I et veldig kort øyeblikk vurderer jeg å lese gjennom alle mailene du har sendt meg en gang til, bare for å plukke ut de fineste setningene, ordene som hinter om at du synes jeg er fin, at det er synd jeg er så jævlig langt borte. Da hadde jeg kanskje ikke trengt å være så usikker på hva som skal skje, om du skal fly hit eller ikke, om jeg får vise deg byen min, ta deg med i de smale gatene, og gått meg vill med deg. Kanskje ville det minsket avstanden litt, havet av tid mellom nå og da, siden sist jeg satt i senga di og du så på meg, rolig, smilte så vidt og sa, Jeg vil ikke at du skal dra. Avstanden, alltid avstanden og geografien, må jeg skylde på den igjen? Tomrommet som slettes ikke er et tomrom - det er jo verdener av menneskeliv mellom byen min og byen din - men som føles hult, akustisk allikevel, som om det må fylles med ord, med noe som kan gi det mening. Heldigvis slår jeg fra meg tanken. Tanken i seg selv, den holder: den tar allerede altfor, altfor mye plass.
You ask me what it is, but I don’t know. I think it is to want, to fear, to dare, all at the same time. Often, falling in love is wanting change, is fearing that want, is bracing yourself for what that dare involves. Betraying your fears in this way implies knowing who you are - to the extent that we can know these things - and letting part of you go. It’s allowing the unsafe.
Some time ago, I wrote a poem where I described it as being “conveniently thrown off balance”, and perhaps there’s something to that, something about that curious combination of control and chaos. That you’re willingly, deliberately, losing foothold is also what makes the whole thing absurd. Yet without that willingness, that awareness of what is going on, you can’t sense the thrill of it. You can’t sense what makes it at once frightening and strangely brave to voluntarily give another human control of your own being.
It may or may not be true that we hand over this control. After all, do we ever consciously pick who we’re infatuated with, and when? Yet, often we do choose to fall in love, because there’s always the alternative that we didn’t pick: deciding that we lack the bravery or insanity or willingness to do it, that we have too much to lose and not enough to bet on, or some other rationalized excuse. That we still choose to try, there is something insane in that, something there that explains why love is always one part madness - that partly willed, partly dreamt up mania that not even, or especially not, the crazed can pick apart.
I’ve been writing on a longer piece of fiction for the last year. This is a recent section written from the perspective of the main character’s father.
You’re lucky when you aren’t consciously aware of your own body, your major organs, muscles, bones or joints. Being ignorant to the machinery that runs you from day to day - the spine that holds you up; the knees that let you bend, tread and stand; the heart that pumps, pumps, pumps and keeps you from being dead - is often a very good sign: it means your body is functioning as it should. Ask the ill. Ask the ill and old. They’ll tell you what it means to learn the opposite. Ask the healthy even. Unless you are sick, you don’t feel your heart: you simply and blindly benefit from it working.
Especially when we’re young, our bodies tend to work so well that we forget how well they work. And why shouldn’t we? When you don’t know what it means for a body to slowly falter and fail, to be pushed down by the weight of its own lifespan; when you haven’t felt how your bones can come to hurt inside your skin, as if they don’t fit, as if one joint grinds against the other like two rusting bolts forced to spin, despite the burning friction they produce; when you don’t know pain − hard, calcifying pain, trapped inside your kneecaps, capped around your joints, pain that can’t be scraped off, crushed, or ignored − why would you want to imagine it? If you’ve yet to feel the simple fact and complex consequences of your own mortality, your body is like a child at pain: naïve, ignorant, unexposed. As a result, it voluptuously takes its current state for granted and lives greedily off its own energy, unaware that it will one day run out of that very force. And why should it be otherwise? It is fortunate for that. It is fortunate to not know what it’ll become.
Of course, in hindsight, I wish I knew what to be grateful for back then. As a young man, I took so many things for granted, but then again, I was a young man. Besides, the only way to know what I know now would be to go through the accident, and though I can try to convince myself otherwise, I’d give almost anything to stop it from happening. So, no, in this case, what I’m grateful for is not what I have learned, the knowledge I have gained. I am grateful for my ignorance then, what an idiot I was allowed to be.