It wasn’t her first affair, but it was my last.
She passed by me, about three feet away. I think it was her, but I can’t be sure. Her hair was dyed red. She looked so angry. She wouldn’t make eye contact. I had been smiling, happy, coming from class after teaching a brilliant Toni Morrison essay on language. I was happy that they seemed to get it. Language is what we have, what we can control. It creates pictures, but more than that, it reaches to things that can’t be pictured.
One foot in front of the other, one word after the next. It’s what we have in this life. Move on, keep going forward. To stop is to die. I hadn’t seen her in over five years. Everything ended then, and I have to keep placing these words, the only thing I can control, together. Because we won’t be together again. Ever.
But when I got home, there was such a pressure behind my eyes. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s cold, but it’s hot. I wonder how love could cause such anger, such pressure, such hopelessness. Only a moment before I had been happy, but now I’m not. I suppose it’s because she didn’t stop, she just buried her head looking displeased that I’m still on the planet. I’m not sorry she’s here. She reminds me of the essential facts that rule my endless procession of movement.
Feelings, I can’t control. I act on them. They are always there, wild and radical and unconforming to any sense or sensibility. When someone decides they hate you, there just isn’t much to be done, even though you don’t return that hatred.
Words, I can control. There is always a subject, real or implied. There is always a verb, or a gerund, hoping, believing, longing, desiring, feeling… But there isn’t always an object. Place one after the other. Follow the possibility, watch it get narrower and narrower until it becomes a hard and compact point. The limit of opaqueness, according to Blake, is Satan. Writing seems to be a devilish move.
But my feelings are open, translucent, and exposed. The limit of expansion is God, as Blake would say. Feelings can be ineffable, but language can only reach, and with every step contract. What can I say next? What can I do? It is always dependant on choices made, and things done before. Language pushes and pushes, but it can never get there because with each step it always becomes its own oppressor. It’s not a rhizome, free to bond at will, and yet it is infinite, and springs like weeds from every situation, every feeling, growing and branching and weaving, Language tries hard to make it last.
But people usually just walk away.