Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious. ~Rumi
Hand me the matches. The world is soaked in gasoline. It would take only a word to set everything ablaze, to burn down the old and bring in the new. Some things can only grow out of the ashes of what no longer serves. Sometimes, you have to destroy the structure to build a new foundation. There are things worth risking your life for, things worth risking your reputation for. Damn appearances, damn those small minds and tightly wound hearts, too narrow to show compassion or real love. Love is worth the sacrifice of what was, for the sake of what is. Make no mistake: it is not always a pretty sight. It may leave a mess in its wake. It may be chaos and disorder, the world may tilt to the side, things may shatter as they slip off the shelf. But the heart is a thing not to be kept in a box. It is not an object for display. It is not a thing to write stories about – it is the story. Your story. My story. Our story. These are not small things.
To be notorious, I would have to tell the truth. Except, I’ve been telling it for years. The only difference is – who’s listening? And the question is: if given the choice between smashing the illusion of perfection and having you, what would I choose? The answer is as solid as the earth, as essential as air, as passionate as fire, and as cleansing as water. I have already chosen notoriety when I answered the call of my heart. So, why are you still waiting?
I ask the easy questions: how are you? How has your day been? I talk about the storm, the lightning, prattling on about work. As if that’s really what I’m thinking about. As if I’m not wondering about your hands, your mouth. As if I’m not trying to say I miss you in a thousand different ways, but the words vanish when I open my mouth. I’ve gone soft. That is to say, afraid. That is to say, silent.
I don’t want to be the one who says it again, first. The silence after leaves too many scars. And I’ve gotten really bad at waiting, but I don’t say that either. Instead, I ask about work, if you’re ready for what’s ahead. I know the question has more than one meaning. Neither of us acknowledges the wake of it. You give me the easy answer, but I hear the way your voice dips, that half growl. I picture too many things and begin to stammer.
I wonder what you’re thinking – how loaded is that shotgun in your heart? Do you hear the bullet in my teeth? Every now and then, it whispers: you’re going to have to swallow eventually.