I have been thinking, maybe, just maybe, some people are not really meant to be happy? But what does it even mean, after all? How do we know we reached happiness? Is there a crossroad that reads “Turn right for half of happiness”? It is such an abstract term, some perceive it in colors, others want to feel its touch on their skin; all of us are somehow searching, reaching out our hands, spreading our fingers with the intention of grasping its fathomless tail. Some people talk about happiness saying they found it, others turn their heads in disbelief. Some of them look down, analyze the curves of their ankles, while some try to explain how it feels like.
Happiness is abstract, but most of the time, people tend to refer to it in connection with love. We always choose love, in a way, don’t we? Whether we admit it or not, whether we are aware of our reasons or choose not to overthink, somehow, our actions, our intentions, they all have this way of somehow caressing the shores of love, be it for a split second or for a whole season.
Some people are lucky enough to say that they have found the love they have been searching for in the form of a human, whom they call their own and possess in many ways. I have always wondered, can you call someone your own? Can you claim their atoms and replace them with your own? Can you boil their blood and pour it where your capillary ends? Even if you are in love with someone and feel the need to attach yourself to them, is it right?
You are selfish, oh, how much you would love to penetrate their veins with a pair of scissors, to combine your spines and intertwine your lungs, how much you would love to be able to navigate the sea of brains without a compass to show you the way. But can you, really? Should you? Someone told me, no matter how close we are to someone, we could never be the same person. We could never be one. But that’s… wrong. That’s half a truth. Love is not about claiming your rights over someone, but about claiming that person is, indeed, yours, in a twisted way; they are an extension to your little finger, they are the continuation of your unspoken thoughts, they are the next step your heart takes during the marathon.
My grandma used to tell me this: “My dear, don’t make homes out of people, because people are like waves; at some point, they may drown you, or even worse, they may leave you on deserted land. Don’t make homes out of people, because you’ll end up homeless.” But how can I not, how can I not?… How can I not want to come home to you, to rest my bones under your touch, to close my eyes under your breath? Teach me, teach me how, teach me how to build a home above the sea level, so that both of us will be safe.
Some people, however, are not so lucky, and they do not find love. Maybe they have unrealistic expectations, maybe they cannot get attached to someone, maybe they did once, and it did not work out, maybe they do not believe in second attachments. For so long, I tried to push this thought to the back of my head. I did not want to deal with the possibility. The possibility of… what? Of not finding love? Of not being loved back? Now, I don’t push away the thought, I welcome it. It only gets a little daunting when it’s 3 a.m., and I find myself sobbing with a cup of red wine, trying to remember the last time I kissed someone and felt something.
Somehow, I am beginning to embrace the possibility. I do not want to refrain myself by my desire to be with someone. “I want to be loved” seems like a convincing excuse, but one is loved in so many ways, we just want a specific type of love. You want to sip from the big cup, like others do. And that’s OK, as well — no one can judge you for wanting that. But when you walk down the street and your eye catches a flicker of love, when you stop, turn your head and take in the view, take in the feelings, the promises, and you ask yourself: Why not me?… as if there were something wrong with you, as if being “alone” were something to be ashamed of — that is not OK.
Know that there is no weakness in being alone. You have always had a home, and that is yourself. You can race after love, if that is your decision. It may or may not happen, but you choose to act on it. You pack your bag and squeeze the map between two sweaters. You can focus on other things, too, and that is your decision. And it’s valid. Everything you feel is valid. You are valid. You can take up painting, you can enter a poetry class about Neruda, you can take ballet classes. You can go ice-skating with your neighbor. You can visit an old relative. You can rent a moto and run toward the sea to swim in mid-September. You can finish your education. You can stay in your hometown, which is imprinted into your skin like black-less ink. You can pack two suitcases and move across the continent for four months to try a job, to take photographs of the mountains, to volunteer. You can learn Japanese. You can be your own and still intertwine your fingers at your back. You can be with someone and hold their arm at night, when you cannot sleep, and your tired mind makes up names of constellations.
But don’t force love. Don’t chase it, even if you are breathless and your knees are numb. Don’t think it is the only thing that makes you valuable. Do not settle for half a love, for a quarter, for a slice. Do not be afraid to leave when it’s time, or to enter when it feels right. Do not get used to the feeling of a warm bed. Do not stay, even when the clock is going backward, ticking away the drops of sorrow, one by one, counting them, throwing them into the abyss. Do not hold a hand you no longer caress with your thumb. Do not lose sleep wondering whether to give them another chance. Love is what makes us human. Love overflows and holds us, twists us, but it cannot be fooled or sliced in half. It cannot be messed around with. It cannot be bargained for nor borrowed or lent.
People are like waves. They are always on the move, they are so full of life, and yet they are ready to die out. They erupt and drown the land. They retreat in fear, leaving everything behind. Their existence is cyclical. Some of them are braver and lead the others. Sometimes, they whisper, and sometimes they make you go deaf. Waves, one after another, they fascinate, they march and conquer everything. Waves, waves, the circus of madness is here with a complete representation.
You take out the ticket from your pocket and hand it in. You enter the room. There are no seats, everyone else is already there, standing. You push people and get to the front. You put down your backpack and exhale deeply. The first wave kissed your left brow and arched your spine. You cannot move, you cannot speak. It leaned again, this time touching your iris. Now your eyes are emerald blue, and you are suddenly not afraid of the sea. You let it cover your body, you surrender to its strength, to its delicacy. You are now a wave yourself, the daughter of the first-born midnight wave from one century ago.
You look down and see your feet of salt moving, swimming, dancing like acrobats. You close your eyes, and you suddenly know. You’ve know all along, but your eyes could not picture it. Your hands could not feel it, so you must’ve assumed it’s all lies. But now you know. Happiness exists. And it comes in waves. One, then another one — the low tide comes uninvited and leaves later than it should. You sit on the shore and mumble the words you’ve known since you were barely walking. The waves shout them back, and you are happy. You have never been happier than you are now, and you will never be as happy as you are now.
So I waited for you, we met at two and thirty,
Listened to Kreutzer’s Sonata in andante only
You pointed at something behind me, shouting “Yellow”
I turned around and saw a stroke of brush — it was following us
Vincent was painting over our faded colors.
“I don’t like yellow,” I whispered, hiding at your chest.
You didn’t say anything, instead you held me tight
He painted us both as two circles drifting toward one another
Into that sea of dark blue; my eyes were hurt
I suddenly loved your bright yellow; you smiled back, and I was saved.