I’m thinking about love. I think about it a lot. I think it’s what I want. I mean, it’s what everybody wants, right? But there are always strings attached, like the strings on helium balloons you buy for a birthday party. If you don’t tether them, they’ll float up to the ceiling and you just let everyone pull one down and tie it around their wrist. You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. Maybe you get the one who’s so angry he is a self-fulfilling prophecy who thinks his only options in life are delivering pizzas or selling weed. Or the one who’s a self-absorbed trust fund baby, so beautiful to look at but nobody home. He spends his time writing poetry using Burrough’s cut-up method. He slices the lines up with scissors and lays them on the rug that used to grace his mother’s Windsor Farm home. It doesn’t improve them. He breaks up with me on a snowy January night at a local bar. All my things are cluttering the table, sliced up bits of my life. There’s barely enough room for our coffees that we won’t end up drinking. He’s claimed we were even dating, weren’t a couple, but he still has to do this.
Maybe the one you pull down is the skinny kid who wants to have sex all night and becomes a rabid vegan who forswears even condiments and spices eating nothing but plain brown rice and beans. He’s joined an abbey of one and you end up breaking his heart because life is just too short for that level of asceticism. Maybe it’s the one you say I Do to. You think you do until you don’t. You get love but not from him. He’s not capable of loving anyone but himself.
But you get the babies who love you. Who need you and love and need become the same thing for a while. You can’t tell the difference, really. Those balloons float around the house and never lose helium.
They expand and fill the rooms and your heart until it nearly explodes. So there is a love out there that’s real and true but there’s a catch. It changes, too, and suddenly nobody holds your hand anymore or wants you in the room unless you’re making them a sandwich. Love always has a catch. It always hurts in the end but this is different. It’s good but it’s not everything.
It’s something but it’s not the kind of love that lets you lie naked on a Sunday morning with the sun coming in across the bed where the cat arranges himself while it runs its hands up your back and thinks you’re perfect even when you both know you aren’t. Or it lets you be perfect for that moment which is one moment more than you’ve ever had. Maybe that’s the balloon the accidently slipped out of the bunch when you pulled them out of your car, the one you watched fly straight up into the blue sky and miss the telephone wires and just keep going.
Claudia writes when she can stand it. When she can't, she putters around her 4 1/2 acres out in the middle of nowhere and wishes the neighbor's dog would shut up. Originally from Richmond, she's living the Green Acres life now with three cats, two daughters, and a cantankerous guinea pig. Visit her at http://lifeafterscribbletown.wordpress.com.
Claudia takes classes with Valley.