Monday, September 15, 2003

Of Love And Water

For about three summers in junior high I took diving lessons a few times a week. In all this time I really only worked on variations of three basic dives: forward, backward and inward (where you jump backward and bend toward the board so that your back ends up facing the board as you go in straight). The backward dive was my favorite and the inward my nemesis, a fear which took years to overcome.

After conquering my fear of the inward dive I tried to progress to the next level: a reverse dive. This dive was kind of the opposite of the inward, where you jumped off the board forward, brought your feet up to your fingers and let the front of your body drop backward so you would enter the water facing the board. After several attempts to brave the reverse ending in me just jumping feet first into the water, I was finally able to pull my legs up into a pike and release my torso, ready to plunge into the water hands first. Except, I didn't. I did, however, land flat on my back (think of a belly flop, except, on your back--ooo) and get, not only a very red back, but the wind knocked out of me and an everlasting fear of the reverse dive.

This is how I've sort of looked at romance and love. It took me a long time to screw up the nerve to attempt the tricky, twisting maneuver into the deep waters of affection, and when I finally did it was a total flop, leaving a stunned me to be fished from the murky depths and resuscitated. Since then, I've been able to stick to my basic dives, but have avoided anything more complicated than an inward, which eventually faded into a deterioration of most of the diving skills I had ever learned. (so don't ask me to do any of them now).

Today, however, I have a secret-- and I say this with trepidation and fear: I am in love. You know what? It's still kind of like that back flop. The wind's been knocked out of me and my flesh tingles and sears from the encounter. My stomach lurches, tying itself in knots trying to cease the incesant beating of millions of butterfly wings. I sit here at my computer and look at my turned down bed with longing and uncertainty. My eyes and body long for rest, but what if this is only a dream? What if it's all over when I awaken in the morning? Although it would be the greatest, most unimaginable dream-- to wake up to cold reality would be death-- like emerging from the womb to be plunged in ice water that debilitates all functioning organs, closing the curtain on a life just begun.

However, I have a faithful lover who will not let go of me so easily. He is a jealous love who knows my fears and my wrongs and loves me any way. He will not let me run away. He is strong enough to fight my battles, but instead, he is the strength I have to fight them myself. With him by my side I do not have to be afraid of falling asleep cold or waking up alone. In fact, with him by my side, I need no other reason to lay my head down and rise again to a new day.

With that I say, good night.