He often brought me drooping flowers, last-day flowers, half off flowers and handed them to me like a semicolon, an apology.
Then I’d start to prepare dinner, ripping the tough stem from the kale, heating Macadamia nuts in coconut butter, cutting hearts of palm into small round slices while he watched my hands prepare, hands lighting candles to flame, hands carrying the old dishes to the table, hands that had caressed him in the night, fingers that had woken a small part of his soul, palms asking him to rise.
He sometimes said, I can’t hide when you look at me.
Those were the early days of our relationship when he still slept in the middle bedroom when he came for dinner, and hadn’t made it yet to my bed, the days the avocado tree was swollen with thick, buttery fruit that fed our whole neighborhood.
In the early days he became so entranced with me, it helped me become re-entranced with myself, the self I had been stripped of through illness and a less than relationship.
I had asked the universe for a kind, gentle man, and the universe sent me him.
Over time, he pulled me out of the dark earth and tumbled me until I was a pink rock glistening in the sun. His face was cut and ancient and modern, and he had the smallest hands, so that when he reached across the table and took my hand in his, I knew I was taking all his sorrow, the hands of a child still waiting for his father to return home.
On our first date, we had dinner in a restaurant where the ocean seemed to be licking our feet. He announced he was moving to another country. In the parking lot, my thighs winced when he kissed me.
He left for that country, even though my thighs asked him to stay, my mouth said goodbye.
I began dating another man.
But this small man had entered my soul and left with a blink, this man with too much hair, hair that I tugged on when I first met him just to see if it was real. He had imprinted me in just a few hours by a moonlit beach in a parking lot.
I did not accept his invitation to his going away party.
I had given so much away to come to Kauai, and he had given everything away to leave Kauai. We seemed to cross in a minute, in one sultry summer night.
He wrote letters to me every day from his new country and signed his emails Lancelot, and there were many. He called me often from the rain drenched country, cowering on the back yard deck in the corner for reception, just to hear my voice.
He was a boat on a turbulent sea of his new life. He was in a country he didn’t love, and I became his anchor, his true north, his path home to himself and his beloved island.
Falling in love is directional, a going down, a spiral, but perhaps instead of falling in love we need to think about it as rising in love.
Love is a healing, the idea that someone sees you and understands you and loves you, even through your faults, even through your fear. Every wart is like a glittering star, flaws become endearing.
Magic swirls around the energy of two, which often becomes three or four or six or ten. Because the math of love multiplies, and turns into a beautiful infinity.
Love calls to our ovaries. Love calls to a rebirth of the self. Love is as necessary as oxygen and earth and sun and rain.
I don’t believe in blind love.
I believe love helps us see ourselves and the world with more clarity. Sometimes love helps us bloom again, takes the tight fist of the bud on the stem and opens it. We relearn how to see. Loving someone else also involves falling in love with ourself over and over again.
Poet Galway Kinnell wrote, “the bud stands for all things, even those that don’t flower, for everything flowers within from self blessing.”
Even so, sometimes we also need to be blessed by others to reimagine our lives.
As for my man, he still brings me wilting flowers, and sometimes I still reach into the garden and the muddy earth to destroy a daisy, petal by petal with my questions.
He loves me.
He loves me not.
He loves me.
My thighs still answer the call.
An invitation to write: Write about the Third Body
When I think of all the times in my life I have fallen in love, I see alll those times as an awakening.I fell in love with my daughter’s father which led me to her. I fell in love with a man on Kauai, which led me to Kauai and one of the kindest men I have known.Sometimes falling in love is like a bread crumbs – leading us somewhere else, to another love.I loved my daughter and then I fell in love with her children. I think the moral of this story Is that love leads us to more love, we just have to trust the process. The key is to love anyway. To fall in in love with places, people words and oceans, even people who are wrong for us, because love is expansive, and not loving keeps us small.
Write about how being in love with one person made you fall in love with everything, including yourself – how your life expanded.
Write about how falling in love with a place or a person had ancient knowing to the experience – a deja vu, as if surely you had fallen in love with this person or this place before.
Use one of these sentences in your story:
- I didn’t fall in love, I fell through it.
- I no longer understand anything for longer than a moment.
- This kind of gravity is like falling through a cloud.
- I am falling, I have been falling, I continue to fall.
For a deeper memoir exploration through the Hero’s Journey, take Laura’s 12-week workshop in a workbook with STORYquest, the Writer, the Hero, the Journey.