Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer by Caspar David Friedrich
If someone had told me that I was just like everyone else in my responses to the emotional ramshackle of life, I would have scoffed at them just like everyone else does. And yet between the perplexity of being and doing, the 72 hours he didn’t speak to me ostracised me with the rest of humanity. I stood by Titian’s Diana for hours, wishing for the power to destroy a man with a few drops of water. I thought about duality and virtue and pregnant nymphs. But there is no art or higher beauty in the way your first love can desiccate you by its turbulent absence. You start to question ritual. The kohl in your eyes starts to smudge. There’s a chaotic pointlessness in every cog of existence.
And so it was for me. All day, I wished for him, finding faults in myself which I didn’t know qualified. I was just like everyone else. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I lost the will to talk and the courage to laugh. I lay around thinking of where I had gone wrong, if I had loved too much, expressed too little. It was a miserable, miserable feeling. Perhaps it was because my heart was holding on to a summer which was nearly over. Perhaps it was because I had too much time. He was incredulity and he was faith. He harboured the cynicism of a forty-year-old but dreamed like he was twenty. He was German in the daily rituals of life, but with a French disposition. Like a young, sexy Jean-Claude Trichet. But I thought he didn’t love me because it was too difficult. Because I laughed too much, and too loud. And because we were separated by the soft borders of the Schengen area. And that one haunting thought ricocheted inside my neural membranes till I lost the desire to desire.
At night, I returned to my unsuspecting husband. We consummated as if from a cook book, or an Ikea manual. It was listless, and unpassionate, and brief. He said he would cry if I wouldn’t stop being so broken so I told him that I loved him and he fell asleep in the comfort of what was perhaps still a half-truth. I did love him – I had to - because I could say anything, be anyone, leave him a thousand times and he would still take me back, no questions asked, choosing instead to dwell in the dark recesses of unrequited love.
In the early hours of the morning, I was down to my fourth cigarette and wanted so much to be comforted. Because in wanting both of them, I had none of them. It was jarring. I thought about exemptions from morality, and red wine, and Minotaurs and Fawns uncovering sleeping women for Rembrandt and Picasso. I wanted to be comforted with words and with silences, but where was I supposed to find someone who didn’t question my motives when I sought solace? Where was I supposed to find someone who understood my erratic trivialities? Where was I supposed to find someone who just accepted with a smile that I simply got along better with men?