I should even go. I still wonder how my heart has remained so attached to her. What is it that is so special about Mel? How could I let my heart run wild for this many years? The huge question still remains: did she ever consider feelings for me in return? I dont think I'll ever know since she has never responded to any of my past declarations of fondness. I figure there are three possibilities. A: She never figured it out in spite of being told flat out on several occasions. This would make her a dense girl. I dont think that's the case. B: She didn't want to hurt my feelings so never gave me the answer that would break my heart. If this is the case, I totally understand because I've been in the same position before with others. However, it would have made the process much easier for me to know the truth. Given this possibility, I wouldn't be writing this today if she had been straight up with me. C: She either did have feelings for me at some point or at least was confused as to what she felt in return.

I guess it doesnt much matter now. I knew deep down that it wouldn't work out but infatuation, attraction, crushes, and (dare I say) love linger on. So, what now? Do I delete the 100+ emails I have from her? Do I lock up her pictures in a box and throw them into the ocean? Do I ignore it all and press on? How the hell should I know? There isn't any instruction manual on this type of stuff. I wish I knew how to finally close the chapter and get on with it. I have since desired other women and even loved others to some degree. I'm not even sure if it is truly love that I felt towards Mel. I mean is it possible to love somebody that never really loves you back in the same way? Who knows? Will my future wife inspire me, challenge me, captivate me, and turn my knees to Jell-O with a simple smile the way that Mel did? Time will tell perhaps. For today, however, my heart is torn in so many directions that I feel a million emotions and I feel numb to any emotion simultaneously. Is this my tragic love story or is this a young foolish heart that fell in love with the mystery of what a relationship with her might have been like? Questions like these don't get answers. I'll wipe the tears from my spirit once again, slap a Bandaid on my wounds, and hope that everything will eventually feel alright.