No. 4: About us
We remain anonymous. Our lives are hidden from the outside world. The methods at our disposal are bone, flesh, coded number plates and opaque clothing. We create laws to prohibit the reading of another’s mail. Our true persona played out with loved ones is labelled our ‘private life’. These things are normal, acceptable, ordinary. For most it is seen as obligatory to share your whole self with your life partner – some things even your doctor would struggle to hear from you. We have no real reason for this hidden aspect of our lives, aside from it is our own ‘personal space’.
My upbringing was a marathon, my work life a numbing sensation, and my core a home for true anarchy. These at the main milestones of my life were hidden from the world – it’s true – but it was not always this way. I have been known to dislike, hate, loath – and yet my fickle heart has always found it so easy to love. When you spend your entire existence sailing through the murky depths of reality, it becomes difficult not to latch on to the one light which could steer you to more serene waters. I have found said lights, and all of them were sirens – agents of my destruction.
This of course is not any of their fault. My destruction was a hair’s breadth away, and I was all too swift with my shears. Impulsiveness cost me the purest love I’ve known, breaking both our hearts. Disregard ensured the downfall of the future I might spend with a sweetheart. Honesty burned away a desert rose who always lay out of my reach. Cowardice let a fellow tornado drift and spin off into the dust. Yet none of these were the object of their destruction. They were my doing, out of a need for anarchy in our perfect world. I had remained anonymous, withheld my feelings, and never truly settled with any of those aforementioned. My past and present were my own, and nobody would take them away from me. This narcissism may have been borne of self-preservation, denial, or purely selfish routes, but on this day I am sure of one thing. It was love which eventually caused my own downfall.
I had hit a milestone in my life where I had taken stock of my doings, dealings, and debts. Life had dealt me a lucky hand with women and I was on a losing streak. My tornado loved nothing more than tossing aside emotions to wreak anarchy once more. I decided at the age of 17 to stop this for good, by abstaining from relationships until my lake became placid.
At the age of 25 I felt like time was running out and, in the pit of my despair, a friend called out into my hole. She suggested I try using an online dating site. Well we know now how the internet had served its purpose in my life before, but I hoped it might see its redemption. And so I tried. And failed. And failed. And failed… And succeeded. Here was a girl with flaws all her own. She had crooked eyes glazed with bifocals, a parent complex too difficult to explain, but with one gift of her voice she would calm the turning storm. I found myself thinking of her at all times of day, night, and the seconds in-between. She could look at me and with her softest gaze melt me into the ground. My life had taken a turn, and it appeared to be an incline.
We started off in the most innocuous of places for our first date. By the 2nd we had kissed. 3rd was a lot more kissing. At the 4th we were in love. The 5th we became an item. On the 10th I had betrayed my heart’s anonymity. And the 11th… well a gentleman doesn’t tell. An hour and a half saw us sharing the same air, so we used every minute we could to ignite the passion we had for each other. May it be a bar, a bowling alley, or a shopping mall, it seemed like home with her beside me. And so it continued – for a time.
In time for her the romance dissolved into routine, yet it remained in my heart. She regained the need for sporting dominance, her career progressed, we met family members, and after 6 months together our two homes became one. My impulsiveness – it seemed – had returned. Our home bliss soon removed my blinkers and let me see her for who she really was. Her routine became my routine, her chores became my chores, her bills became my bills, and in a vain effort to rekindle our romance her bedtime became my bedtime. I was in hot pursuit of the life we once had. She cared for another thing entirely: herself.
This disregard started all at once and would not be diminished. Her family sympathised, her friends motivated, her ex-boyfriend kept a close eye. I became suspicious. Her need for family mutated into a longing for a new companion. She was living with me, so the easiest introduction would be a dog. And so we found a rescue shelter and adopted a dog together. This became the utmost object of her affection. When leaving for work she would kiss him goodbye and leave me wanting. She would allow him my space in our double bed. The final straw came when she politely informed me that she loved the dog more than she loved me.
My efforts to rekindle moved from the bedroom into wining and dining. I encouraged her to go out on date nights with me more often as I was seeing little or nothing of her. These she volleyed back in her accomplished tennis technique. One twilight saw us across a table from one another. The food disappeared, the wine flowed, and honesty came forth. This time it was her turn, and it was sharp. She confessed (in her matter of fact way) that in the league table of her desires, I lay in a lowly 4th behind two pin-ups and a rock star. Her one word of comfort lay in the fact that she was with me at the time. My search for answers garnered me what I have not hoped for before or since: given the opportunity she would leave me for either one.
Why would I continue to punish myself with this life of misplaced affection? Because I was deeply in love with her, and for all her flaws she was exceptional. I pushed on through the icy blizzard, while she retreated to her ex-boyfriend. He was a listening ear, a dry shoulder, and warmth from her past. He was my enemy. In trying to explain that his intentions were not angelic, my beloved accused me of mistrust in her. Our home life spiralled into a separated home life. Her mother bid her return home with open arms, while I found new accommodation. In her cowardice of facing our situation head-on she left me behind, and moved on with her life.
The relationship continued at a steady pace, but the passion had gone cold. I began to wonder what it was worth working for, while my heart sank deeper into the pit I had once called home. After numerous tries, endless pleading, and a broken heart, she had succeeded in destroying what strength I may have had left. It was with one final stroke that I dealt the killing blow: “If we travel this path once more I cannot see how I would have the strength to try again… but if you ever find yourself planning your inevitable break up, perhaps you should just end it.” She agreed, and so the darkness enclosed me. With one last kiss we parted ways.
It took 16 years of imposed isolation to prove my identity; 24 months of promiscuity to prove my narcissism; and a further 384 weeks of celibacy to prove my longing for something meaningful. Yet it took only 390 days with one woman to prove that even without a tornado chaos ensues. She had used tools of destruction I knew all too well to dig my new hole. In this shallow grave I honed my senses, regained my strength, and made a bid for freedom. Yet my freedom came at a cost. As I surveyed the world anew, I had an epiphany: Maybe anonymity isn’t so bad after all.