June 28, 2009 11:21 AM

I'm going to be uninteresting for a moment: I am going to write about love. Specifically, that which is not possible for me, for now, or in the foreseeable future. I have to say it's uninteresting out of a severe aversion to egoful self-dramatization, because I know I could too easily nourish such an attitude. I also don't think anything beautiful can come out of directly describing this emotional struggle -- at least in words, or even less than that, my words. With this, I am excusing my indiscretions and failures before I say them, and saying them anyway.

So what about love? It has captured me. It has shocked my mind and body, and its unruly charges muck about my every thought. It was unexpected. I didn't realize what had happened until the circumstances had reached entropy, and I was suddenly in limbo.

She said, "I know you, and you're going to be hard on yourself for this," and, while I disagreed, she was right. After our relationship ended, I put myself in purgatory. It's not an especially unpleasant one, at least on the face of it: I've simply demanded a lot more out of myself, in everyday situations. I try to earnestly appreciate whomever lets me, rather than just accept them as fact. It would almost be a downright positive turn, if it weren't lined by such intense regret. I still wake up with her name on my mind, her image in my daydreams. I had no idea that I was capable of such commitment; or, maybe I did, and took it on more seriously than I, or anyone else, could actually bear.

The reasons why it ended were made clear. She wanted to be in a relationship that was clearly defined, in which she could feel safe. Her doubts stemmed from a late night conversation about how I didn't feel like I should call her my girlfriend, nor me her boyfriend. I didn't know what those words even meant at the time -- which is why I second-guessed them, immediately and naively, more for effect than out of truth. It was an unfortunate choice left unexplained, and, for her, signalled the beginning of the end.

She also believed she had manipulated me into being what I was not, finding and exploiting in me what would satisfy her needs. When I fell short of her expectations, she discovered her motives, and decided our relationship was unjust and needed to end. I had difficulty coming to terms with this -- but not because I felt exploited or that anything exploitive had transcended. It was true that at times I had sensed her taking control of our interactions, times where I certainly could have been less obedient, but these times never felt conflictive or uncomfortable; in fact, I was always happy to comply. I couldn't see what wrong had been committed, besides a guilt cast upon herself.

And there were my personal failures. I was reticent towards her in public, although I didn't know it or want to be, and she didn't mention it, even though it hurt her. A simple conversation would have neutralized it, but it was left unnoticed, unspoken, and turned acid.

My love for her lingers beyond these explanations. But trying to understand why it happened, parsed to the last remainder, hasn't reconciled the present. Now I see that I need to drop it. I've valued it the best I could, and now it simply bears meaninglessly upon my body. Stripped of regret, I can begin creating again, and celebrate what I know and can see, rather than letting what is outside my abilities or control paralyze me. And only then can I find out how we can remain friends, true and without a prick of dread.