Organizing Fantasy Love Plants
A friend asked to use my computer for a few minutes last weekend. A “Woah, um, geez,” reaction to the amount of scattered files on my desktop indicated that it was time to clean up and organize the files on my computer, aka, all of the memories and thoughts I have from the last few years. And that, my friends, is no easy task.
It’s funny how screenshots, downloaded photos from emails, and just random things were saved and then forgotten. My entire wallpaper was full of files, cluttering over my beautiful wallpaper of Calvin and Hobbes sledding through another snowman-making winter. I started to filter through files. Everything from memes to ex’s photos popped up onto my screen. It took much longer to delete the memes.
After my desktop contained only two folders, I felt like I should use the momentum I had created and start organizing (and by organizing, I mean deleting) my emails which was well over a thousand messages just layered on top of one another. Yep. I know. I strive to be a minimalist when it comes to the items in my room, but emails…That’s another story.
The files of old lovers and hikes in far away places hadn’t brought any kind of negative emotion. The trash bin filled up on my lap top, and my heart didn’t sting or wince like I thought it might. Feeling brave from, apparently, having a heart of steel, I decided to start from the oldest emails first.
I was surprised by the number of strangers on the subway who I had exchanged emails with while I lived in New York. God knows I wasn’t there long, but my yearning to connect with others seemed to show. They were all emails that started off all shy like, and then by the 4th exchange, we were talking about our fathers and mothers and failures and escapes. There was the man I met at Dunwell Doughnuts who asked me what book I was reading. That led to one date. And that one date led to nowhere. There was a busker named Robert who always took the F to the L train with me at 2am in the morning after I was done working in the Lower East Side. I considered him a friend since most nights he sang me to sleep on the L. And then there was a guitarist who offered to give me guitar lessons, but that quickly turned into drinks at a Cuban bar in Soho. He inspired me to write, but not really to love.
I found a few email from a friend. Mani Trump. He saved my ass in New York with me basically showing up on his doorstep with a box full of clothes and books. He let me sleep on his couch and, when I let him, he showed me around the city. I found an email from a friend of his who worked in film. He had reached out because I had mentioned that I liked him. . . He had even given me one of my favorite books on film…Save The Cat, long before I even got to New York. He had shipped them! He has the kindest heart, and through reading a few of our emails, his generous, good-willed heart bled through. For whatever reason, I hadn’t realized I wasn’t alone in New York. Maybe it’s because I wanted to suffer through heartbreak alone, wallow in my sorrows. I don’t really know. I didn’t realize it until today, but my biggest regret while living in New York City is not taking stronger hold of the friendship he offered me. Mani, you are always my friend. And I hope I can reach out and be there for you one day in the way you were of me.
I also found a handful of emails from an ex boyfriend that, at the time, was far far away. My heart began to pity Past Jade. Without reading any words, I stared distantly at our email exchanges. In front of me were blocks and blocks of paragraphs coming from me. How are you? What’s it like? Did you get my letter? It’s cold here. My roommates are nice. I found a job! His responses didn’t even reach the second line: Sounds good. Going to class. Love.
And June 1st, 2017 Jade knew exactly how I read those responses at the time. I saw the word “Love.” And I read it over and over and over. And like a seed, I planted the word into my pulsing chest. A Fantasy Love plant grew from my chest, up my throat and into my brain where the leaves pocketed my fondest memories of him. The giggles, the kisses, the whispering. And not long after, the flowers of this deceiving tree bloomed, showing how the now was bringing us closer to our future. I could see it so clearly. The future. We’d move in together, buy furniture, have dogs, have babies, comfort each other when the money got tight, and of course, solve all of our problems with love. Because… Love always wins.
That tree didn’t make it through its first goddamn winter. The fruit from the flowers rotted and after the tree froze to death, I eventually got myself to pull the roots from my heart and leave them behind. The holes the roots left eventually healed, but of course, left scars. Ugly, ugly, tough fucking scars. And it also left an awareness I didn’t have before, an awareness of pain. I realized that pain was like the ground beneath us. We walk on it, live above it, but it was always there. We are free and strong and daring enough to jump and skip and love upon it, but it would always be there in case we fell. And even Love tripped and lost balance.
Still, it’s strange to think back to Past Jade reading those emails and not being able to take a hint. It’s weird to replay past relationships without having that fantasy love plant digging its roots into my heart. I still remember the giggles, the kisses, the whispering. But now I also remember the heavy tired sighs, the lies and broken promises, and the way my thoughts and opinions were dismissed with descriptions that a lot of people use to describe my blog: Not useful, but kind of cute in a “oh honey. . . ” kind of a way. What’s that saying? Love is blind?
June 1st, 2017 Jade is in a relationship. It’s been eight months. Last night my boyfriend drove to the park after work and watched me coach my last tennis lesson, we drove to Taco Taco only to walk out empty handed because they were out of their agua de sandia. We ate Panda Express while watching Boss Baby, which we had to pause because it was 9:30 and we were both exhausted. It ended with him kissing me goodnight before he walked home.
Thinking about last night. It sounds like a regular night, but I still have a deep fondness for it. I think about when my students were taking their water break, and I looked over to see Dave wave at me with a large wild hand. It was almost as if he was a proud parent, witnessing his child’s first soccer game with the other rugrats. I felt a rush of butterflys just from his smile and support. His heart broke when Taco Taco didn’t have the watermelon juice that I was craving, and when we got to Panda Express he reached for their apple and orange juice hoping they might be an appropriate replacement. Panda Express and a movie on my lap top can be dissected into little pieces by my fairytale love brain. I remember his hand on my neck, and his fingers playing with my hair. I remember kissing his neck and the way he smelled when my lips were on him. And I remember the multiple times we cracked up at the screen and then looked at each other in a fun confusion because we couldn’t figure out what this Boss Baby was all about.
I pause now, relishing the memories of last night. I touch my chest, poking my skin trying to get through my muscles to my heart to see if I can feel any signs of a tree growing out of my heart. Are all fantasy love trees the same? Are fantasy love trees invisible and undetectable when they are growing in your heart? Is love always blind? And if there is a tree growing inside of me, that means it has already survived one winter. How many more winters will it persevere through? Spring is over. Were there flowers? Did they bloom bullshit too?
I am June 1st, 2017 Jade. I’m not sure if trees still grow out of my heart with leaves and flowers that make me turn reality into what I want it to be, that turns people into who I want them to be. I’m not sure if the only difference between June 1st, 2017 Jade and Past Jade is that now I know i’m walking over pain. I don’t feel it now, but I know it’s there somewhere under my feet. I can walk, I can skip, I can laugh, and I can love, but if I fall. . . I know it’s there waiting for me.
Is it enough to believe, to think, to do, to say, to feel that I’m not blind anymore?
Or is it just naive?
P.S. I still have 1207 emails to delete