The Closet Feeling
Every now and then a feeling overpowers me. A feeling that I have to keep secret because of the social conventions. The conventions rule the lives of people. People love to be ruled. I on the other hand hate it. Why can’t I live my life the way I want? In my case expressing the “closet feeling” will be called cheating. In my life I had one big, true love. This kind of love often appears in the books. I never believed in its existence and I stomped through life positive that I will never meet it. I am very pragmatic, down to earth person. I don’t believe in star crossed paths, fate or any other clichés. And yet, the unexpected happened: I felt truly, madly in love. This love came as a tornado, lifted me from the ground and let me fly. Usually my loves come silently, peacefully. They don’t happen overnight. I spend some time with a man, I enjoy his company and gradually I realize that I am in love. My loves feel like a quiet warm summer rain. This time Fate decided it is time to prove to me that she exists. One day out of the blue a man stopped me to talk to me. We were both attending a conference. Later it turned out that He had watched me in the past days without me noticing it. I was in my last year in the university. I had a feeling that my life just now begins. I was buried in various forms needed for my US visa application for postgraduate education. On top of that I was busy finalizing my Masters thesis. And I knew that in only 3 months I will be flying over the Atlantic. In this moment a man stopped me to talk to me. I still remember the bright summer light in which we were both bathed outside of the building where the conference was held. I remember we talked about nothing in particular and it felt good, it felt right. That evening, after the lectures, we sat in the bar and talked about literature. We discussed Stephan King’s “Shawshank Redemption”. I remember I said I haven’t read it. And He promised to lend it to me once we were back from the conference. I remember very many small details, words, gestures. I remember the smell of the mountain, the light of the city at our meetings. Because He kept his promise and gave me the book to read. The moment we aranged to see each other after the conference, I knew I was in love. Once I was back, I broke up with my boyfriend without giving him reason. I was certain I have met my Love. We spent all our free time together. I was flying high. I had my thesis finished, I got my visa and I had 3 months to enjoy the nice company. This is how I saw our relationship. I kept it secret from my mother and I thought He did the same with his colleagues. Much later I realized how deeply in love He has been and how all around him knew. That summer no one but us existed. I defended my thesis successfully. I read many books because of Him. We spent lots of time discussing the texts, the life and the world around us. We didn’t kiss, we didn’t touch. We felt complete. One day He suggested to show me our city by night. It was his farewell gift, He said. We met on a warm July evening. The city was still bustling with its night life – clubs, bars, restaurants… People were enjoying the summer on the streets. I remember the smell of the city that peaceful evening. We made a plan which places to visit. I remember we talked a lot. I remember watching the city falling asleep. Gradually the people disappeared from the streets, cars became scarce, the city sounds faded. At midnight we sat on a bench under a big tree. I remember lifting my head and noticing how the leaves above me were lit by a street lamp. And I remember the Kiss. It left me breathless. Nobody ever has kissed me in this way. Not even one of my boyfriends. Until now. His every gesture felt right. That kiss felt like the end of a lifetime journey. I was 23. I was loved.
We met the sunrise together. We shared many kisses during the last month of the summer. And every time it felt as if this was the first time. He never expressed any sexual desire. I was concerned but thought nothing of it. I didn’t care. Later, when both of us were crying over the end, He explained that in that summer he had desired me immensely. But He had not dared to move forward because He had been afraid that I would not go the United States to pursue my career. He had wanted me to feel free. He was right – I wouldn’t have left but we both realized too late that me not leaving would have been for good.
The last month passed. Inside me I was sure I have found my true love. I wanted to marry before my departure. I was ready for this step only after 3 months. Never in my life I have wanted or had the need to marry. My relationships usually hold many years and yet I never felt the urge. With Him was different. I begged him to proceed. He said “Let’s wait one year.” I agreed even though my 6th sence was against it. I should have listened to it.
I left in a turmoil of tears. My Love was staying behind. I went to the United States and the worst year of my life began. I couldn’t adjust. I missed Him terribly. The days were spent in some sort of a day dreaming. I attended classes but dreamt about Him. In the night we chatted over ICQ. I was not doing my homeworks, I was not studying for the midterms. I had a friend – a colleague I used to know back in my home town. He tried to help me, to reason with me I didn’t care. All I cared for were the chats with Him. I received my first “F” grade in my life. This was the wake up call. I tried to explain the situation to Him but it seemed to me that he couldn’t accept it. The arguments became frequent. We felt surrounded by walls because at that time Skype and other video chat software did not exist . We wanted to see each other’s faces, to see the tears running down our faces. And we could not. With every day we became angrier with each other. Until He said he needed a break. He chose the wrong time. I was battling with my homeworks and exams and that period was the toughest of all. It seemed to me that He didn’t care. We stopped the chats until further notice from Him. I was left alone to struggle. During that period my only friend, the one I knew from my town, grew closer to me. He supported me in my adjustment battle, he helped me in dealing with my homeworks. We began to spend all our time together. I felt empty. I didn’t notice. When I noticed we were already in a relationship…. And the summer was coming. The year given me by Him was coming to an end.
That summer we met. I had hopes but He crushed them. We managed to clear the misunderstandings. Unfortunately for Him was too late. He was burnt. I wished I never left. What was done, was done. We parted our separate ways. He – broken. I – still in love.
I continued my postgraduate studies. The friend next to me became my boyfriend and later my life partner. Whole 15 years long. He supported me at every decision I made. He gave me freedom and comfort. What he couldn’t give me was the sweeping tornado I felt with the Other. He never kissed me like the Other. He never interrupted me with a kiss. He never swept his fingers through my hair like the Other used to do. He never discussed literature, philosophy and life.
Every 2 or 3 years I get this inexplicable desire to find Him. Where is He? What is He doing? Is He happy? Is He married? Does He remember me from time to time? At such a time I feel as if I am sitting in a closet with a flashlight and read a forbidden book. My closest friend urges me to stop thinking about Him. According to her I have the perfect partner and shouldn’t be remembering the Other. I can’t stop. It is bigger than me. As if a part of me never left those magic summer months.
Where are you?