Do you believe in love at first sight? I love songs from first listen. Chocolate at first taste, satin and silk at first touch so why would sight be any different? When I saw him I tasted honeysuckle and sweat. I saw the little hill I used to live on that seemed more like a mountain at the time. Dizzying nostalgia, I was back on my bike, the one with the white wheels. I was watching him ride up ahead of me, head to the sun and arms outstretched being the kind of free all good girls fall for. I wished again like I had years before, blowing on dandelions and sticky sweet kisses up to God; “please,” I pleaded, “let me be that brave.” Only I never was.
Years later, I would jump off a cliff into the sea. Form all wrong, legs aching from the hard slap against the tide, I didn’t care. He says to me, I can’t believe you would be so reckless, and I laughed living in full knowledge that I would, and will, do it again. I did it because it scared me. Chasing bravery and all but lacking gumption I settled for audacity and I jumped. “Could you imagine,” I thought as I stood on the edge of the cliff debating, “looking back and wishing you had?” The thought was unbearable, I had to jump just to get away from it. Staring back up at the rocky terrain, I saw all the nervousness I left behind. I ignored it in favor of the moonlight.
She was older, maybe fifty and she was easily over two hundred pounds but there she was: naked. Laughing and splashing, not bothering to cover herself I let myself begin a conversation with her determined not to be silenced by her boldness. An hour later she would leave and I would replay her words, “you should join us!” Excited and unapologetic, I admired it. So much so that when the opportunity presented itself moments later, I went for it. It was better than the cliff or letting go of the handlebars rolled into one. It was absolute freedom. As the water washed over me I tried to drink it into my skin, creating some type of sensory memory for what surrender felt like. I wish I could have bottled it up. Though, long as I live I will never forget that feeling.
And so it was all love at first sight. I’ve come to realize I am attracted to it in many faces, forms, and bodies but freedom in any light catches my eye. It’s ironic because I also decided immediately on him, and he more than anything else is controlled. Pragmatic. Practical. Sense and logic, sometimes he feels like water on my wings. But I love him just the same, just as he is. And perhaps he loves me with equal measure because of who I am: A little bit wild, a little bit reckless, unpredictable, and emotional. Or maybe we see in each other the pieces of ourselves that are underdeveloped. He makes me want to make a plan, and I throw his out the window.
But even he doesn’t give me butterflies like freedom. Oooh if I could find a love to love that I loved more than open air and sunshine, I’d never stop writing poetry. I would fill books, and libraries…stadiums and arenas with words about this epic romance that made the wind bow to the mountain. If I could fall asleep every night with, and wake up to the love greater than outstretched arms, I would never stop dancing. That love would be like the red shoes. “Time rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the Red Shoes go on.” It would be everlasting bleeding from this life into the next, we would be guilded butterflies.
Perhaps a love as such is deceptive. Poe said, “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” Which would make us all dreamers. Truly the music makers. The mothers and fathers of every thought flittering across our eyes. So why not love? Why not sight? If it is all a dream anyway, then why not make it the sweetest most decadent dream there is? And why not dare to stare it straight in the eyes and smile, knowing that in that moment is the flint ready to light your whole being on fire, in the best most beautiful way.