My Hidden Lives // Prose

41. about everyday heroes

heroes

I’d often wondered why I only had the urge to write when I was sad.

My journals read like chronicles of despair. Lovers and friends all betrayed me. I was always screaming out from a distant island, somewhere tucked away from day-to-day realities and small moments.

I was insular. I wasn’t there.

There was a deep sea of pain dividing me from my life, if it was in deed mine back then. But its cruelest waves and storms, those that washed over and penetrated my island roots so intensely and unexpectedly, were also the ones I’ve weaved my best words around. I realize that maybe sometimes, I needed a push to make the leap.

The thought that happiness might deserve a page or two struck me many years later. It was a silly day, and I’d gotten some good news. Spring was only starting to rear its carefully shielded head over the horizon of gray rooftops in the suburbs.  My earphones firmly in place, I was following my usual route around the old city.

It was then that I realized – this moment should be recorded. It should be described, kept for posterity. I need to remember this feeling of I-can-do-anything-because-I-am-a-Golden-God. I want to be able to remember that I’m-so-in-love-I’ve-slept-two-hours-because-I-couldn’t-stop-thinking-about-the-way-his-hair-smells-when-we-kiss.

Hurrying back home to write it down, words buzzing in my ear, I analyzed this trait of mine (as I often do with almost anything). Why do I insist on being reminded of the bad? Why does anyone? I thought of my favorite works of art, and yes, they were all born out of the same vacuum, the same blackness as my own, humble, efforts at literary greatness.

Can it be that pain is really the only emotion we are able to share with others?

Even as I was writing, I realized – this was not going to be a happy story. I was expectedly displeased.

Then I thought of the man-I’m-so-in-love-I’ve-slept-two-hours-because-I-couldn’t-stop-thinking-about-the-way-his-hair-smells-when-we-kiss. The subtle gap in his teeth. The way he looks funny, and very young, when his hair isn’t being held up by more product than even my own. How ridiculous we are together, and how it makes me even more in love with him that we’re this crazy and that strange. How no one in their right mind would’ve put a bet on us, but I did.

I thought of all this – of him – and I smiled, and I couldn’t write another word.

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