5.13.2012

words


Lately I've been trying to write about love and deciding it's an utter impossibility. I don't know how Shakespeare and Neruda did it. Although I think Shakespeare was before clich├ęs (pretty sure he invented most of them) and that's just not fair. Because when it comes to love the problem is that everything has been said. Yes, you literally take my breath away, but who even cares? Every single person that has lived and loved has felt that same sensation. Make it sound new. 

It's harder than you may think. 

I'm working with words, but until I have something good enough to share, I'll give you a piece of the truest beauty from one of my favorite books. These are the kind of words that both urge me to write and also tell me I will never. ever. create something as beautiful.

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The first woman may have been Eve, but the first girl will always be Alma. Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone else's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted-- wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.

If you remember the first time you saw Alma, you also remember the last. She was shaking her head. Or disappearing across a field. Or through your window. Come back, Alma! you shouted. Come back! Come back!

But she didn't.

And though you were grown up by then, you felt as lost as a child. And though your pride was broken, you felt as vast as your love for her. She was gone, and all that was left was the space where you'd grown around her, like a tree that grows around a fence.

For a long time, it remained hollow. Years maybe. And when at last it was filled again, you knew that the new love you felt for a woman would have been  impossible without Alma. If it weren't for her, there would never have been an empty space, or the need to fill it.

Of course there are certain cases in which the boy in question refuses to stop shouting at the top of his lungs for Alma. Stages a hunger strike. Pleads. Fills a book with his love. Carries on until she has no choice but to come back. Every time she tries to leave, knowing what has to be done, the boy stops her, begging like a fool. And so she always returns, no matter how often she leaves or how far she goes, appearing soundlessly behind him and covering his eyes with her hands, spoiling for him anyone who could ever come after her.

nicole krauss in the history of love
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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I know how you feel:) I'm glad to hear that you are still feeling that way!

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