Do you remember the way you used to look at me? It was the way a quiet observer discovers a painting for the first time. You used to look at me the way one looks at the hint of a smile on the lips of the Mona Lisa. The rough strokes of paint that make Starry Night. The way one stands in awe of the million little pieces that make up Seurat’s La Grande Jatte.
You used to look at me as though I was something to discover.
Lately I do not feel much like a painting at all. At least not one which evokes feelings of elegance and wonderment. The one that opens your eyes to everything you are and still have yet to see.
If anything I am Guerenica.
The Persistence of Memory.
Where I once dreamed of being your Art Nouveau, I am Dada. I am a jumbled mess. I am a feeling, a belief, hidden just below the surface. And you aren’t looking anymore.
Where once you saw me as a masterpiece, I am now a keepsake. I can see it in your eyes; your smile gives it all away. The kind of smile that spreads itself across your lips when you stumble upon an old photograph, slightly tattered at the edges. The one that evokes feelings of nostalgia, the one that seems so long ago, and yet, like just yesterday.
It doesn’t seem so long ago to me, the days when our love was new. I recall many late night drives, the warm summer air blowing in through the windows, filling us with hope and the feeling of infinite possibilities. The way you used to kiss my hand while driving. Early on, after a day spent by the river, you once said that I looked “Summer-time beautiful.”
I often wonder what happens to the heart. How it beats and breaks. How the most beautiful things in life are often the most devastating. How our lives flow in and out of one another like rivers, never knowing what lies just around the bend.
Sometimes I think that I don’t know what happiness truly is. That I have built a life for myself that looks idealistic on the outside, but lacks a pulse within. As an art historian, you come to develop a keen sense of aesthetics, knowing what looks right, understanding the way things are meant to go together. Perhaps without even realizing it, I have overlooked the most important aspect of my life, of art. That what matters is not the medium in which it is created, but the way it makes you feel.
It is late as I write this. I am unable to sleep. This night, like so many before it, is dreamy and warm. The breeze smells like sweet roses. The sky is devastatingly bright. What I would give to feel in love again. To feel my heart beat quickly at the anticipation of your embrace. To feel young and alive and full of promise. To not feel so completely and utterly alone.
“There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don’t know how.”
I want to find my way back. Back to the way things used to be. Back before life swooped in and fucked everything up. Before we stopped admiring each other. Before everything just stopped being.
Lately I have been worried. Not about any particular event or work or the usual types of mundane bothers, but rather something quite intangible: that I have lost my creative edge.
Looking over my writings from the past, my photographs, poems, the things that move me…I cannot help but feel so far removed from that life. College was such an amazing period in time, when I felt free to compose and learn and strive to live a life which always incorporated creativity. Unfortunately, no one tells you (or perhaps it’s that you cannot bear to really listen) that when you graduate, everything changes. Life, which once inspired you and moved you from within now physically moves you along like a conveyor belt. To work. To home. To sleep. The repetitiveness is suffocating. It is so easy to lose one’s self when you feel like a well programmed machine.
For months now I have attempted (and re-attempted) to start writing a novel. The feeling is there, the words are there, and yet when I sit down and lay my hands over the keys my mind goes quiet. I remember once feeling words flowing from my fingers like water. Writing has always been a release for me, a coping mechanism that no one could touch. I am trusting that with time it will return, and the words will reveal themselves like an old friend. I need them now more than ever.
So, I suppose is my attempt to get back into the swing of things. Climb back into the saddle, as it were. Whatever cliche way you want to say it…I just need to start writing again. But first, tea.