He gives often and without fanfare. It has always been this way. No wrapping, no ceremony. Everything like the diamonds sneaked in along the curve of a delicate pendant, almost tucked into the side. (“As long as they’re non-conflict,” I said. “Of course,” he replied.)
I wore it as we rode on the river, gazing up at the buildings looming above. I hoped to see a naked woman very high up, pressed against one with a man behind her. I half expected to see myself hundreds of feet above, white and nude on the glass, another me living the life I expected. Of course still a whore, her days busy with go-here, do-that, go-home. That’s what everyone everywhere does but it felt different in my mind. It’s hard to explain, isn’t it? It’s nearly impossible to explain what I thought I would be when it’s circumstantially no different than what I am—it’s all in the tone. I thought this life would feel differently. I knew it would be cold in the spaces between the non-cold. I knew there would be many spaces. I thought that would make it glamorous.
All these structures—the man-made towers with rooms stacked over more rooms, ugly materials in uglier shapes—mean to me is loneliness, tied inextricably to commerce and profit, sadness perhaps ultimately the only motivating factor for capitalism. Dreams too. We know such buildings are full of hope, but it’s hope for diving back into the cycle of dissatisfaction. That’s one definition of samsara: incessant activity and endless frustration.
Maybe I only ever envisioned myself grown and bathed in loneliness. That’s what I wanted from a city, any city, and why I wanted to live in one: anonymity and painful quiet. It was what I expected. It was the most I could imagine. For my entire life I’ve been haunted by the conviction that the purest, most profound beauty is borne out of, and borne into, sadness. It seemed the only mode of being that would ever suit me.
There is a saying that a psychotic person drowns in the same waters in which a mystic swims. Sometimes there is a sense of drowning, but it seems a worthy risk to me. If I were to be given a new name, I’d like it to be one who loves water. I think now I might even chose that over one who loves flight.