I am an adulterer. A cheat. A philanderer. I have abandoned my first true love for the sweet whispers of the new.
I was Ocean’s boy. The cold, gray tides of the Atlantic were as known to me as the flaws of my face and my character. Our union was an arranged marriage, the convenience of birth place, of geography. The years of my youth swooned with growing commitment and knowledge as our relationship flowered. Ocean and I consummated our intimacy in the glassy calm of August mornings, in the howling winds of gray Novembers, in the fecund smells of life and death that cling to her beautiful grey cloaks.
But I am divorced from Ocean now. I scripted my Dear John letter the summer of 2001 when I folded into an inherited Oldsmobile 88 and drove west. Like an incoming tide that never stops, I rolled up over the eastern seaboard to the Appalachians, crashing onto the Plains and eroding a route through the Rockies.
Years have passed, and I am still here floating in the West, treading the threads of water that cleft this mountain land. I live near the Continental Divide, that great upthrust of rock and wood and grass and ice that pushes into the sky and splits the rains that fall on America. I miss Ocean, to be sure; I still taste her deep in the base of my being. I was loyal too, preferring the simple rewards of celibacy and chastity to the wildness of a new love. But slowly, incrementally, Ocean’s wet, luscious, spell was broken and the heaving swells I longed to ride again are now bittersweet memories of another life. I have started a new affair.
As with all affairs, I am constantly comparing and assessing my new love against my old. Both are prone to violent, swinging tantrums. Both seduce through tranquility and the promise of new experiences. Both reflect their lover’s desires, like liquid mirrors into which this unsuspecting Narcissus has plunged. Yes, my new love, like my old, is beginning to define me, to subsume me, to become me.
I am busy learning her language – this new love of mine’s. Whispers and murmurs mostly. She wants me, I know this, but she rebukes too. She invites and then ignores like a grade school crush testing the power of attraction. I am learning that I need her, and I hope she needs me too, even as I know she does not. A schoolboy, caught and corrupted by the physiological forces that rise and fall within him, I hang on her every word, desperately wanting them for my own. I want to be with her for days, for weeks, for months; I do not want to leave.