Don’t forget to catch up with Part I found here: http://wp.me/p2CDWl-a5
I had first met him in the open air market though, he had said, he had noticed me a long time before. I was with my friends, laughing and enjoying the day without an agenda to be bothered with and that’s when I came face to face with him, accidently I had believed. I thought him somehow strange, and almost captivating, like I was staring the greater part of myself yet undiscovered in the face. There was something very beautiful about him, something very kind. He was obviously physically strong but the way he presented himself made it clear that he was not prideful in this; in fact, he had little indication of being self absorbed at all and I didn’t like that because I never knew how to deal with that kind of person. I didn’t like feeling disadvantaged so I had always kept clear of his kind because they tended to be the same: strange. Not necessarily wrong in their strangeness, just different.
He had grinned widely, eyes sparkling like how the sun reflects off the ocean’s ripples, like he had been waiting a long time for this chance meeting. How odd. I knew myself and knew I was no occasion to celebrate. Not for his kind anyway. My kind revolted his kind.
“Hi,” he said extending his hand, “I’m Jesse.”
I eyed him carefully, took his hand so as not to be rude but that was all. I ended the moment as smoothly and as quickly as I could before turning away to find my friends again who had wandered down the street.
“Who was that?” My friend Marinda asked.
“Just some random guy.”
“Better stay that way too. It’s the decent looking ones you gotta be careful of.” Marinda said a bit wistfully as she caught up my arm in hers. “But he does make Random Guy number seven in three days, so you need to cool down, girl.” She was joking with her approval of my score, a bit jealous too, but I didn’t laugh. Somehow that ratio didn’t seem like reason to brag anymore. The random guy whose name I had already forgotten wasn’t leaving my mind. On both accounts that wasn’t good and I suspected the latter was reason for the former.
I determined then to give Jacob…Jamie…Jared….Random Guy, no more thought and turned my attention to scheming of ways to keep my winning score against Marinda and everyone else and maybe even cashing in some of those winning chips. Distractions of all sorts were my specialty and my worship of them inspired everyone around me- my followers as I sometimes like to think of them, or competition; normal people would have called them “friends”. That non-assuming Jesse man, (my memory had finally kicked in) with his sweet smile and captivating eyes had no place with me. Whatever his motivation, I didn’t need it. There were distractions aplenty to partake in without him messing it all up. His kind tended to do that.
It was two weeks later that the pressures of life told me that I needed to escape to my own personal, private retreat. Some people kept a journal to escape, others submersed themselves into fictional realities, or completely blanked out, I had my hideaway. Much like a child his tree house I suppose. I was convinced that it was my place alone for not even a whisper of another man’s trace had ever been seen there in all the years since I had discovered it. It was deep in the hills, probably once mountains millions of years ago but now a rolling vista of the most urbane showing of nature at its best. A flowered field surrounded securely by thick, comforting trees was the center of this world, a natural box of solitude and serenity where I could just disappear and repair myself. I never knew how long the trek to get there took, maybe hours, maybe half that, but it always felt like minutes.
I arrived at my refuge and sat down in the middle of the field. My box hid me from the world as I knew it and I felt safe. The chaos of my life was stuffed away for the rejuvenation of my sanctuary. I needed to be boxed up here every now and again, the poser that I felt I was was constantly falling apart. I could feel the poser crumbling more and more every day as I convinced myself that the things I chased in life really mattered and those “friends” of mine actually meant something. So I continued to band-aid the poser to stop anyone from noticing the fracture lines in her. The band-aids varied in form but today it came with being locked in my box, in hiding away in this field.
I sat there for a while re-familiarizing and re-convincing myself with the lies of the poser within so that I could sell her again to the pimp called Life. But then, from without the dregs of my mind, in the midst of my hidden sanctuary I heard a voice speak. At first I thought it was a recently repressed memory resurfacing but then the voice spoke again and I knew it to be present reality.
“Hello.” I looked up in shock. It was him. What on earth was he doing here?
“Hi.” I responded unsure of what to make of this situation.
“May I join you?” He smiled warmth and I somehow knew I could trust him, wanted to desperately. I quickly recovered myself and realized that I was angry despite my desire. I was angry at him for invading my field, angry at him for making me feel embarrassed in this place where I had no guard up. “No,” I responded uncaring about my bluntness. How long had he been watching me? I felt like I had been caught in the middle of cosmetic surgery, the lies of who I was completely exposed. “This is private property. Leave before I notify the authorities.”
“If this is private property then aren’t you trespassing as well?”
I tried to lie again, had a dozen comebacks jump to my mind at once but my tongue refused to cooperate so I stared at him instead. He really was beautiful. Perfect. Special. Unspoiled. He offered down his hand to help me stand and I stared at it like it was an unknown object.
“Let me help you up.” No, I thought. I don’t want you to have anything to do with me. Our kinds don’t blend with each other. I’ll spoil you. You should be on display in a museum.
He offered again and still I did nothing. He had invaded my reconstructive box here but I was happy to remain in it and there was only room for one. I had hurt him in my refusal, I could see that, but I pushed aside any sentiment to feel sorry as emotional weakness.
“Very well.” Jesse said choosing alternatively to sit down across from me. He crossed his legs and watched me watch him. Neither of us said anything for a long time, it seemed the right thing to do, the soft rubbery grass making a comfortable waiting ground.
“You’re very beautiful,” he said at last.
“How did you find me here?” I demanded in return.
“I was thinking about you,” he replied with the passion of one who had truly searched for his treasure not dissuaded by my cold show, “and found my way here.” I wasn’t sure what to think of that but for a reason only this man possessed I didn’t find his comment creepy or even wrong.
“I think it’s time for you to go now.”
Jesse took the dismissal well. He slowly stood up dusting his dirtless legs off and began to leave and only then did I realize that a great peace had calmed my disturbed soul, that the imposter that I was had vanished without a painful trace. I knew all this because the calm left with him and I could feel the broken imposter quickly returning to the throne she ruled from but could no more because in those few moments Jesse had ruined me for her. She didn’t fit in her throne anymore. I wanted that serenity back that he gave me. No more band-aids and games that had no end. They had only driven me to hate myself.
“Wait!” I turned on my seat in panic to his back, yet only a few feet away, and he turned to face me. Those eyes! The peace washed over me again and I knew then that I had to have more of him. Lots more. But my pride and residual anger wouldn’t ask him to return immediately. “I’m coming back tomorrow.”
His smile grew until it reached his eyes lighting them even brighter than before- if that were possible, but he acknowledged conservatively. “I’m glad.”
And so the next day I raced back to our hidden field of solitude and met him there, and the next day and the next and the next many days afterward. Every day I was with him I found myself wanting less and less to do with my life prior to meeting him. It was a loveless and thankless life that I had somehow convinced myself I had a passion for and the more time I spent with Jesse the more I saw that. He was such a smart man I drank in his every word and yet we laughed so much in that field I think I learnt as much from laughing as anything he ever said.
I had to leave town on a trip for a week, one I had been looking forward to for months but now it felt like a duty of sacrifice and all I could think about was our field and Jesse, my love. My friends noticed right away my inability to live in the moment and thrive on the distractions I was once the queen of but I wouldn’t tell them anything. They wouldn’t have allowed it, would even throw around the word forbid. Jesse was a different kind and belonged to another world. Their hatred for him would be on my behalf and that was unacceptable.
The day I returned from the trip I wasted no time getting to our field in the mountains. Even though the sun had barely begun to light the sky he was waiting for me as I somehow knew he would be and I raced into his arms and was wrapped up in their comforting familiarity.
“I missed you so much. Never let me go.” I nuzzled my face into his chest and he kissed the top of my head. We stayed that way for a glorious time as my soul was restored by him. I had never before felt my life so enlivened by anyone the way he could bring me, not the poser, to life.
“I love you,” he said. “I love you with my life.” Was that sadness in his voice? No, I must have been mistaken. This was a happy moment. “Let me show you something. Here, follow me.” Any thought of sadness dropped away like water through an open ended bucket and I grabbed up his hand and ran after him into the woods. He was so excited it was intoxicating. We had run maybe a full minute before he slowed up and told me to cover my eyes. I was nervous at what this could be but I knew and trusted my Jesse so I did as he asked probably grinning like a nervous little girl. He led me forward, enough to clear the tree line, then hugged me in front of him so that I would feel safe before gently removing my hands from my eyes.
It took a fraction of a second for my eyes to take the whole scene in but my gasp of amazement was immediate. It was overwhelming; I had never seen anything like it before, the flawlessness, the perfection. If the field had been paradise then this was what heaven was. It was everything my field, my box, wasn’t. What I had thought was rejuvenation and freedom I now knew to be a dull work cubicle.
“Do you like it?” Jesse asked softly into my ear as though to speak any louder would be a tragedy against the artwork before us. The grin in his voice was unmistakable.
“Outside of you, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” I couldn’t take my sight away to look behind me at Jesse, my love, but I could tell he was gazing out at the landscape with the same wonder as I was.
We were at the edge of a cliff which fell sharply down a mile or so. The rising sun, still hidden by over bloated hills had painted everything in the most wonderful golden colour. So saturated was the golden bath that maybe it was a sunset- how long had we clung to each other hugging? The old rounded mountainous hills extended for miles on either side beyond sight and between them a wide valley was formed in which sat a golden mirror that pretended it was a lake. A small flock of song birds jumped out of the trees next to us and took flight. The whole sight took my breath away. I knew then in that moment that I worshipped this man.
There were no walls, no enclosure, it was unsafe and yet couldn’t be more secure. It was the unmolested world, the one I was meant to live in and together we were standing on the edge of it. I had been too concerned with keeping the shell of myself together in my box that I had never bothered to look beyond the tree line to see the possibility that lay beyond.
I could’ve stayed there for the rest of my life wrapped in his arms. I loved him; I told him that I did, that I would die for him. He said nothing in response just held me closer like he would never let go. I didn’t want him to.
The time soon came when I became bold enough to make my love known and the response was what I had expected: disbelief, disapproval, hate towards him. Not only did my friends do all they could to get the old me back but everyone I could possibly know did too and even those I didn’t know tried to bring me back to their world, the one I had left for him. I was different now and no more fun. He was not one of us, one of them. He made them feel wrong and they didn’t like that. They didn’t like that my singular love for him condemned their lives too.
Gradually everyone around me began rejecting me from their circles as they said things and did things to me that will never again be spoken of. In a last hope effort to get the finest player of their masquerade back my closest remaining friends lured me with my own dark temptations into being whisked away for two weeks to the Mecca of our lusts. To their glory and my immobilizing shame, they succeeded those two weeks. My own temptations were brought back to life weakening my resolve to resist my previous chaotic, distraction filled life and I picked it up without a missed beat. They revived in me all my old habits and wild tricks that had made me such a competitor in their world. I didn’t want to do any of it but somehow I did and I smiled while I did it.
When I returned home I returned to my senses and I wanted to die, felt like I already was dying because of the shame I now bore. They celebrated because they thought they had resurrected me but no, they had buried me alive. I ran away from their re-acceptance and hid myself where I couldn’t be found and refused to even let my life, my love, find me. I was dying without him but if I saw him I’d tell him everything and that would wound him beyond repair and I could never live with that. He had given so much of himself so that I could have value in myself and in those two weeks I had thrown it all out like an anorexic would a beautiful plate of food: wanting to keep it but unable to overcome the inner demons that wished otherwise. This was our tragic romance. Our kinds were never meant to stay together. Jesse my love deserved someone who wouldn’t embarrass his efforts and love.
Seeing the results of my withering away, my followers, my friends, realized they had lost me for good and turned their hope for me to despisement. And then they somehow discovered me, found where I was hiding. Or maybe I had been given up? They stormed my dark hole and took out on me all their frustration towards me and anger and hate for him. It was too late to retaliate against them and I had no real fight in me anyway. This is what I deserved, an imposter in two worlds and a failure in both. My Jesse was too perfect, he couldn’t stay in this world of mine it would defile him; like I had his heart. I would never see him again because of my failures and I didn’t blame him.
They grabbed up and dragged my broken body into the street by a clump of my hair in their fists.