Chapter Eighteen – The First, The Fantasy And The Faults
by Christine Wild
I am struggling to choose what story to tell you next. How could you possibly understand what it is in my poor soul that stops me from letting go? For someone who floats along life, letting it happen and living at the rhythm of her desires, how could I explain the control freak in my brain that refuses to live in that moment? I am struggling with either telling you a nonchalant, fun story that will allow you to escape your drab reality, or telling you more about mine? Looking back to the things that led up to my unique moment of loss, and ultimate gain, I realized all the fantasizing that I had written up in my head.
I wrote a script, back in 2007, before I ever knew I was going to be writing this. I wrote about a night in a man’s bed. He was a decade older than me. He told me about movies and art and the seventeen year old that I was, was hooked. Ses baisers sont légers, incertains, fragiles. It was a night that really happened, and the words I used to describe it are filled with insecurities, tainted with fear and naïveté. The most noticeable to me, is that I lied. I lied to my own self, describing multiple orgasms I knew too well never happened. The shallow self-awareness I was expressing in the parts about knowing him was heart-warming, yet still encumbered by the lies all around it. I wanted so much to fit in; I wanted so much to be a certain person.
Today, I sit here staring at who I really have become. She may not be the best woman I can be, but this girl in the reflection of my computer, she is real. She stopped romanticizing (mostly). She stopped wanting to fit in. She lives her own little life, trying to be true to that gut feeling that has always commanded her choices. I think the first time I saw pieces of this woman, was another night, back in 2005. It was one of those nights you spent hours, weeks and years envisioning. He was my first. He was my first love, my first kiss, my very first boyfriend. We met when I was eight and he was nine. We saw each other every summer after that. It was like my holiday home, my beach boyfriend. To this very day, he is one of the dearest persons in my life and I will love him forever. He was the sweetest, most caring boy. Year after year, each summer was a new benchmark. That particular night had been long coming.
Like every first time, it was far from spectacular. Drab is the word I am sticking with. There was no fighting reality with romance. It was reality slapping you in the face, giving you a preview of what love was going to feel like: sharp pain, want, sadness, fear and intimacy. He was gentle; it was not his first. He looked me straight in the eye. He held my hand every step of the way. I wanted for that first second to push him away. I was overwhelmed by the pain, sharp and so deeply personal. I wanted him to disappear and for no one to ever touch me again. Then he was in and it became bearable again. The whole ordeal lasted about a minute. No, it was not glorious like some will have you think. It was overrated and underwhelming once it was over. But yes, I was left wanting more. I wanted to persevere, see what all the fuss was about. It is so far in my memory it saddens me how much I forgot. I do remember the stray cat bursting through the door of the basement of my house. I was staying there for a week because the rest of the house was rented out. There was a bed, a fridge and a toilet. No shower, no furniture but a couple of plastic patio chairs. Romantic as hell. The fucking stray cat scared the shit out of me and broke the little “specialness” this moment was to hold. After he managed to kick the cat out, we laughed a lot, loudly.
Those are all the things I have left from that over-romanticized moment: pain, a new intimacy, the cat, the concrete walls and his eyes. I realize now, writing this, that again, I am struggling with the words to express what I truly do remember. It is a very mixed feeling, at the pit of my stomach. It is a feeling of something being over and done with, and an open door. The loss and the gain. Language is universal. We have rules, grammar and undertones that are supposed to be used in the same way by all. But life! Life is far from universal. Each word is used contextually for each and every one of us individually. Life is nuances. The woman staring back at me is smiling, thinking of him so dearly, wishing she could hug him. She knows he was part of creating a little bit of her that remains. She is also wishing that this control issue in her head would stop. I do not like to lose control. It is for that reason that I do not do drugs. See you can snap out of being drunk, if something happens, if something needs you back to reality. I like knowing that I can be in control (to a certain extent) if I need to be. Yet I like the unknown; I love travelling for that precise reason. You can however think through the unknown, you can ensure that you have thought of possible scenarios, and escape routes, even if the reality often exceeds anything you would have ever predicted.
Consciously renouncing all control is something I struggle with. It would be like taking away the universality from language. It would be removing all structure, on purpose. Even if I trust the person in front of me in that moment, there are so many things in my life that demand my attention, in my own head, at all times. What if? is not merely a question for regrets. It is also what if I forgot the stove on, what if I did not attach the file to that email, what if he is not turned on by this particular position… Suddenly I am filled with sadness. The beauty of simplicity I am able to enjoy in so many other moments and instances in my life… Life is nuances and contrasts and contradictions. Ecstasy might escape me still; she might be but an acquaintance. She might be the one choosing when she wishes to meet me next. It is out of my hands, so why can I not let go? I struggled with deciding what story to tell you because the truth is, it is all one big story. It is my story, my shades of grey, my insecurities and failures, as much as my unexpected moments of life’s glory. Most men reading this by now will think I think too much, that I should relax. Most women reading this will finally feel like they know me a bit better, understand the complexities and perhaps identify with me, more or less. Still I do not think my overanalyzing—let us call it that—is a gendered issue. It touches each individual differently. This is why I am choosing these words for you right now. In a society that so easily edits and creates time lapses, for all of our faults to be hidden, it feels good to create room for them. The sadness has left. The woman I see in the reflection is now smiling, feeling something like hope; she sees an open space for the nuances in her personality, a space for her soul to breath.