I like writing in italics.

Once every two or three months, she makes me feel weak in the knees. Catches me off guard, when I’m not ready, when I’m not looking, when I can’t see her walking toward me. Then she hugs me, long enough for me to know she’ll always be there, but never long enough to feel the diseased coldness I feel inside every time she has to walk away. Because soon enough, there’s someone at the door, someone on the phone, someone… and she lets go. Like the elusive current of air whipping astride a tornado, quickly shifting and blowing upwards and away, and my wings are caught on nothing but still air falling downward. Sometimes I want to tell her how I feel, that I wished she didn’t walk away, but I don’t. What if she chooses not to return? A premonition of a breathless, airless world, where my pale wings are useless.

And that is where my strength lies. In loss, parting, departure, whatever it is called. All things new that I cared for – care for – come from the breaking of a bond, from tottering on the brink of that cliff and laughing to myself while the sea roars beneath my feet. All that I am, or have ever become, over and over, starting anew each time is founded on studying my roots, on what purchase each moment holds for me, and holding on to the splinters of what each bereaving has left behind. Constancy is both incentive and threat, fortune and misfortune, and to realize I might be in a moment of one makes me feel like I’m standing on a floor of glass. It is a stupendously disruptive moment of clarity and a warning that I have reached my end, that I have solved what I set out to solve. I must do something!, I think to myself, and what do I do?

I break away. I need the unknown because the familiar and its caprice scare me – there is too much to fear in the light and its deceptions even as shadows and darkness hold promise, an eternal promise. They frame the maw through which I desire to walk, to explore. I walk away from what I have earned for myself and burn a hole through the pages of my history, destroy the continuity that has trailed me all these years and replace it with cold, calming contiguity, like a tall wall erected in the middle of a bristling city, an inexplicable period for a well-deserved comma, like extinguishing the sun while I prepare to light a candle. And in the darkness, I am reborn. Here, I am reminded of the sea, and it calls me home. Here, cradled in the assurance of uncertainty and free from the binding wills of freedom and its threats to unleash my disease upon myself, I find control in knowing my opponent is just as crippled as I am, just as marooned. That humanity… That humanity.

She lacks that humanity – rather, I haven’t found it yet. I look, I always keep looking, and I can’t find it. I have no idea what it looks or feels like! And wielding that paucity, she lays me to waste, like a goddess mending me and mocking me at the same time. She defeats every deliberated parry with whispered breaths, carefully chosen gusts of air on which wings won’t beat but simply fray. She is a world unto herself, a continuum of surging currents that flays through my hauberks with every innocuous breath… and then walks away. She is the indecipherable familiarity that stalks me, the perpetual clarity that blinds me. Did I say she makes me go weak in the knees? I think I meant she makes me go weak all over.