Saturday, June 03, 2006
Message in a Bottle
Yesterday, I released you into the sea, without even knowing. You were a torn-up, scribbled-upon-with-black-ink piece of paper from my past, hastily stuffed into one of many empty bottles left behind in my messy cupboard, one of many bottles I drank because of you, the one bottle that was hardest to reach, in the dark recesses of this storehouse of skeletons, where I also keep shrapnel from my heart in a blood-stained velvet sack. To discern your forbidden name on the label of this bottle, my long, grey and tired fingers swept aside sticky cobwebs and thick layers of dust.
I released you into the sea without even knowing, because I passed your building, nestled tightly among so many houses made of glass and flighty columns, houses that topple over after fierce gales and arguments, houses lit by fragile and flickering light-bulbs, and did not even notice that I had thrown stones in the hearth -- the heart and home -- of the man I once loved.
I released you into the sea because I walked barefoot on the sand and the broken shards of my love did not cut my feet. The light-bulb of awakening swung ochre and mild, setting to the west. God blanketed the sunset with a purple sheet and everything stood still, as usual, my ears pricked between the surf and the gentle noise of traffic on Collins Avenue.
The tide washes away any trace of love in such a place where sand shifts and oceans rise and fall. The beach, while beguiling, is merely love's beginning, not its end. Never shall I build love on such sinking terrain, so easily swept away by the wind of tempests. Never shall I let my lover liken my eyes to the sea's shade of blue upon sunrise. Never shall I let the glassy surface of a calm sea, hiding perilous shoals, tempt me to shipwreck. Never shall I let a man turn a clever metaphor, if in so knowing, he lays his love down on a bed in a castle built out of this mirage.
Not that I would not love a man of words, but rather, a man who keeps his word. And with this man -- a faithful maker and keeper of words -- I will happily walk the shores of the beach, and beam warmths of azure, teal and cerulean into his gaze, until he knows not where I end and the ocean begins. With this man, on one of those days in which our love is boundless yet generously spent, content to love each other silently as we wander on the streets of mundane, not thinking of but just being each other, I will scrub my cupboard bright and breathlessly clean, replacing old bottles of despair with wine made from the sea foam that tickled our feet as we kissed at journey's end and our beginning.
And so I realize, in the writing, that this letter is not for one who loved me before, but for one who will love me now -- now that the breeze feels salty, warm and golden on my untouched flesh. This letter is not for the grim reaper of dead-end continents, but the valiant sailor who glides bravely and with joy on the ocean of my heart.
Farewell and welcome, love.