December 30: The Fifth Day

V. Higher Love

”I was searching for something to love, in love with love itself, and I hated serenity and the path without pitfalls.”

I fell in love. What good did it do me? Being vulnerable meant having to defend and conquer. Once smitten, I would romance, cajole, and flummox. I’d catch a woman lying; having failed the test, she had no choice but to submit.

I learned the Four Noble Truths. What good did it do me? Yes, suffering arises from unmet desire, but I pursued my desire anyway, not like a pilgrim but a hunter; I wouldn’t lose.

You spoke to me. What good did it do me? She said, “You want someone to die for you. Someone already has.” Your words, her voice.

I pursued controversy. I walked out of lectures. Skirted rooms at parties. I talked enough to make people think I was smart. I wore people down, whether interlocutors or girls. I had boundless reserves of words.

I felt pulled away from academics toward politics, another economy with words as currency. I didn’t want footnotes, I wanted power and influence. I went to a national convention, a dream since that summer when I visited the Capitol.

I provoked conflict, then failed my French exam. I took a degree and left. I was married, but alone. I still thought I was proving everyone wrong.

I didn’t listen when I heard you, ignoring you like my well meaning teachers. Vindication and control became my motive; having love but not returning it was my goal. I would rely on my own strength.

You are not a lover, or a friend; you are something we cannot comprehend.*

“You will carry your little ones, carry them even to grey hairs, for when you are our strength, there is strength indeed.”

To December 31