Sunday, June 1, 2008

personal: Past Love and a Singing Husky

George stopped singing a few days ago.

My little stuffed Husky (George, Washington... get it?) was a build a bear creation that had also been stuffed with a sound box that played "Beautiful Mess" by Diamond Rio. It was a Christmas gift from my ex-girlfriend. That was our song.

When a friend of mine squeezed him to set off the box — which I was convinced she'd do from time to time just to see my reaction — he didn't burst into slightly muffled song. I had to check for myself, but no… the stifled little voice was all worn out.

Never mind that she and I broke up over a year ago. Never mind that I initiated it. And now… now we're at different schools, with different friends, and have become significantly different people. It was weird seeing her in the grocery store back home, though, a few weeks ago. I hated my heart for beating harder. I hated myself for caring.

Love is a funny, funny thing. She was my first intoxicating brush with something that resulted in some of the best and worst times of my life. I think that will always stay with me. For some reason this line from Chuck Klosterman, from "Killing Yourself to Live," always resonated in my mind:

"The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different from anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else."
In my mind, she was that person. Oh, Chuck, you're so fucking right.

Our relationship was far from perfect, and undeniably a little immature, but despite all its flaws that relationship is my realization of what love is. It was exactly what I needed then, an escape into something I didn’t really understand, but sort of liked. It taught me things I needed to learn, and not always “the easy way.”

I am over her. It’s been a year, and I’m a mature guy, and I can handle it. But every now and then a rogue thought slips into my head, maybe in passing, maybe in a dream. Maybe it’ll be some trip to jump off the docks at the lake, some hillside clearing where we watched the sun set, some formal dance where we had a little too much fun.

As great as those memories are, they’re still just memories. They’re in the past, and they’re not coming back. I’m OK with that.

And George will likely never sing again. I'm OK with that too.