Someone Else That's Not Me

"Someone Else Not Me."

***

'You showed me a passion I never knew existed,' I say to self-deafened heart. A heart that at one time, saw through to the soul of me and held me up and gave me wings to be whom ever I wanted to be.

'I shouldn't love you,' she says quietly. 'It's just not logical.'

'There is no logic in love.' I say even though I know the words ring hollow in her ears. No matter how badly I believe that – even if those words were burned forever to the soul she's touched – it wouldn't matter, simply because she stopped believing such a long time ago. 'You stopped believing in me. In us.' I whisper almost imperceptibly. Almost.

'I'm sorry I stopped believing.'

'You're lucky,' I say through the tears that are fighting their hardest to stay suspended in my eyes. 'because I never will.'

But I get ahead of myself here. Much further ahead than is anticipated or even welcomed. To tell a story correctly, one must start

In the beginning.

*****

God she's amazing. Just when I think I've got it all figured out and my life is on track – she comes along.

She's turned my world upside down and backwards and man, what I wouldn't give to have had this feeling years ago before I became jaded and cynical and, 'Hey, hon. How are you?' breaks through my train of thought and it's her – right there – and everything else just fades into the background and I'm standing in the middle of the tracks getting hit full force and head on at eighty miles an hour and it feels. . .

Incredible.

She knows how to push the pause button on this hectic life of mine and makes me

Stop.

Makes me think.

Makes me feel.

It doesn't matter what she looks like. It makes no difference that her smile can light the darkest part of the room, or her eyes haunt me even in my sleep. It doesn't change my life in one way or another because that's not why I love her. I love her for being able to see deep down to the soul of me, and not be frightened by what she sees. I adore her for her ability to get it, all of it, no matter what it is or how hard it is for me to explain. I admire her ability to draw from me the things I thought got lost and burned to ashes and carried away on the wind such a long, long time ago.

'You make me happy,' she says. It's not for lack of trying. She doesn't have to try. All she has to do. . .is be.

'You're amazing,' is all the lameness I can come up with. Lame because there really aren't many words for what I feel. . . .

I've gotten ahead of myself, again. There's just so much to say, so much to convey and the words, well, the words are insufficient at most.

*****

'I found someone.' She glows. 'She's wonderful and she treats me well and I'm so happy.'

'I'm happy for you.' Is my reply. 'Really. If anyone deserves it, it would be you.' The plastic smile is firmly in place and even as I say the words I can almost feel the self loathing in them, the bitterness, the lost chance of something that was really never meant to be. All of this, I know now, but to make me see it then, I would have believed you had three heads before I believed it wasn't meant to be.

'You're still my friend.' She's compensating and I can't stand it honestly. I hate it when people know what you want to hear, and know what they want to say and opt for the first rather than the latter. It makes me sick. 'You'll always be my friend.'

Like that is supposed to make me feel better? Second prize, second best, second place in the tiny space of your existence. I'd rather work on trying to fly. There's a knack to it really. The knack is to throw yourself at the ground – and miss completely. Very few people have attempted this daunting task and actually succeeded.

'Are you listening?' She breaks through my reverie again and it all just fades. Even when I feel like I can't listen anymore, when I feel it's just too much to take, I hear every word even though I don't want to. 'You're being distant. I don't like it.'

'So long as you are happy, then I'm happy.' And I mean it. All I've ever wanted is for her to be happy and smile and know, that no matter how bad things got, they'd always get better some how.

'But you're not. Are you?'

It's funny how, when you stop and think and look back on all that's happened, you see where it all went wrong. You see where that all too important moment stood, glaring at you and daring you to take a chance, yet now you are unable to change a thing.

She was an acquaintance, a face, a name and nothing more. Isn't it sad how someone can mean nothing to you? She meant nothing. She was nothing. I hadn't opened my eyes yet, or my heart and my soul lay dormant from all the ass kicking it had received as of late.

There was something about her – this I can't deny. She was all fire and ice, opinionate yet subtle, graceful. . .yet tact was something she left for others who were afraid to voice what was on their minds.

I don't know how it happened or when. I fell for her. I found myself seeking her out amongst the others, knowing that when I saw her, my day would be better for it – as would I. It was a gradual thing, the kind of thing you don't know is happening until it's much too late to take your heart out of the game. Even if you tried, it would insist that it had a few more innings left in it and 'coach, let me play!' would ring through your ears and you'd give in. Always you'd give in because to not follow your heart would be unspeakable and unforgivable and you never know what you're gonna miss.

'You don't know what you ask.' Is my answer to both her voiced and unvoiced question. 'You simply have no idea.'

'But I do.' She says with such conviction that I almost believe she means it. I'm almost ready to trash everything we've worked months to build.

I sigh. She has to do this now? Just when I was clear on how I felt and how I couldn't have it. . .just when I'd accepted the fact that she belong to someone else that's not me. 'I don't know when it happened, but you suddenly mean the world to me and I don't know what to do with it. With everything I feel for you.' I whisper.

'I know.' Comes out thick with emotion I never thought she'd allow herself to show to me. 'I was so scared to say it that I forced you to do it for me.'

'I'm sorry.'

'For what?'

I sigh. 'Complicating things. Feeling things I never thought I was capable of until you came along. I'm sorry for it all.'

Silence. Painful lack-of-every-noise-imaginable silence. Then, 'I'm not.'

And the stress and anger and fear slide out of me and I feel like I'm floating, coasting – even flying. To hell with throwing yourself to the ground. This was so much better.

***

'I feel like I need to tell you something, everything and nothing at once. I've never felt this way before and the words. . .the words just don't want to cooperate with me I guess. It scares me so much. I've never, you have to understand, ever felt like this. Never wanted to say it so badly. . .but then I think, what if. . .'

'Hey,' I stop her in mid thought. From the entire lack of talking I can tell she never expected me to do that. 'Listen to me carefully.' I take a deep breath and screw up all the courage I have hidden deep down in the reserves of my soul. Courage I've been saving for a moment just like this. 'I do too.'

She gasps and knows I know. She knows I feel it too and my heart jumps up off the bench and breaks out into a full sprint toward the playing field it thought it would never be able to play in again. 'God, I love you.'

'I love you too.'

***

'So close,' She whispers across the tangible. 'So close, yet so far away. What I wouldn't give for. . .'

'Just one minute. I know.' She knows I know and maybe that made it into something worth fighting for. Maybe.

'No.' She disagrees and my heart just.

Stops.

'Thirty seconds would have been enough. It wasn't like you were so far away. It was so close to tangible it was scary. I was afraid to open my eyes to confront reality, but I knew it wouldn't matter. You'd still be there. I could feel you as if you were right next to me but,' My heart starts up again as she trails off sadly.

'But I wasn't. I know.'

'I know you know and that makes it real. This is real and we have to hold on to it.'

'I will.' I breath out like a prayer. 'Always. I feel so lucky to have you in my life. You know that, don't you?'

She pauses. 'I know this is love.' And my heart soars across the field as if it had wings.

***

'I dreamed about you like we never left each other. Too bad I had to wake up and ruin the dream.' She states sadly.

'It's not a dream. Or at least, it won't be for long.' I console.

I hurt.

I ache.

I love with everything I have and more I never knew existed.

All of this for her and I know, I know when the time comes that it's not a dream I'll die. For I will truly know what it's like to be in a heavenly place.

'I feel like you are right next to me and not so far away and as long as I can feel you I don't ever want to open my eyes again.'

Silence.

More silence.

Beautiful silence that's allowed to exist between us. Words aren't needed, nor the usual exchange of pleasantries to take up space and time. It's a waste on us because we are happy and content just. . .being there. Just knowing and feeling the silence together.

'No words.' I whisper. 'No words for the way you make me feel and for the way you've touched my soul. I feel like anything I say, any words I find to describe it, well, they're inadequate at most.'

From across the tangible she hands me a lifeline. 'You have my soul.'

'And you have mine.'

***

The tangible became insignificant and my heart, well, my heart grew three sizes today. 'There aren't any words.' I whisper. 'Nothing seems worthy of how you make me feel.'

She smiles and I'm damned. Damned to live in that smile and the way her lips curl up so perfectly and her eyes, well, her eyes are shining and I sit there and think to myself, Wow. I did that. I made her smile, and suddenly that's what I want to live for. It's all I've ever strived for since she sprang into my life and lit my sorry existence on fire.

'I want to commit everything to memory.' She says suddenly. 'Your eyes, your smile. . .your soul.'

'Oh, well, you already have that.' I whisper and look over at her. That's become my hobby as of late. Observing. Taking it all in. Drinking in the texture and the scent and the everything that is her. . .

One

Hundred

Percent.

'What?' She asks.

'Nothing.' I smirk, but some how I know she knows it's everything. 'How can one person make someone so. . .' I trail off. Again, there are no words.

'Content.' She states simply and the word hits home with a resounding crash and my world just crumbles and I know. I know she gets it.

'God, I love you.' My voice is thick, thicker than I'd intended and it washes over her and I can see her begin to drown and fade and 'What's wrong?' comes out of my mouth before I even realize the implications.

'I love you, I love you too much yet never enough.' And that's all I needed to hear.

'Anything you give me, anything you're willing to give. . .well, it'll always be enough because it could have been nothing at all.'

'You make me happy,' she says. It's not for lack of trying. She doesn't have to try. All she has to do. . .is be.

'You're amazing,' is all the lameness I can come up with. Lame because there really aren't many words for what I feel.

Nothing seems good enough for her, not even me. And that scares the hell out of me because in the back of my mind I keep on thinking that this is all some kind dream. I feel this looming darkness constantly that she's going to turn around one day and tell me it was all a mistake and that she can't do it, that it's too hard, but it was fun while it lasted and, can we still be friends?, will roll off her tongue and out of her mouth like it was planned that way all along.

'I've looked my whole life for someone like you.' She whispers almost reverently. 'And here you are. . .and I feel like it's gonna end suddenly, that you're gonna stop believing any minute now and you're so far away and it scares me.'

I think long and hard about this. 'You're right.' I finally say. 'Here I am, and here you are, and it's all we have. We have right now.' I bow my head to hide the hurt behind my eyes. 'Even if you leave, even if you say this is all a mistake and that you stopped believing, I'm still gonna love you. That's *never* gonna change.'

'Never.' She says. It's not forceful, or full of conviction and promises and inflection that makes you feel, lets you know for sure that she really means it. . .because deep down you know she doesn't. 'I'll never stop believing that we have a chance.'

It all rings hollow. Isn't it funny how it's everything you want to hear but were afraid of hearing? 'I love you. I feel like I can't say it enough.'

'I can never hear it enough.' She smiles that smile and I get lost just. . .

A.

Little.

Bit.

More.

And I know. I know from this point forward that I'm lost and somehow will never be able to find myself again. She's two feet away and I'm totally consumed by her. There's nothing else in my line of vision. It's just

Her.

Right.

There.

'What?' She asks innocently but we both know that innocence walked out the door the minute we stepped over the line and into each other's space. It's gone now, it's not a game anymore, it's not abstract. It's real, she's so real that I can reach out and touch her face. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what I do. 'Nothing.' I shake my head.

'Come on.' She coaxes. She knows there's more. There's always been so much more that she was unwilling to say.

'I want to tell you. Everything.' I respond simply.

'I want to let you.' She leans just a little bit closer into my touch and a shiver crawls slowly down my spine.

'I want to kiss you.' Flies out of my mouth before I can even stop it. Damn.

'The what are you waiting for?' She says with a boldness I didn't think she had the courage to show.

I touch her lips with mine and it's like coming home to a place I never knew existed. For that one moment, we're together as one and she's pressed so close against me now that you can hardly tell where she begins and where I end and I hold her impossibly closer still, because I know. . .I know it's all gonna end and it might as well be my fault. My fault for loving her so completely. It was over before it really even began.

Moments or minutes or hours later, oxygen fills our lungs and we just. . .

Stop.

'We can't.' She breaths out like she almost means it. 'When we do, it needs to be special and not here and. . .'

I press my finger against her swollen lips. 'I know.' And I smile with a little sadness and a whole lot of helplessness because in the back of my mind I can already see her heart has dropped the ball. Two outs, one to go, bases loaded.

***

The distance between the emotion and response, between her heart and mine. . .is tangible. You can feel it through the soles of your feet, touch it and caress its texture in the palm of your hand and commit it to your senses with just

One

Deep

Breath.

It's the most beautiful tangible thing in the entire world. It is the world. You can drive it, fly it and feel it in the pull of your muscles as you walk across the miles that span time and space. Miles that would be the death of us because someone belongs to someone else. Someone else that's not me.

Strike one.

***

'It hurts.'

'I know.'

'Make it stop.' She whispers across the tangible. 'Make it feel like it felt before.'

'I feel you slipping away from me and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.'

'I'll never stop believing we have a chance.' She lies. She weaves a beautiful tale of red dragons and purple mountains majesty and all things that are good and pure and essential in the tiny space of our existence. The tiny space that gets even tinier with each passing day. 'I believe that. I have to.'

'Is this enough for you?' I ask even though I really don't want to know.

'Totally.' She says with not enough conviction. 'It has to be.'

My space shrinks a little bit more and the tangible just got bigger.

Strike two.

***

'You're being distant. I don't like it.' Even as the words come out of my mouth and their true meaning lances my soul, I find it horribly ironic. She whispered the same thing to me not so long ago and those are the words that put us here in the first place.

'I have to concentrate on me and my life.'

'In that place where you're concentrating on being real and centered and you, have you left a place for me?'

'That's not a fair question.' She sighs.

'There was a time when you wouldn't have hesitated to say "yes". Now it's a chore just to get you to say hello. That's what's not fair.' She's slipping away like sand through my fingers and it's just my luck there's not enough of it to get lost in together.

'I found someone.' She switches gears. 'She's wonderful and she treats me well and I'm happy.'

'I'm happy for you.' Is my reply. 'Really. If anyone deserves it, it's you, but you've had her long before any of this. Before us. What about what I deserve?'

'You deserve better than this.' She sounds defeated and broken. I realize quickly, but not quick enough that it's all just emotionless motion now. It's all just words without the fire and passion behind them.

'I deserve you.' I say with finality.

'What you deserve and what you get, unfortunately and more often than not, are two different things entirely.'

My heart looks up and cries, foul ball!

***

'What happened to us?' I whisper. There is no tangible between us now. There's no where to hide. 'What happened to you? I feel like I don't even know you anymore and that scares the hell out of me.'

'I don't know.' She states indifferently as if I just asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. How can someone be five inches away from you, yet seem so far away? I can't reach her anymore. . .I'm not sure if anyone can.

'You showed me a passion I never knew existed.' I say to self-deafened heart. A heart that at one time, saw through to the soul of me and held me up and gave me wings to be whom ever I wanted to be. At one time I believed I could do it too. . .simply because she believed in me. 'That has to count for something. Doesn't it?'

'We'll never be together.' She whispers almost imperceptibly. I almost didn't hear her and maybe, just maybe that's what she intended.

'We'll be together. Maybe not now or tomorrow or next year. There's this thing inside of me that keeps me believing and I really can't explain it. I don't think I want to try.' I swallow down the tears like poison. She's slipping away and the harder I try to reach her, the further away she seems. "I don't think or wonder or wish. I know. You get that, don't you? You have to get it. You're the only one who ever has.' There's a desperation in my voice I didn't know I could achieve. It's as if my entire life hinges on what she's about to say. . .or not.

'We'll never be together.' She states forcefully and full of conviction and promises and inflection that makes me feel, lets me know for sure that she really means it. All of it. 'I shouldn't love you,' she says quietly. 'It's just not logical.'

'There is no logic in love.' I say through a voice that's thick with emotion. A voice I can't even recognize anymore. I say it in vain because I know, I know the words ring hollow in her ears. No matter how badly I believe – even though those words are burned forever to the soul she's touched – it doesn't matter. Nothing much matters anymore simply because she stopped believing such a long time ago. Possibly longer than I had even allowed myself to realize. 'You stopped believing in me. In us.' I whisper almost imperceptibly. Almost.

'I'm sorry I stopped believing.'

'You're lucky,' I say through the tears that are fighting their hardest to stay suspended in my eyes. They didn't fight hard enough and apparently neither did she. 'You're lucky because I never will.'

Strike three.

***

GAME OVER

***