Cabot O’Callaghan sees his love everywhere—except where he actually is.
The open palm of desire
It wants everything
It wants everything
—Paul Simon, Further To Fly
There she is, in a familiar song, in a sentence I wrote, in an angle of sunlight. A long blonde stowaway hair found on my shirt. A hummingbird flitting through the branches of my thoughts. She’s everywhere, everywhere.
But not the place I want her most. Not at my side, her hand in mine. The ache of her absence has cheapened everything, dulled it. The blessing given is not enough. Not enough.
I deserve her, to have her exactly as I want. Now.
I want her. Not as a string of binary numbers assembled into an hollow form of her thoughts, her voice, her likeness. I want her flesh, her breath, the sound of her laugh echoing in my ear. I want her so deeply I’m temped to be destructively foolish, callously selfish, abandoning everything for her embrace. I want her so terribly I burn with jealousy of the sunshine that falls on her, of the shadow of her it creates.
The couple I see sitting at a small table, their arms stretched across it, hands clasped as they stare into each other’s eyes. The seething hate and bottomless sadness born from being witness. Wanting to scream, to howl. Wanting to rip their hands apart, tip the table, demand they never touch again.
The woman I see walking past, the urge to numb my pain with her body, to suck her dry of the touch I am denied. The shameful irony of knowing my lover’s face would be staring back instead of being forgotten.
The lack of will to get out of bed, to eat, to write. Choosing to waste away, burning the days out of spite for the gods.
The temptation to reduce my lover to a possession, an unchanging statue, a shiny trophy. Something to set on a shelf, lock in a cage. Something obedient, predictable. Something broke of will.
The thought of throwing away the gift of our love, to be indignant of finding my heart’s home, to cave to cowardice instead of bravely weathering the pain of sacrifice. Withdrawing instead of gratefully accepting what is and creating ways to help our love thrive, survive.
The bowing at the throne doubt, refusing to believe, denying hope, cursing faith.
And then I feel awful for such horrible thoughts, such weakness of character.
And then I’m swallowed by grief.
And then I’m crushed with despair.
Desire. It’s madness, I tell you. Madness.