Have you ever felt happiness so raw your cheeks hurt from smiling? Have you ever felt such joy your eyes are forced to squinting because it’s too overwhelming to see how beautiful even the most mundane corners of the world have become? Have you ever felt longing so intense every cell seems polarized, pointing in unison toward that point on the horizon where all your hopes and dreams stand in wait, longing equally for you?
I’ve been keeping a secret from you, dear reader, and I’m too excited not to tell.
It’s not that I’ve craved dishonesty–no, that is never my intent–but I’ve lacked the words proper to indulge in revelation. I’ve dropped hints, made implications, and practically announced it in my flash story “Rings of Power“–but I haven’t yet put it into words, haven’t yet made real my greatest happiness to the world.
Many subspaces already know, of course, but not the space itself.
And if that meant nothing, forgive me, I’m in linear algebra this semester, and as any long-time reader might know, those classes I’m currently taking are bound to color my sense of metaphor for the semester. I could indulge my own passion for mathematics–because in a mood as this one, I am passionate toward all things, no matter how else other moods may color me–but for you, I mustn’t. Math is a separate story from this one.
Though, I suppose, math makes sense in the circumstances–there is addition, multiplication, prime decomposition, and limits at infinity all wrapped up in this turbulent chaos of emotion–and is not chaos an expression of math as well? But now I’m really getting ahead of myself–I won’t be studying chaos until next semester.
I’m not at all kidding about that, but I digress.
Alas! Even now, there are too few words to capture this perfect feeling!
And I feel somewhat shamed to share too much–after all, only half this tale is mine.
It’s a tale as old as time, but an edition rather young–a retelling as entrenched in fantasy as my mind’s entrenched in mathematics, and still–still words escape me! I am a poet, a essayist, a repository of vocabulary–and here, here language is insufficient. Language is inadequate. Only the unspoken can express the intensity of what I’m trying to say–the precision of meaning, the validity of claims, the elegance of proof.
I could count on my hands the number of poems I’ve written this semester, and I could count on only a few fingers the ones that did not run with this singular theme that has permeated every facet of my life for more than a year–this truly is “More Than a Moment” and it is a brilliant infinity that brings me from one instant to the next.
I am in love.
But that language is naught but a cliché and so rife with misuse that even then, it does not compare–it cannot compare, but seems somehow to contrast what I feel: It is nominal, mundane, profane–and what I feel, pumping as powerfully through my veins as blood itself, can only be described as sacred.
Still, still I cannot speak!
It’s the existential crisis I experienced when I realized I hadn’t decided which shirt I would wear when I met him, a moment I had imagined for months–seeing as through another’s eyes my approach through the airport, but in my mind I was wearing a sweatshirt, and lacking x-ray vision even in fantastic visions, I had not seen what I wore underneath–and realizing that I had overlooked even a minute detail as that left me terrified.
It’s the first embrace we shared, shaking and uncertain, but natural and unhindered–we did not speak, we had no need, our arms opened of their own accord and there we were, two puzzle pieces fitted together at last. It’s the moment, lying next to each other, that our lips met and sent lightning through every nerve in my body, every organ from lungs to heart to skin suddenly magnetized, a dipole turned toward only each other.
It’s the tears that tore through me as I flew across the Gulf, from one country to another, the impenetrable breathlessness of my soul being ripped from my body, my heart severed from veins and arteries, my breath caught in another’s lungs where it waited a hundred days until our lips met once more and everything was returned.
It’s the bus we caught in the middle of the night, sitting side by side and staring at each other, refreshing the images in our minds with every new detail, every line from laughter, every blemish, ever hair gained or lost. It’s the balmy nights in a windowless room where we slept like otters in the ocean, holding hands so nothing could separate us as the world twisted and turned around us.
It’s the hot sun beating down on us as we stood at a small kiosk in the historic part of Queretaro, pointing to silver rings until we found a pair that fit, a pair that matched each of us and matched each other. The days that followed, seeking the perfect moment, the random glances when we asked each other, “What are we going to say?” It’s the moment nearly ten days later when we made it back to the oldest synagogue in the country, sat down beneath the window where we captured our first kiss on our camera, and laughed awkwardly at each other because there were no words–because language was insufficient. Because I’m a writer, a poet, a man of metaphor and story, and he’s multi-lingual, a scholar, an interpreter and translator, and still language was not enough.
Language will never be enough. There is no word to describe the perfect fit of two bodies into each other. There is no word that captures the heart swollen with love, the smile contorted in bliss, the static between his hand and mine when our fingers become intertwined. There is no word massive enough to encapsulate the happiness of sitting on the sidewalk reading a novel until he steps out of his office building and hugs you hello.
There is little feeling beyond numb ecstasy when I realize, as the courts advance daily, we may yet unite ourselves in my home state, at our synagogue, before our rabbi, our community, our friends and our family.
Our family. Not only mine, not only his, but ours.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming. They say the best partners bring out the best in each other, but he brings out the best in the world–the sky is bluer and broader, the leaves more detailed and colored, the ground greeting my feet firmer and warmer than I could ever imagine. The embrace of a good friend is sweeter and stronger, the joy of art is wilder, the wonder and amazement and beauty in the world too much to handle. His love makes me stronger, braver, happier–or maybe I am stronger, braver, happier to show my love to him.
It’s too much. I’m a small soul, and he fills me to bursting. He makes my mind swell as the tide rises, and there it stays when the tide retreats, to grow even more when it returns. A stranger’s casual smile tips me over the top, makes my cup overflow–and when I see old friends, when I await new opportunities, when I’m sitting in class and suddenly understand the enigmatic mathematics on the board–my soul splits open, radiance pours out, and I bathe in this light of love and love until I’m unable to hold it in any longer.
And yet still, I have not captured what I’m trying to capture, have not said what I’m trying to say, have not even begun to get close–and still, if allowed, I would weave my words into eternity, always searching for language that isn’t there, for words that don’t exist, for metaphors that forever will be insufficient. To say I’m “in love” isn’t even accurate–the love is inside me, all around me, between us. The world itself–all its intricacies and atrocities alike–has become a single metaphor for love. It’s as though everything were fastened for this one experience, as though everything exists just as it is just so we could share this one moment together.
Even pain is sweeter, even sadness is delicious. When he tells me he needs me now more than ever I rejoice that I have a place in his life and then tear my clothes and cover myself in ashes and dress in sackcloth because I’m inadequate and cannot be there when he needs me most. But I count the days, and he counts them with me, and soon we will be in each others’ arms, soon we will fit into each other as though everything were shaped for that single embrace, and all the world will be perfect once again.
Ten weeks has never been so short, nor so long.