I’m waiting for my replacement work PC to arrive. I’ve been checking UPS tracking all morning. There’s an accident at the end of my street that’s been cordoned off while they tow the vehicles away.
I’m seated at my desk, thumbing through work emails, responding to colleagues text messages, awaiting to leave to pick up pizza for my 12pm sales presentation at a major Bay Area integrator.
My thoughts are with Gabriela. I love Gabriela. I love her sweet gentle nature. I love the way she holds me tight, the way the worries for me, even though I literally hate that she worries. I love her passion, her defiance. I love her fragility. I love her strength. She is striking and soft.
I worry about her heart. I worry about her tender heart, wrapped in layers of hardened ache. I worry about making that tender heart any more hard.
I want to love her endlessly, and pour my affection onto her. So why don’t I?
Well, this is what I’m trying to work through. At the center of it all is my desire to be free. I don’t want to be the object her of attention. I don’t want to be responsible or feel obligated to take care of her, to make her happy. I want these things to come naturally from me. Maybe another man would look past her demands, and concede to loving her in spite of the drama. Maybe he would see the tenderness inside, and bow to serve her regardless of the struggle to please her, knowing he’s serving a higher purpose, of love.
But I find myself wanting freedom. I want space to act on my own volition. I want to please when it suits me, in ways that supplement my being. I don’t want loving to be a job, something that I show up to, regardless of how I feel about it, regardless of my own health. What freedom is that?
Is it freedom I want? Yes, I think so. I have obligations. I like to choose obligations and exercise my own autonomy.
I love Gabriela, because I see her weakness, I am comfortable with her vulnerability… though I ask myself, am I really? Are her frantic efforts to hold and squeeze and control apart of this vulnerable nature? A nature which I inspire, out of the love she has for me? But I ask myself if her love is true, or if it is false, in the sense that rather than embracing vulnerability, she runs from it, and rather than experiencing true love, she experiences the shadow of love which is a symptom of fear.
I’m not sure. But when I think about how much I care for her, my throat swells and begins to close, and my heart beats louder, and my face turns red, and I can feel my tear ducts squeezing.
She is so fragile. Just those words makes me bite my lips and furrow my brow and eyes tear.
She is so fragile. Her father an abusive alcoholic. She had no father. She was given the amazing opportunity to dance ballet in the states, and so she left her family at 15, returning briefly until she gained status as a professional ballet dancer. She has always been alone, dancing her heart out. She lives a simple life. She strives for perfection daily, from her rigorous routine physical exercises and the copious physiotherapy she commits herself to, to the hours in the studio, attending every optional class, practicing her technique in every free moment.
And for what? She is alone, and she strives for this higher ideal, an ideal worshipped by society, but enjoyed by the few with the means to attend and support such a high art.
She eats, lives, breaths ballet. She has her 3 pound Chihuahua, Kity, and her 375 sq foot studio apartment situated on the edge of the filthiest neighborhood in all of San Francisco, the Tenderloin, filled with drug addicts and homeless and thieves. She walks the five blocks to class every day and back, sometimes taking a Lyft or Uber when her feet are too swollen to march back up the hill to her apartment.
She is alone, separated by thousands of miles from her parents, her three brothers, her youngest sister, her every adoring mother, and her alcoholic father who will forever battle with his own demons at the expense of everyone around him.
I have been her sole source of companionship, not including Kity. And before her, Dallas, her previous boyfriend of five her whom she said she never loved, and could never love, and before him Marc, whom she loved, but he broke her heart when he cheated, a relationship that lasted six years. But she loves me, she says.
What is my obligation to this love of hers? I love her? But when is love give, and when is love take? Where is the balance?