Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rosetta Stone

We were people with a purpose, Carly and me. It was as if we shared a common language; an arcane tongue learnt from the walls of our souls. Our early conversations were a revelation: she was my Rosetta Stone and I hers.

Through Carly I began to understand, to see, life’s possibilities: a future far greater than I had ever dreamed. We talked of greatness, of the burning desire to be the best; the intangible feeling that we could achieve whatever we set our minds to. And we talked of the struggle; wasted effort; paths that led nowhere; failing to find our place in the world. Grief became our secret mark of honour.

We would wake early and run beneath the predawn sky. Our spirits seemed to mingle together and soar amongst those clouds from heaven.

This closeness made our first argument feel so much fiercer than perhaps it was. But we both fought to win: win at any cost. We each used knowledge of the other as a weapon, and were both deeply wounded as a result.

After a few days, when things had cooled down, we met at a café and made peace. I think we were both secretly pleased that our argument had been epic; had been great. But we made a vow never to argue again, which, looking back now was a mistake.

We became too careful with each other. We didn’t speak of dreams, or passions. We never talked of greatness or the burning desire to be the best. We talked about cornflakes and TV shows, celebrities and toothpaste. We got comfortable. We stopped running and started to put on weight.

This transition, this descent, happened slowly, so slowly that neither of us realised what was happening. Then one night, as we sat watching TV, I caught a glimpse of the reddening sky through a picture window. Something in me stirred. I told Carly I was going for a run, got changed, and headed out the door. Birds were settling their day’s last disputes and the sky was luminous. As I ran, fresh cool air filled my lungs: I felt alive.

I returned home exhausted but elated. Carly was on the couch in her pyjamas, eating chocolate from a half empty box. She didn’t look up when I entered the room.

We argued.

As we argued life began to flow through us. We argued for hours, blaming each other for what we had become. I called Carly a name and she slapped me across the face. I tasted blood, and it was good.

Carly was shocked by what she’d done, but I told her it was the right thing to do.

And we talked.

We talked through the night, remembering our passion for life and for each other. And, as dawn lifted night’s veil from the earth, we whispered a solemn oath: that we would never again forget ourselves; and we would always make time to argue.

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