Behind Closed Eyes
Posted by diagnosemylife
People of all kinds (I know I should say types instead here, but that makes it seem like I’m sticking labels on everyone) have been asking the same question forever. I know, “What’s the meaning of life?” Yeah, yeah, there’s that one, but there’s a few others, too. Such as,
“How do you know what love is?”
“What does love feel like?”
Meanwhile, other people of all kinds who can answer that question are saying, “How is someone supposed to answer something like that?”
It’s a funny question, to describe what a feeling feels like.
In my own experience, it wasn’t about “loving” someone at all. I would just look at them, see them alive in front of me, and know certain things:
I would do almost anything for their happiness.
I would do almost anything to protect them.
Negative things, or “flaws” are insignificant because they make that person them.
I cannot fathom wanting anyone else.
I care for them.
There was just that knowledge and a powerful feeling, a powerful care. It is not that I wanted to love him, it’s just that there was no other word to describe what I felt when I looked at him.
On the contrary to most, I don’t want to love him. I’m in high school, I’m young and naïve and still have so much to experience in life. But it is there, alive in my heart, and once it finally evolved it was there to stay. Just because I never wanted to fall in love this early, just because I never planned to be serious about any high school relationship, doesn’t mean that can’t and won’t happen. So here I am, in love with him.
It’s a wonderful and awful thing to feel. Wonderful always, awful when I have to admit it to him because the unspoken message is hanging in the air: I don’t love you.
It’s okay with me, but I still long to be in love and be loved as well. That hardly matters in the grand scheme of things, but it still gives me uncomfortable knowledge in the pit of my stomach. A small pang of disappointment in my heart. When I just look at him and think it, though, I can love him and be consumed about making him happy, and not what I want. What I want is not as important—it’s silly.
That’s why love works both ways, you both care about the other person so much that your selfishness is behind you, but your needs are still met because the other person loves you and wants you to get everything you want.
“So why all the talk about love?” you might ask.
I had a strange experience two days ago. I had been sitting in my car while this person I loved spoke on the phone, telling his mom everything he was unhappy with in his life. And then he asked if I could give him a few moments alone. And I practically ran from the car, practically threw open the door and bolted down the street. I walked down his street until I could only see his mailbox, so small…and sat there on the curb, knees up, arms on them, head down, eyes staring at these three dark specks in the concrete for so many minutes…just those three spots. There was an overwhelming feeling bubbling up in my stomach, but I couldn’t think about it. I couldn’t think about what was being said in my car, I couldn’t think about what had happened that day. I could only be there, on that curb, staring at those specks, feeling the sun warm my back in that moment, in those seconds. Nothing else existed. My life, every experience this heart has pounded life into, slipped away in to the sky. What would happen when the spell was broken? I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want my life to come rushing back to me, I didn’t want to know that I would have done anything that person I loved asked—anything to make him feel better, make it easier. I just wanted to sit on that curb until I died, with that same sun warming the back of my neck with its light. I turned my head to the side, resting on my elbow, and closed my eyes. I can only relate it to meditating. It was not sleep, my thoughts were awake, but slow…repeating…undistracted thoughts. My heart was speaking. I began to pray,
“God…God please, please help me….please…No, no don’t worry about me. Actually, please just help Charles. Please God, please…just help him be okay. I know he can do such great things…don’t let him stop himself, end himself. Please God, just make him get better. Just help him get better. Just help him get better. Just help him get better. Just help him get better. Just help him get better. Just help him get better.”
On and on I thought this, and while doing so I pictured Charles’s dreams coming true. I pictured him happy months from now…going to college and doing stupid, fun things…getting his dream house…having a family…becoming president…Charles standing…Charles laughing…Charles sad…Charles. His eyes. Him. I just pictured this and knew God would help. I just knew he had to be listening, that these thoughts I pled so hard for, harder than anything else I have ever asked God for, had to be doing some good. God didn’t want my life to stop at this curb, I knew, and I didn’t want it to so I could see Charles get better, help him.
Numb. I felt numb getting up when I answered the phone call my pocket told me I had. I felt numb walking to my car, helping Charles pick up the trash that scattered across the street, gathering his things, driving in my car to his Aunt and Uncle’s. I was numb. My life, what life? I was suddenly here, in a car, driving. What did I think? What did I think? I couldn’t think anything, listen to anything except Charles talk about how he was feeling. And once the information entered my brain it didn’t bounce off of anything. Nothing was in there. It just curled up in a ball on the floor of my brain, and stared at the blank walls.
Then it came. When I got out of the car, I felt as if I would puke. I wanted to puke, to match how I felt…I wanted to puke up my life so there would really be nothing inside of me… Pain, I felt the pain and stress of my life shatter against my brain. My motor skills were so slow, I really did feel sick in the sense that I just wanted my mom, to lie in my bed, to cry, to do nothing. My brain had shut down. I COULD NOT go to work. I just couldn’t. I could not stand over that sink staring at the wall for hours, swallowing how I felt. This could not be swallowed. This was all who I was at that moment…
Charles. He sat next to me when I was on the ground, talking to my mom on the phone, tears streaming down my face. He talked to me, wanted to hear what was wrong. I nearly burst into tears when he hugged me in the kitchen, after I had been staring blankly at the counter. I couldn’t drive home, even though I wanted to be there. I couldn’t drive in that car alone with my thoughts.
The truly amazing thing is that I felt better by the end of the night. Almost good, actually. I felt better. Real, and alive.
Some things are not meant to defined. Some things pass behind your eyes and leave footprints that only you are meant to follow. You cannot say exactly what it was, or how it felt, but the knowledge that it was real, it was there with you when you were on the ground, means everything. Moments like that, the memory of those things are so strong they feel like fragments of your soul.
You can’t explain it, and you don’t have to.
Originally written: 2/25/12