“[Writing] has been my saving grace throughout my entire love life, love seasons.” -Che Best
“Myself and My Love”
Fiction. Based on a True Conversation in My Mind.
By Starry Teller
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255
Lights up. The scene is set outside during the day. I walk throughout the Observatory with My Love. We talk about the institution of marriage.
Myself. And why would I want that? I fear the essence of love is more of a curse than a gift. You love and love and love and maybe it is reciprocated for some time but then… Then it’s just over.
My Love. My dear…
Myself. No, listen. Why would I ever want that? She loved him for forty years. She was only in her sixties. We lost her too quickly. We’ve just barely scattered her ashes and… and now he is about to marry another woman. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t want that.
My Love. The beauty of what your grandparents had while your grandmother was alive is not somehow undermined by her absence. Their marriage produced your father and his brother—your family.
Myself. Oh yes, and what a wonderful, intact family it is. I don’t care what you say. How could I have ever thought that love endured? Love does not endure. For those who are lucky, it at least lasts until they die. But even then—their spouses mourn them for a short time before…
My Love. I know you’re upset. You have every right to be upset. You just lost your grandmother. You are still mourning her death. I’m right here for you. I’m right here with you.
Myself. But for how long? How long until you decide that the force of love is not reason enough to stay by my side? Every single day begins with the possibility that you could be gone in an instant.
My Love. Every single day begins with the possibility that I could love you more today than I did yesterday.
Myself. Words and words and words mean nothing. I’ve seen so many marriage vows and promises broken. Is this life so long that we cannot keep our promises? Is this life so long that our vows of love do not hold fast?
My Love. You’re seeing only what pains you right now. And you have every right to do that. But these relationships you examine have failed. Many other people have not failed in such ways.
Myself. But these people are my flesh and blood. We share DNA.
My Love. And that somehow constitutes your inevitable failure in love? No! Look at me, dear. The blood that flows within you keeps your being alive but does not instruct your being on how to live. You are not dictated by the actions of those who precede you. You know that you have the ability to begin a new legacy.
Myself. I know, but when that is all said and done… can I even love?
My Love. You have. Your entire life. The way you open your eyes in the morning. The way you fill your lungs with oxygen. The way you place five toes before your other five toes and maintain a specific velocity. Your very being exudes love. Why? Because you exist. And existence is love. To love is to exist and to exist is to love. You cannot have one without the other, don’t you see? To love your parents? It comes by nature or is quenched by nature. To love a friend? It comes with practice and by the instruction of others. To love romantically? Whether it comes by nature, instruction, or practice, I am not sure. But I know that I love you.
My Love pulls me into his arms. I rest my head on him and then pull away.
Myself. But… how could I ever be certain?
My Love. Certain?
I take a step away from My Love.
Myself. How could I ever feel safe in your love for me if I…
My Love takes a step towards me.
My Love. The safety in falling is that it’s not safe.
I take a step away from My Love.
Myself. What do you mean?
My Love takes a step towards me and reaches for my hand.
My Love. The beauty in love is that we fall anyways.
Myself. What does that mean?
My Love. It means that we are surrounded by beautiful, terrifying situations and emotions every moment of every day. Certainty is not a guarantee—not by a long shot.
Myself. That’s what I thought you’d say.
I turn away from My Love.
My Love. But hang on. That doesn’t somehow diminish the complexity of what I feel for you. What I know I feel. What I am certain I feel.
My Love turns towards me but I still face away from him.
Myself. But if nothing is certain…
My Love. No. Love is not a guarantee. But that does not nullify the fact that we can make the choice to love. It does not nullify the fact that I do choose to love, and will continue to do so.
Myself. But what about in the end?
My Love. In the end?
Myself. What happens if one day you wake up and decide not to choose it any longer?
My Love. You think that I don’t fear the same of you? That is the human condition. To fear that tomorrow we will wake up and lose everything. We are only guaranteed today. No. We are only guaranteed this moment—the one in which we inhale one breath of oxygen. Nothing exists beyond that for us. The moment beyond the one we currently belong to, does not exist.
Myself. But what if the end is near?
My Love. The end is nigh! The end does not exist!
Myself. How can the end both be nigh and not exist?
My Love. That’s the point. We weren’t there when it started. We won’t know how it all ends—this life, this love I have for you, this Earth, this universe—it is all happening right now. The end could be one minute from now or it could be long after we are gone from this Earth. That is how it is both upon us and nonexistent. It simply exists with no concrete existence. But what does exist is the life we have right now. The life you have right now is your own and you get to take it and run with it. And I am going to be right here by your side, with your hand in mine.
My Love takes my hand and we walk downstage. Lights out.
Lights up. I am at the Observatory alone. I look around. I look down at my hand. Lights out.