though i've occasionally been tempted to recount fewer than the truth in order to save offense against a sensitive audience, it's also true that, at any one time, i'm likely incapable of recalling the exact count. it's not that it wasn't all memorable, per se, it's just that i've usually found context to be the catalyst for my memory to work at its best, and there just isn't as much anymore. (lest anyone fear they, or anyone for that matter, might be among those "forgotten", rest assured, things haven't faded quite so far that i'm not going to be accurate within one or two, but since i'm not inclined to keep a written or even a mental list, there isn't going to be total recall either). the fascinating consequence of recalling "free-form", is experiencing how memories seem to automatically sort themselves into tiers of relevance, from profound, to meaningful, to "oh, i remember you..."
in these days of relative celibacy (relative is relative, ya know?) i'm given pause to think quite a bit about how i got here. there are a few who rise to top of mind via temporal proximity (an unfortunate situation related to infidelity) but the important ones always transcend watches or calendars. among them are first loves, first kisses and first lots-of-things, but the "first-ness" isn't their salient feature, either. (remarkable how often memory understands significance before it even starts to work). i'm recalling at this moment an experience with one of those would would arguably define the contest for "first love" who, coincidentally, enjoyed nowhere near the running for "first f***". so here in my memory of her, there's a vast confusion over when, exactly, carnal knowledge was (finally) achieved. (her slot amidst the mnemonic pigeonholes is clearly not the one between her legs...) but, time out of mind, as the song goes, the salience of her isn't finally a "when" or even a "how", but, rather, a "how often", as in, how often we were both rubbed raw from the frequency and still unable to get enough. funny thing is, in retrospect and with respect to all the others, in the end, "it" really wasn't all that remarkable. (one might even be tempted to say "good", but, as we all know, it's always good...) rabbits we were, and tempestuous ones at that. A fair proxy for desire, if ever there was one, i suppose...
then, in the timeline, our next stop would have to be the infamous "college gf". those who knew me then would have to laugh that i'd even try to get away with the singular on this one, but, i swear, having 'em half-a-dozen at a time (not at one time, but over the same time, silly) doesn't preclude the significance of this one. now here was a love i absolutely didn't deserve, that did more for me than even my mother ever did, and wonderfully well. what sort of an idiot can't be/fall/stay in love with that? nothing out of bounds, nothing held back, and all to be forgiven... (imagine insatiability of a fuller kind, enveloping both me AND my body). imagine me being compelled to drive it away... who knows what would have been real/possible (or not) if i had been human, but that's like wondering what would have happened if gravity had stopped working...
third stop, skipping the uncounted legion(s) between, winds us up with the best yet. maybe not as much of a whiz in the kitchen as #2 above, but there's more to happen in a kitchen than just cooking. even her mother was accommodating to my incivility, offering excuses for the inexcusable on my behalf. and there was an emotional intimacy to be found there which was beyond anything i could imagine, that only served to ignite the fires of passion to heights and variety immeasurable. yet again fodder for the questions that all tend to being "how could you..."
well, for that one i had at least the excuse that i was arrived at my marital destination...
looking back during a difficult time, it's impossible not to be tempted to draw comparisons. when was the last time you simply couldn't keep your hands off? when was the last time someone was devoted to you fully past any point of question? when was the last time that you were let into someone's soul? i know there will be others who will feel themselves compelled to imagine they had with me elements of all three, and some desire to feel themselves apart in some if not all areas. but, the truth is, sometimes first comes first, and leaves no room for what comes after. and if there was ever a moment to combine all three, i'm sure lightning would have struck and the world would have ended. besides, they're my memories, and i get to misinterpret them as i please. ;-)
so where am i? one might observe i've finally and successfully combined the "tempestuousness" (#1) with the pushing-away (#2) and, piece de resistance, the emotional abandonment (#3) with one single "lucky" partner, and cynically add to my compulsion for trifected faithlessness an insistence on the very same things as part any and all sordid affair(s) thereof. but, rather than see similarities, most folks closer to the action are (that red flag again) distracted by the "hows", and prone to see distinction between the missionary and the profane.
irony of ironies, the cruelest i've been hasn't been with the one who'd be voted ms. masoch by both the peanut gallery, or even by the various participants themselves. the most adventurous, neither. a perverse shudder accompanies the thought of it, but, i'm afraid now, i was possibly (likely) playing out a complicated production of self-loathing for past sins upon (all-too) willing flesh each and every time something appeared, at least to first blush, a new thing. so now, though I may have ended up a better man for realizing how truly disturbed i am, i'm without liberty or license to make amends or productive use of the improvement.
here's the laugh for today: it's never been about the one i'm with now.
so, though i understand it's now about fixing things with the one i'm with now, i want to ask, i HAVE to ask, where's the desire? where's the devotion? where's the intimacy? because i have all three on my mind, and in my heart.