Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cautious man

Tonight, as I read my old pal Gina’s posting on the traumas of Valentine’s Day, I remembered my secret. It’s a gross secret, a secret that needs out out out of my heart because it’s making all the stuff next to it go rotten. What are the words you say when you shuffle back and forth back and forth, trying to get up the nerve to jump from a cliff to the water below? Imagine I’m saying those words. Okay, here it goes: Brett, if you’re out there, remember that poem I gave you thirteen years ago almost to the day? The one I had Ms. Redford, our English teacher, deliver (that seems weird now)? The one confessing the ache in my stomach and brain and heart, all for you? Well…

I didn’t write it. I stole it. I ripped it out of Seventeen Magazine’s poetry section, typed it up on my computer, and told you it was meant for you.

The thing is, it WAS meant for you. I meant each one of those sticky, sacchariney, teenagey, words. And just because some other fan of Seventeen Magazine meant them first…and wrote them down…and published them…doesn’t make them any less customized. And how would a little seventh grade you ever find out? I took a chance that Seventeen Magazine wasn’t on your reading list. Seventh grade Brett was reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” You were the king of the internet when no one knew what the fuck that was, putting on eyeliner and listening to Dead Can Dance with your new goth girlfriend. You lived in a different world from the rest of the seventh graders. How did you find the porthole? You were unhappy, but gleefully unhappy! Proud of it! Painting angst into your fingernails and dyeing it into your pretty red hair! I think it was the glee that made me do it.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about how people offer love. The forged poem is how I do it in the worst of times, equipped with an ejection seat. I was a chubby, stringy haired 13 year-old, how could I lure you away from your overbearing, cape-wearing, 8th grade girlfriend? She wore a vile of blood around her neck! I didn’t stand a chance. So when I confessed my love to you, I really kept it to myself. I gave you the truth with a lie baked into the middle. And while the truth made me vulnerable, the lie gave me power. Reject me if you want, I snarled to myself, you’re still the sucker who bought that stupid poem.

In The Prophet, Gibran writes:

“If in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

Rock on, all you peeps who hate Valentine’s Day because it’s broken your heart! You are the brave ones, the ones who exposed your heart to the elements instead of keeping it cooped up like an overprotected kid. I’m thinking that if you only give part of yourself, that part is as much as another person can come to love. How would they know to love the rest of you? They don’t even know it’s there.

This Valentine’s Day, my heart is gonna lie out naked on the metal roof. With no sunscreen. This year, I’m going for the sunburn.

* Bruce says it way better.

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