And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

To Be Earned...

This entry is dedicated to someone that has made an impact in my life, someone I hope never to forget. Although I seriously think I’m likely to end up forgotten by her.
This is a 2-part gig. First is the less important of the matters concerning her and me: it concerns the confusion I felt and still feel over how much she matters to me. The second concerns something far more important to me that she actually does not even realize she has done for me.
Now, for the first point: after a few hours worth of contemplation, I have come to a simple realization: falling in love (or the self-delusion of having done so) sucks. It is really one of the fairly few things that I learned during my tenure at Ambergris Solutions.
It starts out the same way so many stories do: boy meets girl. Really, it seemed simple enough. We initially found out that we had something rather superficial in common: our grade school/high school. It kicked off from there and it turned out we had personalities that clicked. Despite our differences in opinion and viewpoints, we got along and we generally tended to talk to each other on a lot of stuff but nothing of any solid importance. I know about her problems but she does not tell me about them. I hear about them from other people and offer the odd bit of my personal insight when conversations on them crop up but I generally allowed her to just vent in her own way.
I guess I found myself drawn to her the same way I do for most any emotionally troubled girl I met before. For reasons I do not fully understand even at this point, I find it very hard to resist trying to get close to girls that are troubled or have problematic lives. The emotional turmoil appeals to me, I guess. Documenting her problem is the farthest thing from my mind since I am not privy to all the details of the matter and as curious as I am, I am not about to press her for details. That would be far too much like pouring salt on a fresh wound: it stings. I suppose it was around that time that someone made mention of the fact that we, supposedly, had chemistry and that we were moving along that direction. And with a flair that was her hallmark, she dismissed it as nothing but a misguided assessment of what was going on between us. We were buddies, friends and nothing more.
Right. We were buddies. I like to think I earned her trust, earned her respect, earned her friendship but one can never be too sure of such things. However, she and I got along well enough and I certainly trust her. I consciously tried to brighten up her life in what little ways I could and, in a short span of time, more people started thinking there was something else going on between us. The fact that she and I spent more time with each other than anyone else during the shift seemed to help that theory along. It was something we generally ignored. However, when you hear about something enough times and you see that there is some evidence to prove their points (even if that evidence is purely circumstantial), you sort of start to fall for your own hype. And, for a while there, I actually did. Of course, in retrospect, that really did not have much effect. Things proceeded as they always did and I went out of my way to spend as much time with her as I could even with the grim certainty that if an attraction was there, it was strictly one-way and would always stay that way.
Of course, as time passed, I realized that there really is nothing there. Do I find her attractive? Yes, I most definitely do. I refuse to deny that fact. Am I in love with her or am moving in that direction? No. That, as much as the last statement, is something I hold to be true. We are friends, very close friends but there is nothing more to it than that when one goes on to analyze it. And again, that really did nothing to change how I behaved around her and I still generally let her have her way with whatever situation came up. Under normal circumstances, no single person could have gotten so much out of me with me having so little regret to it. I always regret the nice things I do for people at some point; generally immediately after the money is taken out of my wallet. The fact that I was actually happy to spend it on her is unique.
However, good things have to end at some point and when I finally made the move to resign, I had hoped to keep some semblance of that but hope fades quickly. Even more so when you consistently make moves that make it clear that you entertain serious doubts about her ability to judge the characters of other people, not to mention hurt her feelings when you make those moves. Yes, you apologize but that does little to alleviate things. Frankly, I expect her to never speak to me again as soon as all this is said and done. And to be honest, I would be rather disappointed in her if that did not happen because it would just result in her showing clearly that she never bothered to listen to me over our many little conversations.
Ah, those conversations bring back memories. Most of the time, we talk about things that are mundane and serve as fodder for what most friends talk about. However, once in a while, we talk about something deeper. Destiny or choice, what it means to be able to choose your friends, the nature of trust and other semi-philosophical little bits that, to me, let me see some degree of depth behind the delicate personal minefield I feel I have to navigate around her. The reason for that I really am not sure of.
She is quite different from me. She can be very trusting and willing to let most character flaws slide, whereas I would rather take the time to scrutinize a person by the way they talk and act and work first before deciding on whether or not I want to get to know them better. She is more than willing to defend her friends while I would rather let them speak for themselves. She is very outgoing, very open and fun-loving while I tend to be brooding, contemplative and serious. Yet, in our own ways, we have wasted and are wasting the best years of our lives. She has obligations that force her to do so and I actively choose to let it pass by. When you really think about it, we have next to nothing in common except for a certain degree of eccentricity we both refer to as insanity or something similar. And that, really, is what our connection was built on. I have to wonder if such a connection is going to last; at least, I did before. Right now, I imagine it already starting to fall apart and I take the blame for all of it. Why? Because I always push away the people that matter most to me as a way of keeping them from getting hurt more than they have to. It is my nature.
So, when all is said and done, what are my feelings towards her?
I have no idea. Reading my own thoughts on the matter, formulating new thoughts on it and then mulling over them as I mesh them with the old ones has created a wicked web in my head that has warped any clarity on the issue out of it. In simple terms, I can’t sort it out.
She’s definitely more than just a run-of-the-mill friend to me. I am of a faint degree of certainty that I haven’t made the mistake of falling in love with her. This wears down on me. Conversations and reflections over the matter have only served to fuel the flames on both sides and some people may be right in this assessment: I’m in denial. Of course, no one but me is as privy as I am to how my head works and I’m sure that’s not what’s going on but objectivity isn’t my strong suit in this matter. She doesn’t seem to see what they see either, which is a good sign to me. This is because she and I think alike and even if our analysis of the exact same situations can be drastically different at times, I trust her judgment enough to have a conclusion on this matter that reflects my own.
But then again, it is a one-way thing…
So for now, I’m leaving the answer to this question…a blank.
With that out of the way, I must move on to the second matter: what she’s done for me. Don’t worry. This one is pretty straightforward and short, unlike the last point. But that’s mainly because this one I understand and have figured out with exceptional clarity.
By the time I met her, I’d already faded. Like I’ve mentioned before, my Yang had already been waning and my creative urges were slowly being forced into hibernation. I had, secretly, lost all hope of ever getting back on my creative feet and writing as I used to be able to – able to craft entire worlds with my thoughts by just tapping on a few keys. I used to be able to do that but real life takes so much away from you. I couldn’t even get myself to properly start a project before giving it the ax. But then, something about her got that old spark going again – and this was before the whole “I love her…I love her not” debacle that I’ve found myself in.
Is it her persistent belief that she can do whatever it is she put her mind to? Is it her incessant drive to reach for her dreams? She certainly wasn’t afraid to tell me that she was not going to give up on herself. Maybe it was that aspect of our interaction that got me subconsciously going again. She was driven to those goals and had worked things out in advance (even if her plans are a bit…fragmented and some of the things she’s counting on to work out are not the minimal risk variables she seems to think they are) and I can’t fault her for that; I applaud her for it. I guess she inspired me, to put it one way.
She wouldn’t give up on achieving her goals and she got me believing I shouldn’t give up on mine. And that is something I can never thank her enough for.
So thank you for giving me back my ability to dream.

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