It is a struggle to find inspiration in a world without touch. It is even more difficult to face the isolation of a life without love. It makes the echoing emptiness just that much more claustrophobic, the passing hours that much more hollow and depressing. The abandonment presses in hard and it festers here, polluting my thoughts and infecting my creativity, virulently. It defines my newly mandated and officially locked-down day and I find myself dissolving slowly, and unapologetically, into that definition.
It isn’t like I have never known love. I have loved for almost the whole of my supposedly content and productive adult life. And, in the lumbering wheeze of another overnight hour passing, it occurs to me that maybe that has been my underlying problem all along. Maybe I have simply loved too much, or perhaps too often. Or too foolishly. And now, my tanks run empty, fate finally dictating that I have, at last- after all these exhaustingly disappointing years, had my share.
Not that I would ever change anything. Well, that’s not entirely true. There are certain things that I would change when seen now through the focused, brutal lens of a hindsight finally seen. But overall, when I have loved, I have been wholly invested and tried my very best. Tried to love hard. To love indiscriminately, within the confines of a captive moment. To love with passionate vigor, despite underlying animosities lurking. To love with the better angels of myself.
Even when those angels turned sinful and distant. Even when those unstable drug-fueled arguments came crowding in, with their hurtful words and unfair baseless accusations. Through it all, there was always still a smell of perfume lingering. Or a silky, tickling touch. Or a tentative, whispered nickname shared in the secret of a lover’s embrace. There was always something left to love, some small lifeline left to an anchored moment of a better day long gone, but still not surrendered, that kept me in the fight.
Yet, the love never seemed to stick. And, I have never quite abandoned the idea of it, either. Not entirely, anyway. Even now, as the panic circulates and the prognosis grows more dim with each passing day, I still try to love. I still try to find the right words. I still try to stumble my way into meaningful creativity. I still try to greet each new day for the limitless possibility it promises, even when those promises usually fail to pan out and I’m left staring at a blank page wrapped inside an empty house.
But then, being a writer is so much more than simply banging out pretty words on to a plain white page. It is painfully introspective self-exploitation, stripping oneself down emotionally naked for the sake of a conveniently clever phrase. It is a constant exercise in frustration when the idea may have been born, but the words have yet to show. It can be lonely and it can be ugly and it brings a pain, unique in its creation and lasting in its infection.
Despite it all- all the hours, and all the hurt, and all the rejections, I’m still a sucker for that cliché happy ending and maybe that’s why I keep writing. I still believe in words, even when I can’t immediately find them in the dark. I still believe in tomorrow, even though I know the death count will again grow higher as we hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. And, perhaps most importantly, I still believe in love.
Maybe one day soon, if I am lucky, and somehow survive all of this relatively intact, I will meet love again. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get that next chance to do things right this time around. Maybe it will all change after all.
So while I sit here, and wait out the end of the world, the best that I can do is to put another page in the typewriter, raise a single glass toast to yet another night come creeping, and just keep keeping on until the coming dawn breaks out over this little locked-down flyover town.
Maybe that love will be there, waiting for me on the other side.