Monday, December 31, 2012

The Long Reach

I found this quote at the beginning of one of my journals from 1979, attributed to George Duke.

“Life is one long reach for self and relationship.”

I chose love and relationships as guides along my life path when I was 20; I have been faithful to that reach these 33 years. I’ve formed every genre of relationship with all manner of folk: BFFs; friends I occasionally have sex with; friends I never want to have sex with but with whom I am just as honest (maybe more so). Some strangers I've had sex with knowing we will never be friends; some lovers I know, once the romance has passed, will be touchstones throughout my life. Most of the people I meet I will never see again, but we share small truths  - at a party, next to each other at the bar, in line for the restroom – as if it matters.

Not a few of these are soul mates, whether we cross paths many times or only once. We attract each other to learn something, to see ourselves reflected in each other, to be reminded of an insight that has been doused and needs a spark to reignite. Some I can love and release, drifting happily into their orbit now and again. With others, I'm powerless against the gravitational pull of their company, acceptance, affection.

Lying in bed with my pets curled next to me on either side, it occurs to me that their personality types make good analogies for me and my newest relationship - or my Accidental Divine Spark, as I prefer to call him.

He’s the cat. One minute he’s sweet and soft, rubbing up against me, purring in my ear, kissing me, nudging my chin. The next he’s biting me a bit too rough, pushing me away with his back feet while he’s grabbing for me with his front claws. Then he’s elusive, ignoring me, my existence forgotten. When he catches sight of me again, he’ll saunter over for a scratch on the belly, meowing, “Oh yeah. I remember you. You’re that girl I like who treats me so nice." When I call him to me, he'll flick his tail and sprawl out on the floor, just out of reach, eyeing me with detachment. Shrug him off, and here he comes, installing himself across my chest and nuzzling so close I get hair in my mouth.

I’m the dog. The dog never wants to leave my side. If I suggest we go out for a walk, he will lazily roll over, indicating he’d rather just lie there in the warm sphere of my attention. He will gladly gaze lovingly into my eyes for hours, or lie in the crook of my arm in an altered state of euphoria, occasionally stealing a kiss if I turn my head his way. The dog is greedy and selfish with my affection, nudging my hand to keep me stroking him and chasing away his brother (the cat) if he dares come near. He is incapable of deceit, unable to conceal his joy at our reunion after any time apart. When I try to shoo the dog out the door to do his business, he looks forlornly over his shoulder at me several times before resigning himself to his obligations. When I call, he’s back in my arms in a heartbeat.

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