Is it love?

by Francis Croydon

 

..only on my own terms.

If you’ve decided to read on, you’re going to get a confronting; albeit realistic insight to my experiences in the quest for love.

Some of us refuse to admit we want or need love when we don’t have it. For inexplicable reasons there are some who as myself, find themselves on their own in the later years of life, experiencing a multitude of nightmarish problems finding a mate.  We’re regularly found creeping around seedy bars and nightclubs seeking out the kindness of strangers.

In fact, truth be it known, our sex lives are entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers or over-intoxicated associates.  It’s true; we just normally don’t go round admitting it.

For a while there, I was oblivious to the fact that my advanced age is becoming a hideous physical and mental hindrance to the success of the mission I’ve set myself.   To disguise the disappointment and hurt at being left behind in the love stakes, you unwittingly develop a nasty and cruel level of toughness and sarcasm, while pretending all is fine and perfectly normal being solo in the twilight of our lives.  Well that’s a bit of a fib – it hurts, it’s nasty and at times downright ugly.. and right now I need a nip of gin.

I’m on my own and have been for some time and I don’t know what the hell to think, believe, or what I want. The cuts of past experiences and experiments run deep, and in my case still bleed regularly.

How often have we secretly stolen a glance at those loving couples, who openly flaunt their undying affection for each other in public? It’s for those slightest of moments we long for the same. We start remembering long forgotten secret loves buried deep in the past – then smack, reality jolts us back to sanity.  I then revert back to squirming and cringing in fear at the thought of such closeness and connection with another human. It’s this searing panic that shakes me back to reality, wondering what the hell just happened and where did I just take a fucken trip to.

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I feel terror at the thought that amongst the unwashed mass, the mob, there is one I might want to share the bathroom with in the morning, let alone a bed, or the rest of my life – its just incomprehensible.  If you think like me, then you’ve likely built a massive wall of emotional concrete to encompass feelings we don’t want resurfacing. Perhaps we just need to succumb to, and accept the inevitable loneliness that the self-created future will bring. Where’s that second gin bottle?

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There is a reason for my pondering..

Love is not a topic I normally touch on, not even with my closest circle.

However, recently I had cause to sit and think about the concept of love and what my understanding of love was or is. What I had perceived to be a comfortable and harmonic pairing actually went pear shape.   Actually pear shape is an understatement, it was more like shit hit the love fan out of shape.

I had unexpectedly become the recipient of the ‘do you love me?’ question.

I vividly remember the set of disturbing and unsettling large oval green eyes, framed by perfectly shaped eyebrows, staring me down as I laid there in my nakedness.  There was no time to prepare a response. I was caught off guard. I hesitated.

As I stared at the sleep in the corner of those green eyes and took in the whiff of that unwelcomed morning breath, I knew it was over. With that one brief of hesitation I had blown it, and no matter what poured out of my mouth, there was no going back.

As I accepted the inevitable, my focus turned sharply to concealing all facial expression that would show the spine chilling scream that at that very moment was ripping my mind apart.

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I never did get to answer or defend myself. My moment of hesitation told that green eyed man everything he needed to know. As he left the bed and made his way out of the bedroom, l lay there fighting off urges to scream and beg him to come back.   Slumped back against the pillars I stared intently at a portrait of Blondie on the wall opposite, and accepted the end to a connection that was to me a very comfortable arrangement.  I rolled over to search the floor for my ciggies, before realising I don’t have any because I had given up.

Did I love you?  Maybe, I don’t know, I just needed more time, lots of it.

Wasn’t me just being there enough for him to know how I felt?

Some of us are unable to express their feelings. I did have the need to be part of him, to give him what he wanted. But I was conflicted. I was constantly fighting the urge to run, run away as fast as I could. I was scared of failing, failing at love, so I procrastinated. For this old veteran of broken hearts tried avoiding the ultimate failure, and consequently may have received the fatal shot.

My rationalisation of all this, and of love, is that it’s better to hesitate and walk away with a wounded heart, than leaving a future one dead on the bedroom floor.

So up goes the wall and hard face again.  “See ya” I yelled as I heard the front door slam shut.  Shit, whose fucking idea was it to give up the ciggies.

Why the need for reassurance that an undying love confessed at some unremembered point of passion is the be all and end all? You see, once the words I love you have been said, they can never be taken back, so you better mean it.

In saying all this, there is every chance that I actually take these 3 words more seriously or literally than most. For once those 3 words are uttered there’s no end. It’s constantly expected and required at the most mundane of times – ‘I need you to say it’, ‘I need to hear it so I know you’re serious about me’, ‘it means nothing if you don’t say it’,  ‘don’t you love me?’

Whether love exists or not, I’m with the opinion you don’t have to say it.   Surely expression of love through touch, care, and tenderness is enough.

In fact, I don’t see the need to tag or define a relationship at all. What happened to ‘actions speak louder than words’ along with mutual respect? The ability to just enjoy each other, without having to confess undying love eludes us – ok, it eludes me!

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My inability to answer these questions and conquer the fears I have of the L word, and there are many, will quite possibly see me live my life on my own.  Is that a bad thing?   One thing for sure, it’s a hell of a lot healthier than someone who loses their love, and then slowly loses their minds – thus inflicting their grief and heartbreak onto others.

Some hide their fears behind false claims that careers comes first, with no time for matters of the heart, which usually works; tried that but it didn’t last long as I soon realised I didn’t have a career.  I think folks like me just have to accept that for whatever reason love has turned its back on us and there’s nothing we can do about it.  We’ve had our chances and blown them.

So as I sit mulling over a coffee, weekend papers, and ‘Chris Isaacs’ howling through the stereo, my attention is drawn to two beautiful young people strolling towards my outdoor table, hand in hand, obviously not ashamed to publicly show their love for each other. I gaze longingly at this wonderful ray of happiness on a dull drizzly Melbourne day.

My daydream is short lived as I recall in total horror, my opal green eyed boy lovingly and happily strolling on by, and me having nowhere to hide.

Damn it. One quick glance, and it’s all too clear about who is sorry now. .

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My conclusion is this. It is love, if you feel it. If you’re brave enough to say it, do.

People have different ways of expressing it, and no two relationships are the same.

I’m sure most will argue that if you truly love the one you’re with, and you know that it will mean a great deal to them to tell them – toughen up, and give em’ something..

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If you’re like me, then someone who truly loves you will know you well enough to know that you generally find it difficult to express yourself with these matters.

Therefore they don’t, or shouldn’t, need to hear it to feel it.

‘Because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have’.

 

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13 November 2014 Facetious Book, Modus Vivendi

Francis Croydon

Author: Francis Croydon

I thought 50 would find me sorted, grown up and living a wonderful life surrounded by wonderful people and fabulous things. Reality is I’m still working 9 to 5 without the glamour of Dolly, single, gay, managing a split personality, and dealing with a rapidly decaying body of flesh… Sounds gloomy doesn’t it? Surprisingly I’m quite content with my lot. I think it might have had something to do with a recent move to a town that’s right for me and an ability to look at oneself naked in a full length mirror an nod with a grin and go yeah I’d still do that. In all seriousness though, life isn’t half bad compared to some of the poor bastards living on this planet, so I'll do my best not to come across completely negative and to at least once a year contribute something uplifting and pleasant, that’s assuming this experiment last that long. So for now I will leave you with this wonderful piece of advice passed to me by long departed Grandmother. “One can never be too thin or have enough hats, gloves or shoes regardless of age, intelligence or ability to feed oneself”