Reciprocity

by Christos Polydorou

wpid-2015-05-30-17.03.09.jpgOften when I am exiting a train station and the cold night air hits my body, I do wish there was someone to hold me in these situations, by the arm, so that we can comfort each other whilst we walk home together. However, for reasons which on the one hand I feel I control (not really) while on the other hand I have no idea what they are (some clue), I am single and alone now as I have been my entire life. All my life, when I am not reading a book or looking at a painting or a beautiful building, I see couples, of all ages, and they seem so natural and unforced with each other. To be honest as I grow older I feel less grim and bitter and more resigned to the fact that they did something that I cannot do in order to get into someone else’s arms. If you ask me, Hey, have you fallen in love? I will reply, yes, I fall in love everyday. There are songs, and singer songwriters, and flowers in Spring, and the tree blossoms of April, and summer is coming soon and London is so perfect in the summer. I would so love someone to share all this with, my concerns, my anxieties, my fears, and my ability to cook a great meal, and to provide challenging conversation, and to feel joy and transmit joy when I am talking to someone. I used to feel so bad for myself, such pity, that I was all alone, through every holiday, every celebration, just me wondering, What am I doing wrong? Am I doing anything wrong? I want to be so much more, a husband, a father, I would like even to get a dog, or a cat, and give them so much love. Honestly, if I didn’t have writing, I would not know what to do with myself. What would I do? Binge-watch TV shows? Don’t you do that when you begin dating someone?
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When you fall in love with someone, you hope the feelings to be reciprocal, to be returned. You hope that what you feel, nervous, excited, despair, is what the other person is feeling too. I have looked across dinner tables and bars and rooms filled with pictures, and there were times when I saw in someone else’s eyes the love I was looking for. But such fugacity? They always escape me. You are too effusive, they say. Or, you are too reserved. If I can’t blame myself, can I blame the times, with a line like: but it is a tough time, for love. There are so many of us, and to give yourself to someone means to sacrifice being with someone else. I just want someone to see me as I am, now, which is a person ready to move on, to move on up, and move away from a solitary, haunted life of spontaneous showers and long nature walks where I only feel the birds understand me. You are lonely, you might say, and you will be right. But I am not a loner.
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Tonight, I will go to my bed alone, and I will sigh as I watch an episode of two of a situation comedy to alleviate my inadequacies and put me to sleep. I will feel the cold on my skin as you do when you sleep alone, rather than having someone sleeping against you, embracing you, making your body burn. I miss burning. If I am going to complain, which I will, I would rather complain about the heat than the cold. But at the same time, I can’t be in a state of self-pity all the time. It is possible to experience joy, alone. But I do so in an open-hearted, open-handed way, to give room to someone else to come in, and say to me, Let’s go out and eat tonight, I don’t want you to cook. The way that thoughtfulness, that care, that comfort, just lifts you up out of your seat and carries you gently into the skies.
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