The Arc of a Love Affair

Here’s how it goes. You meet this man, right. He’s fucking beautiful. Like: chiseled jaw, groomed stubble, lats and pecs and biceps and shoulders and cock and TATTOOS. Sleeves.

And you kiss. Open mouth, confident tongue and his hands, twisted in your hair at the back of your head, pulling in and back, just enough to know that he’s naturally in charge. You melt, and finish in his car, sweaty, with his dog tags slapping your chin as he fucks you with all the sexy propriety of a man who plans to own you one day. Cumming, thighs and ankles wrapped hard around him as he thrusts himself up against your cervix, you reflect for seconds that you have never felt so consumed by one person in such a short period of time. (5 hours, to be exact).

That consummation continued for 10 days. In those days the two of you:
spent a day as loved up tourists at niagara falls
ate a lot of fudge
fucked in the bathroom of a dessert house at 2pm in the afternoon
watched The Hobbit
had Denny’s breakfast twice
fucked in an empty ballroom
met significant others (sister and best friend)
watched Silver Linings Playbook
gave an outstanding example of perfect road head
admired
laughed
talked
and

fell
(hard).

12 and a half months later, I have never anticipated seeing someone as much as I did with him. After a year of emotion, excitement, lust and promise I descended into that freezing, concrete city, applied makeup and perfume with shaking hands in the airport bathrooms after a 22 hour flight and then, wiggling into white lacy thong, I strode out to collect my baggage.

I saw him before he saw me. He was much bigger, broader, muscular than I remembered, wearing a green hoody. He’d snuck through the doors, to MY side of the arrivals. This was unexpected, I thought I still had the wait for my baggage to collect myself and so I saw him, and then pretended that I hadn’t. Out of the corner of my eye I watched him spot me as I glided down the escalator, and aware of his movement, I shuffled myself through the crowd in the opposite direction from him, eyes glued to the baggage carousel. I was aware of him coming closer to me and I felt terrified, heart beating and almost for a moment I wished I was somewhere else. And then he gently pinched my ass, and I turned with surprise in my face, and kissed him, long and deep, and pressed my chest against his and the world disappeared.

I never told him this, that I saw him first and my fear of him approaching me. It wasn’t HIM that I was afraid of…it was the fear of leaping off, of anticipating something and someone so deeply and then when it’s about to happen you panic, afraid that the anticipation was all in vain, that the anticipation is sweeter than reality, that the anticipation is actually the best part. And then you leap, and kiss, and the story you’ve been weaving together is now coming to life and this is sad for a moment, you’ve lost something and you can’t go back from that.

We were so very guarded around each other. I feel that we had the same unspoken agenda: protect ourselves, play it cool. In retrospect, I wanted to protect this….idea, image, dream I had of what he’d be like, what we’d be like together. I almost wanted to keep my eyes half closed and hang on to this vision we’d been weaving..I didn’t feel ready for this vision to suddenly have to be held up to reality.

But then, of course, amongst all this uncertainty was the pure wonder of touching each other, really seeing each other, looking into each other’s eyes and kissing, fucking, joining our bodies together. These opposing emotions created a strange blur over that first week. We didn’t talk much, slept in hotels in awkward angles to each other, overly aware of intruding on space that for the last year, had very much been our own personal bubble. Thinking about those first few hotel days, I feel the sadness, emptiness. It wasn’t like how I imagined. We weren’t like how we had been. This felt so tragic to me, but I was supposed to be happy and delighted and I couldn’t understand my emotions, so I numbed them.

He was distant with me, cold at times, almost as if he was trying to show me that I was superfluous, replaceable. That I wasn’t as important as I thought I was.

I think we tried, over the next 5 months. We had beautiful breakthroughs: lazy, wandering rainy mornings in Kensington market, easy conversation over pizza. Gasping, hungry sex, reaching for each other, consuming each other’s bodies and pleasure with greed and sweaty, grasping limbs. Midnight kisses at The Garrison, my hair covered with snow and icy breath. Purposeful grocery shopping, meals made with love, so many blow jobs, so many. And through all these love moments were tears, circular conversations, changes won and then forgotten, pained conversations and hurt glances that made me want to rip my own heart out. Why was it so hard? Why, when we spent the year planning us, did these plans never come to fruition? How could we not work? Were we best apart, in anticipation, dreaming of our perfect partner who could never exist? Why did we feel so wrong for each other?

I never found the answers to these. Some days I retreated into myself, pointed my finger entirely at him and relieved myself of responsibility. And then, embarrassed by my own righteousness, I’d completely flip the coin: he’s an angel and I’m the one who screwed up. The closer I’d get to trying to Figure It Out, the more wispy and elusive the answers and reasons would become, changing according to my mood, to how successful I felt like I was at creating a new life here, to how angry I was. The coin kept flipping until it didn’t matter anymore.

It’s been 2 months since we last had contact. After we broke up, the final time, I ached for him, on more than half the days I hid under my sheets and cried my pain and fear and anxiety into my pillows, living on cherries and almonds and littering my room with tissues. His trace was still there- a stray hair under my pillow, a thumbprint bruise of his on my inner thigh. My body missed him, and I’d wake from tortuous dreams…his cock grinding into my pelvis, long and hard, pushing into me until my body and mind were totally consumed by him.

But, I rode out this sadness and grief with a bravery that took me by surprise! I romanced myself with introspective solo tips: a pool bar, a beach dance party, a hiking trip, a theatre show. I used to do these things and wish he was with me. Now I do them and I feel a rush of pride and self-love: I am not broken, I am not a failure, I am beautiful and legendary. This emotional fallout is inevitable of any breakup, I’ve been through it before and although I know it well, I’m always shocked at how much love can hurt.

I observe the arc of our romance from this solitude. He is who he is. He is not the fantasy. He is his own, complex person and it doesn’t matter that he can’t be to me what I want him to be, I will always love him for exactly who he is, even when it means he can’t be my partner.

In a month I’m going as far west as I can. I’ll paddle my feet in the pacific ocean- my ocean- and view our relationship from there, as if I’m falling off the western edge of the canadian shield he is so rooted into. It’s ironic, I packed up my life to come here to be attached to this shield with him, I craved this security, I craved his solidity. But now I feel more transient than ever, sliding over the world on my imagined octopus legs. I’m water, he’s rock.

Do I regret it? Yes, in moments of rejection, low self esteem, anxiety and fear all I want to do is run back to Auckland. I feel angry at coming here for plans and dreams that shattered so quickly. But then I don’t, really. I did a crazy thing, I met a stranger, fell quickly in love and moved across the world for him. I took such a risk! And if I didn’t take this, then I would have wondered for the rest of my life, what part of me was left in Toronto, living in his heart.

(Respect to Paul Simon: Hearts and Bones “The arc of a love affair. His hands rolling down her hair.”)

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