“O love that will not be forgot!
O love that leaves alone!
O love that blinds and blesses not!
O love that turns to stone!”
– Robert Kelley Weeks
The gallery showing went roughly as expected. No prizes or honorable mentions, but as I said, there were people here with genuine talent rather than simply aping nature through a lens, whose victories I expected and endorsed. I finally shared with my friends that it would hang here until February, and of course they were all surprises and validation. Fake internet points, sure and enough, but I’ll take what I can get.
I went alone, parked alone, mingled alone, and left alone. “Who knows who you’ll meet tomorrow,” someone (Mrs. Etaith?) had said hopefully. No one in particular is the reply! Most people seemed to be there in hopes their work would be selected. The reception cleared out fairly quickly once ended. What am I supposed to do, go to one of these Singles Mixer events? I’d hardly expect to find you there, and expect you to be equally skeptical of me. But…aren’t you feeling just a little lost at this point?
It is nothing to be happy when happiness is staring you in the face; when it calls you, when it comes and finds you, vaulting you up in its arms like a doting father. Anyone can smile and keep their morale when the sky is fair and the wind is aback. To scrape and scrounge for some semblance of contentedness or confidence when your circumstances resist, when life has its palm on your forehead and the rain blows in your eyes, takes far greater effort. Therefore, it is nothing that the couples you see around you this Christmas are happy. They did nothing to earn it, the universe and its Lord are not repaying virtue or kindness. It just is. I am glad they are thus, and of course I find it unfortunate we aren’t us right now. I’m terribly sorry about that, and you know I’ve tried. But I work tomorrow night, and another four nights thereafter so that I can be home with the family a week for Christmas. There isn’t time for more dates even if you were here to accept them.
We won’t meet before then Darling, not even a chance. I’m sorry. I did all I could. Watch the sappy Christmas movies, but don’t believe them. Christmas owes us no miracles, not even the one that lay in a manger long ago. It grants not nor smiles on our wishes or longings for the fulfillment of personal desires. We don’t deserve to be as happy as those couples. It’s just one of those things.
I’m a very peculiar oddity in this culture, as I suspect you to be; chances at love don’t come along very often for us. I should have realized that and seized on them when I had the chance. At the time, I felt so tall and of such quality as to suppose it wouldn’t be a problem. I’m paying for it now, but maybe it will teach me not to make the same mistake again, if such opportunity presents. If.
Mayhap we will find our own Christmas later on in 2018. Someone on the rolodex actually had a sensible thought I saw in passing tonight: “When you’re in a relationship and it’s good, even if nothing else in your life is right, you feel like your whole world is complete.” (Someone else wrote to me and called me “nothing short of inspiring” and “quite motivated.”) But she’s right, isn’t she? Everything else except love can be right in your life, and still feel hollow and incomplete. Or you can have love and nothing else, and still be content. We still have a shot at that.
“Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow.”
Meantime, someone has to keep looking after me, and it looks like I’m up. So, it was a drive through traffic to the store, more groceries, more dishes, more cooking in preparation for the coming week. At least ten prepackaged meals are sitting in the fridge and ready to go for the week.
I did stop and pick up some lights, a few candles and a little dwarf-tree. We’ll muster a little cheer if we can.
I stepped outside and found it had snowed a half-inch while I was unaware. Like you, the snow is elusive, much-desired and beautiful. Like you, treasured, unique and wonderful. And like you, it won’t be here in the morning.
I took a little stroll all the same; the Geminid meteor shower is tonight, if it could be seen through the cloud cover. Some other time.
I know these words are miserable, shivering, wretched musings that elicit distaste and derision rather than your kindness and love. Weakness on display in a man does that to a woman, I know: I do not think such letters should be delivered to your mailbox tonight, as the result of these intended writings would be to achieve their opposite. Know you that this is the voice not just of me but of countless thousands more striving to stand through the pain and the solitude and the unfeeling cheer that dances just out of reach.
Regardless, the rest is silence; I can bear to write no more.
“Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost!
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows!
Not all your rage, as now united, shows
More hard unkindness unrelenting,
Vengeful malice unrepenting.
Than heaven-illumin’d Man on brother Man bestows!”
– Robert Burns