I have been ruminating lately on the way it began, specifically those nights at the house in Albuquerque. There in the dark, hour upon hour, we peeled layers off each others being until we were both unburdened and empty.
I’d never before met my equal. It was terrifying – and irritating, and exhilarating, and exhausting – to have my own tricks used against me. I hated that he saw through me so easily; he hated I could outmaneuver him. We couldn’t fool each other, so we eventually accepted a kind of comfortable detente.
Other people, though … well, they’ve always been fair game.
He began to open people before the cafe table as he opened bottles, not delicately, not gradually, but uncorking them, hurling direct questions at them like javelins, assaulting them with naked curiosity.
A secret, an evasion, a shrinking, drove him to repeat his thrusts like one hard of hearing: what did you say?
No secrets! No mystifications allowed! Spill open! Give yourself publicly like those fanatics who confess to the community.
He hated withdrawals, shells, veils. They aroused the barbarian in him, the violater of cities, the sacker and invader.
Dive from any place whatever!
With large savage scissors he cut off all the moorings. Cut off responsibilities, families, shelters. He sent every one of them towards the open sea, into chaos, into poverty into solitude into storms.
At first they bounced safely on the buoyant mattress of his enthusiasms. [He] became gayer and gayer as his timid passengers embarked on unfamiliar and tumultuous seas.
Some felt relieved to have been violated. There was no other way to open their beings. They were glad to have been done violence to as secrets have a way of corroding their containers. Others felt ravaged like invaded countries, felt hopelessly exhibited and ashamed of this lesser aspect of themselves.
As soon as [he] had emptied the person, and the bottle, of all it contained, down to the sediments, he was satiated.
Come, said [he], display the worst in yourself. To laugh it is necessary to present a charade of our diminished states. To face the natural man, and the charm of his defects. Come, said [he], let us share our flaws together. I do not believe in heroes. I believe in the natural man.
~ Anais Nin, Children of the Albatross
If you trust me, I will destroy you. If you trust me, I will help you rebuild. If you trust me, one day you’ll learn to do the same. If you trust me, you may even get a chance at destroying me.
It’s been a long time since I met my match.
Find me a find, catch me a catch.