As a writer: I never lose my hard-on when staring at a blank page. Yes, yes: I’ve heard—and read—my colleagues moan and whine about the moodiness of their Inspiration; speaking of it as if it were an uncertain, bitchy young lover, coming around only when she’s horny. Others have inquired about my daily discipline, fishing for an insider secret that I could bottle up for them. Well, comrades: there is none!
A blank page, a blank stage; the loaded silence that looms after a film director hollers, “Rolling!”; the undisturbed white linens of my yet-to-be-lover’s bedroom—I dwell in the un-started. I worship what hasn’t happened yet. Because in those moments prior to creation—anything is possible, including a mind-changing beauty or a life-changing love.
Oh, sure there are days, when words crawl out through the constipation of the mind with enough friction for my bystanders to overhear them. Certain days, the ego—that fucking cunt!—gets in the way like a scrawny, yelping, hyper Chihuahua.
“Get the fuck off my leg,” I battle with the annoying thing, eventually persevering via my brutal self-examination and zero tolerance for my self-pity.
So today, I am choosing to write about the blank pages of my love affairs that have never happened. They almost did, with me and the other player breathing heavily in each other’s face, suspended in some hormonal high, ready to hit the sheets. Yet, either the mind-sobering circumstances or the cunt of common sense would get in the way—and the two of us would walk, limp, or crawl away; never regretting an erred affair, yet always wondering about the missed-out moments of beauty.
Here is to you, my blank pages of never-upon-a-time loves:
—To the pretty companion whose non-invasive tenderness and uncensored kindness yanked me out of the darkness of my failed marriage. In those pre-divorce days of guilt and self-loathing, we met in a brutally cold city, just months after my chosen man threw in his towel. The echo of his “I can’t… do this anymore!” still resonated under my heels with every step. I was a woman on the run, a chaotic flight, doubling over on occasion to even-out my heart rate. With my eyes drilling into the horizon where I planned to flee next, you were supposed to be my mere distraction. Instead: you were magnificent—
—To the man who bore a repeated name of my future lovers. (Was I looking for you, in them?) You engulfed me with your body, pinned me down with your strength and compassion. How ever did you keep up with my schizophrenic needs of a deprived woman? Between the guilt and the self-punishment, the need to be overwhelmed, the silent prayer for my mind to finally stop fluttering—you surfed with skill and patience; until all I could focus on was my breath. And that—was your gift to me: you gave me back my breath. (Months later, you proposed a long-distance affair—and even a marriage—but I knew that what you’ve granted me was already enough.)—
—To the flamboyant Frenchman who intersected my path during the last days in the City. This gypsy’s wagon has already departed for the opposite coast. So, she traveled light; and you picked up on that: my carelessness of the free, my unbearable lightness of the reckless, the non-attachment of a woman with nothing to lose.
“Vould you like? to make l’uv?” you didn’t even warm me up—just called it.
I studied your exotic French-Liberian face, nearly tearing up from my gratitude that, even in the midst of my exaggerated tragedy, you found me beautiful. And full of shit! Because then you said what a French lover was supposed to say:
“You vorrý. There iz eenough of zat in life, no’eu? Vhy vorrý—in l’uv?”
We never happened. But after you, love was a tricky possibility—
—To the shy boy whose mouth I devoured years ago at my chariot, after a mind-numbing, feet-blistering shift at a Hollywood lounge I’d rather forget. A man young enough to be my brother, you stood with your callused hands fisted inside your pockets, studying your shuffling feet, like a five-year-old embarrassed about his first girl-crush. You looked up at me occasionally—to touch my face with your hazel gaze; or to chuckle at the molecules of charged air between us—then resumed studying the gravity of the ground that kept holding us in place. When finally you leaned in and clumsily brushed your lips on my eyelids, in the darkness of the broken street light, I searched for your lips and bit them. You tasted like cinnamon.—
—To the cowboy whose sexuality blended with my own like honey at the bottom of a scolding hot cup of Russian black tea. For years, we’ve toyed with the possibility—“What if?”—but always settled for the suspended turn-on instead. Because we also knew that our egos would fall into the seemingly predestined grooves of each other—and nothing would be off-limits in the consequential destruction (because we were also well-equipped in war).
“I love that girl,” others testified to your confession; and that was just enough, my darling, for good—
For our non-happening—I thank you; because you’ve granted me the fantasy of What Could’ve Been—with its endless possibility of a blank page—sans the wasteful, self-indulgent clean-up, mandatory after every failed love affair. You were my unfinished stories; my odds and chances; my delightful minions pestering my bitchy Inspiration into submission. And because somehow, all of you arrived with perfect timing, I shall gladly commit the hubris of assuming that I was your creator. And just as I pray to never treat my chosen art as a burden—always as a privilege!—the memories of you I shall gladly carry with the weightlessness of surrender and gratitude.