"...and that's when you know."
I'm like a big, happy kid at the moment, which is nice as it's been far too long since I felt like that about anything.
What I thought would happen was that eventually, after some time together, the instant insatiable appeal would wear off. Not that I'd feel any less for Emily, rather that it would become familiar, comfortable, quiet - as opposed to sedated - and we'd just get on with our lives together. What's actually occurred has been the exact opposite. All of a sudden I am looking at my watch every five minutes, wishing clocks swifter, noon midnight. Saying ridiculous things over email. Finding that every song reminds me of her. (Well, almost. Not the ones by Radiohead.) Losing my appetite.
To be honest with you I thought I was past all this; what happened last year taught me not to get overexcited about things, and as far as this has been concerned I have managed not to do that until the last few weeks. It's therefore a little unsettling to find myself bouncing in my seat in anticipation at seeing her again. It's not a desperate, rallying cry to get out of the mundanity of my office, or even the overworkings of an anxious libido. It's the oh-so-familiar turn-in-the-stomach that you get, the sweats and fevers and desire to hold that person and hold them and tell them that you'll never leave them.
In talking about this we've both realised that it took me a while to get to the same level as her. And that I loved her for months but was afraid of getting my feet wet until some time in July, when I managed this (both figuratively and literally) on a starlit beach in Blackpool. This sense of trust, the new-found desire to trust someone, intensified a hundred fold that weekend - all of a sudden I was there. I didn't tell her for weeks; not until one night some time later. And then things got easier. It was a matter of catching up - there's no reason why we took a different approach but it just happened.
I've come to the conclusion over the last couple of years that the term 'soul mate' is largely theoretical. I don't believe in them, except in wild, exaggerated romantic-comedy terms: I think it's one of those terms we'll latch onto and grossly overuse, like the word 'love'. I also think it's ironic that many of the people who use the term probably don't believe in the immortality of the soul anyway, rendering it something of an obsolete concept. I derive this cynicism from experience: the people whom I considered soul mates, and with whom I felt I shared a genuine connection, are the ones who never call me these days.
Let's look at the exceptions. Beth, for example, who is five-and-a-half years younger and a generation behind: she likes different music, watches different TV programmes and goes clubbing, for pity's sake, and yet she's become a sister to me. Or Jon, who is far more analytical and observant and logical than I will ever be, but with whom I share a mindset. Or Mike, who - well, we're incredibly different in terms of political ideology, religious beliefs, values and priorities, and yet it's testament to the depth of our friendship that we're still talking after so many heated rows.
None of these people are ones who I would have picked out in a crowd, but they were there. And it took over a year on Mono before Emily and I started to really talk properly. There was no crash of thunder, no eyes across a crowded room - although we did meet in a busy car park - and no sudden twist of fate. You compromise, you assert yourself and you take it as it comes. And all of a sudden things happen.
My point is that she and I are, ultimately, quite different in many ways - but it's not our similarities that keep us together. It's something much more straightforward and simultaneously complex. Did any of you ever read Insomnia, that substandard Stephen King novel of the early 1990s? (Starts well, tails off considerably, deteriorates into a grotesque shadow of its beginning.) The protagonists have the ability to read auras - the true self, the state of mind that shines above the head in varying degrees of colour and light depending on the mood and health of the person concerned. It's the nearest you get to a soul in any of King's novels. And this, I think, is what I fell in love with.
Maybe this is something that happens in online relationships. There's no facetime and there are no physical signals. I developed a keen interest in her before I'd even seen what she looked like, and even after the photo arrived in my inbox this paled next to the conversations we had back at the very end of April, when we started to talk properly, before deciding that we didn't want to stop. You are more yourself in something like this, you are flesh destroyed and spirit exposed. You are no longer a person in the physical sense; you float.
Perhaps this is our future. Evolution leads to pure energy. Perhaps we will be going into labour online, producing children who will live out their lives in a virtual world of cables and portals and connections. They will have no physical presence and you will only be aware of them through signs - emoticons, images, text. Rather than being less than human, they will be clearer and clearer, because they will be free of a society that equates beauty and material success with worthiness of self. No, don't scoff. Stop and think about it. Doesn't it make sense?
As for me....it's been wonderful reaching this point. I'd forgotten what it
was like, which is probably why I initially denied it was happening. But you
can't fight things like this. I don't think that it's about destiny; I think
that we were just two people who happened to meet, and when we did, Franklin
rediscovered electricity. Or as she said this afternoon, "I can't imagine
me without you anymore". I guess I'm the same.
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