"Dici che il fiume
Trova la via al mare
E come il fiume
Giungerai a me
Oltre i confini
E le terre assetate
Dici che come il fiume
Come il fiume...
E non so più pregare
E nell'amore non so più sperare
E quell'amore non so più aspettare."*
--"Miss Sarajevo," U2 feat. Luciano Pavarotti
The year began with that broken-hearted melody. It was cold, and I was standing in the middle of the street in front of my house. I didn't know it then, but it was another U2 prophecy for me (the one from 2007 being "Please").
From there, things got a little crazy. Like Shakespeare’s Romeo, I shut myself in and created for myself an artificial night. I approached the first gay crush I’ve ever had, and when I got rejected, I took it a bit too hard. I fell into isolation with nothing but Abbey Road to keep me company.
In a wild act of desperation, I made the choice at last. I was running out of options; either I could continue this beautiful lie I was living, cheating death every day, or I could find out for myself. And in the moment I opened myself up, Erik dropped right of the sky. So I chose him.
The love I found was more than just paradise found, but I didn't know it at the time. It wasn't until after the break-up that I began wondering just what kind of paradise I had found with Erik. And it wasn't until the guy in the military boots came around that I realized that I had never found paradise with him at all. I had been living under the illusion that we both had true love. I had loved Erik more than anything in the world, and there was little proof I had that he did, too. With the same true, authentic love I gave him, anyway. The fact that I needed proof seemed alone to evidence this. We may have been in love, but my love was different from his. And that is why it took much, much longer to die than his.
The pain that followed was some real schooling. And it was at the end, and only then, that I understood what I really found out last summer when I defeated death. What I saw in the water. I realized that there are many kinds of love. And I realized that I had although I had never found a paradise with Erik. I had created one. An artificial day.
And somewhere along the line, I had to settle for that. I had to accept that true paradise is either impossible, or at least very difficult to find. You've got to settle for the hope that you get blessed with. We live in such a dark, dismal and gritty world. It's filled with shit and lies...and it's so long. When a little miracle comes your way, something that can only make you stronger - something that lets you fool yourself into thinking the world is not so bad after all - you've gotta take it. Before it slips away. It's a first-come, first-serve kinda world we are in. When hope comes, you can't ask whether it comes from heaven or hell. You take it, make it your heaven and you run like hell.
I had never known I could love. I had never known that I could ever be loved, either. It's not that finding Erik was finding that love. I only woke it up. But hey, said John Lennon, you've got to hide your love away. And no kinds of love are better than others, said Lou Reed. Between thought and expression, there lies a lifetime.
More than ever before, I realize just how much choice I have. I also know how much I have to leave up to luck. Or God. And as for God, I hope He's not as hard to find as I've made Him out to be for the past ten years. I am embarking on a new adventure this year. I am going to find Him. And if He's not out there and it turns out I wasted my life on the adventure, at least it was good fun half the time. Erik didn't make that worth it. I did. Because now I know, again: I didn't come here to make that choice. I already made it. I'm just here to understand why. I do not have all the answers. I don't want all of them, either.
My future note from last year says some interesting things about going on a mission and not going on a mission. Since one of those came true - and to the letter - I quote it here:
"I'm happy with my choice, and I'm happy with my companion, whom I'm with every day. I make responsible choices about where I go from now on. Those who judge me for my past and my choices are people who I've reluctantly but peacefully cut out of my life. I can honestly say I've never felt so happy...A lot of my important memories are in 2007, but a lot of my best memories are in 2008."
I cannot be the answer. I am only the question.
"You say that the river
Finds the way to the sea
And like the river
You will come to me
Beyond the borders
And the dry lands
You say that like a river,
Like a river,
The love will come
And I don't know how to pray anymore
And in love, I don't know how to hope anymore
And for that love, I don't know how to wait anymore."