On the mountain top, I was naked, listening to rattlesnakes. California nudist resort, years ago. Man, the stars. As far as I looked, radiant star patterns burned into the black sky.
Next to me, a brown-eyed woman smiled, smelling like musk, like trees, like her. She was wickedly funny, sharply smart, artistic, too free-spirited and simply gorgeous. With her, I felt brave and energized, so fiercely alive. I loved her mind, her heart, her skin. I loved her deeply, madly, as much as my soul could harness and give at the time. She saw my raw spirit. She made me a lion.
In my life, few people have struck me this way, and two stand out. They touched me with a pure essence — a naked light — capturing my heart, making a true mark, a fissure. One, this woman. Another, a man I barely knew.
She and I huddled together, and the scene was breathtaking. All around, the earth bled color — a still-wet painting dripping out life — but I soon cried deep, guttural cries, torn up by addiction and depression and completely oblivious to the source. The land, this woman’s hand and the warm, clear night air couldn’t have been more exquisite, but I was one miserable bear.
The weather was perfect, but how I missed the rain. And how she missed many men. Like a magnet, she attracted others. Soon after, jealous and sick with withdrawal, I went to move my car. Without a goodbye, I re-parked the car in Seattle.
She’s the only woman I’ve ever been with in this way. Call me “bi” or whatever, but I adored her, painfully so, and I’d do it all again. Over the years, we tried reconnecting, but it never worked out. I cut off contact completely, and the feelings faded into a warm, vivid memory. I’m at peace with that.
Some time later, back East, I hit a dive bar, meeting a man who touched me in a similar way. His hair was too long. His eyes, too dark. We sat outside, staring at the glowing streets, feeling the soft, surprise January rain, talking of the West. When I looked into his eyes, I saw that pulsing white light creep out. Something. Between us. Perhaps I could drink it.
Only in town for one night, he followed me home.
It was smooth, natural. In the basement, we talked of family, our full names and our allergies. He studied my child-like drawings, and we threw our hopes into the air, making kid wishes for our lofty dreams to come alive. He pushed me, and I pushed him back. In my world, others laughed at my poetic dreams, but he told me to go for it.
We spent the night buried under maroon sheets, and for much of the dark hours, he was on top of me, hovering there. At the time, I often felt reckless and distant, but not with him. I wanted him close. Instead of a lone wolf, he made me a cheetah. The way he kissed me. I loved his face.
Morning. In the driveway, I watched him leave. Even after he disappeared, I watched. Later, in my journal, I wrote, “Strange, I think I love him.” Then I shrugged, letting it go.
Honestly, I tend to be a loner. Maybe I’m too much of a dreamer, but I crave the startling connection, the unshakable light that burned within her eyes, his eyes, between their bodies and mine. Help me do the dishes, but later look at me until I feel my cavernous heart hurt. Let us crack up, ride a roller coaster and then listen to raw, throaty songs until the mysterious connection comes back. Take out the garbage, and then take me to a silent animal land, touching the wild inside.
At the core, I long for both sides — the practical and the soulful connection. No, I don’t expect this all of the time. I am realistic as well. The mountain woman, sure, she saw other people, and I was a mess, but how she often brought out the joy in me. The driveway man, sure, it was a one night stand. I guess I could see it like that. But he shook me up, pushing me to write, and I’m still at it. And in the future, whether it’s him, or whether I find someone else with a similar lust for life, I keep hoping. And it’s true, I loved him. I still do.
Recently, at a party, I overheard one woman reveal that she didn’t believe in true love or soul mates. Her idea of a partner was practical, a grocery list. But I have known something more — a shared pulse, so to speak, and it was and still is enough to make me long for it again — the depth, the quiet, and the noise. I still believe in something that is both long-lasting and spiritually unique.
I think I’ll always believe in poetic love, but let us not remain trapped in poems. Instead, let true love become real and remain lasting. Bring it on. And if not, in the next life make me a bird.
CONTACT C.A. MACCONNELL: [email protected]