“I want all my children to look like you,” she used to say.
After 18 months of dating, she stayed at my apartment for a weekend to celebrate my birthday. While preparing breakfast on my “special” day, I asked her to finish cooking some bacon so that I could change. While in my room, I heard her screaming and cursing that she had burnt the meat. I assured her that I had more in my fridge and told her not to fret but this rationale had unmistakably mired me into a dispute that would last for the next 45 minutes. Close to its zenith, she emphatically started throwing clothes into her bag, threatening to leave.
Knowing that she’d have nowhere else in the city to go (she was from a different state), I stood in front of the door and begged her to stay.
“Get out of my way.”
“Look, you’re angry. That’s okay, we don’t have to talk right now but where are you going to go? Please stay.”
“Get the fuck out of my way!”
As I implored her to talk to me, she grabbed one of my steak knives from the kitchen, pushed it up against my skin and pitilessly repeated herself. I opened the door and let her walk out of my life. We spoke hours later but we never completely mended our relationship. It was the end.
Years have passed but I still see her every week in the streets of Manhattan. It’s not actually her, obviously, but it will be one feature that brings me back; a stranger’s hair, demeanor, or clothing. Sometimes this vicarious stranger – well, she makes me wanna die.
However cliché, we have all considered what it means to be in love. (Here’s my take.) Surely, the modernist poet, W.H. Auden, brooded heavily on this. His conversational poem, O Tell Me the Truth About Love, delves into many of love’s attributes but which stanza is true? If the subject of “love” in the poem could somehow be hidden from the reader, one would feel quite agitated from the hodgepodge of contradictory descriptors employed to describe the same thing. Whatever your sentiments, the answer to Auden’s questions remains a resounding “Yes.”
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.
-Single Guy in NYC