We’ve all had an ending like Fleabag

We both muddle in the molten center of something that can never be. And you swim away. You depart while I tread lava. I don’t know if it’s that I can’t leave or I want to stay where everything is hot and vibrant because I know how rare this rawness is.

Years of my life crumbled like stale bread. Something fine and edible, I suppose. A sleep walk from year to year, and the meeting of you pulled me deeper, shook me awake. I hated you for it, for conjuring all the lulled spirits inside of me, changing my state of matter. I was solid. You liquefied me. Your presence is an electric current through my whole body. Your voice a tolling bell my ears detect from far way. I see you, a magnet my eyes refuse to separate from. I can’t respond to you fast enough. Typing fingers on a screen like an addict seizing their next fix. I cannot help myself. Friends in sensible drug policy tell me that addiction isn’t the person’s fault. I try and apply this to you: that it doesn’t make me a bad person to want you so desperately. And I do. I want you worse than that razor scooter in second grade or for a date to freshman homecoming. I want you worse than a man in a heat wave craves a coke, guzzling it upon retrieval and letting excess drip from the sides. He looks tame compared to me.

This wasn’t a figment of my imagination. We were never a disposable thing like lousy Tupperware. We were as real as you can be at the Earth’s core– just couldn’t make it to the surface. Matter like us can’t exist up there.

I hate you for changing me, and I hate you for reminding me that sleepwalking isn’t the same as being alive, that settling isn’t a state of matter, that my solid stood on barriers and walls and unsustainable distance. I am an open wave of lava now, both afraid to be touched and afraid of returning to what I once was. I hate you for all of this, and yet, I love you. I really love you. Not loved, not in some past tense of being. I love you in this most present of states, the hottest of temperatures, the rawest of realism, the truest of tenses.

Fleabag ends with two people who love each other admitting it, and parting, knowing their lives will likely never intersect again. It isn’t sweeping and sanctimonious like a Bronte novel. It’s quiet. Subtle and raw. There’s no speech or gesture: just two people who resigned themselves to solitude and now must return to that emptiness after tasting the wholeness of each other. Understated grief courses through the scene, engulfs the bus stop and leads the characters in opposite directions. It resonates with all of us. Often, I lull myself into the myth that loneliness comforts me, that it is fine or whatever. No sooner have I nestled myself into routines and tiny luxuries then someone arrives to screw it up and conjure me into some swooning creature I do not recognize. It is a glorious and horrifying transfiguration. We’ve all felt that, been there, carry the coordinates inside our hearts like a longitudinal secret. The ones that no one sees but mark us in dim grief and blinding hope.

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