On love, half-awake

It is in the haze of half-awakeness that I understand my feelings best, when my brain isn’t fast enough to destroy meaning in an attempt to understand. So now I write, still slow from an afternoon nap that extended into night skies and confusion. Do you ever find that in your dreams you discover the one great love of your life? The one they write novels, poems, plays about, the one they paint, sing, scream about, immortalising every action and making it a gesture, celebrating the discord of emotions and worshiping a caress, a look? I awoke with nostalgia for my one great love, but my awake brain has already dismantled this idea with the starkness of facts.

Today I swam in the ocean. The sky was effortlessly clear, the sun warm like summer. I drove toward the beach through silhouetted gum trees making zebra lines across the road. The water was colder than I expected, although it was that irresistible turquoise that promises it will make you feel better. I waded in to my hips, then before I could hesitate any longer, dove under the surface. The muffled sunlit silence of the underwater world. My body stung alive by the cold. Above the surface, the chaos of breaking waves and surfers and children on the sand. Below again, this time used to the cold. Gliding through the water like an axelottle. The buoyant silence.

The thing is, I have lots of great little loves. I fall in love with someone for the night or the hours we spend together. I allow my body to be theirs and in return their body is mine, an extension of me. We are one being, not separate, fused by our pleasure. Even my longer loves, years of togetherness, came and went like waves on the sand.

But a lifetime of little loves doesn’t accumulate to the big, great love. Does it?

In my dream, or perhaps it was a memory, I spooned him from behind as we both fell into exhausted but happy sleep. I drifted away into the turquoise.

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