my brand of existentialism

I lend power to these hollow little shells I find collected in the corners of your years. I look past that breeze you allow to pass through them, I omit the monument you construct for me, and I reroute the energy I could expend loving my life dusting shrines you never intended to have built.

And only now do I realize that the fears that crowd me like angry callers aren’t borne of jealousy or possessiveness, but rather they are another in a brand of existentialism we all grapple with. I don’t devote much of my time to the concept of death or the theories of purposefulness. I devote it to the vastness of our lives. The many, many avenues that we meet and refuse. In the end, the absence of fate terrifies me more than I thought it would because the only option that remains is uncertainty. That there are thousands of ways we could have not ended up here. Thousands of ways we could still diverge. Lifetimes lived that were meaningful even in their brevity. Things you gave that cannot be taken back. Things I’ll never receive. Things you gave me that will never be unique. Things they have that should have been mine.

Selfish thoughts steeped in terror. But not because I’m a bad person, just because I am one. Because I dare to love as hard as I can, and not even the bravest person in the world is impervious to the fear that one day that might go away.

The fear that the nascency of my naked body is losing its novelty to you. I fear pretty faces, newer smiles. Mysteries that present themselves as mine are all but lost. I fear the degradation of time. I fear connections you’ve had that I’ll never be able to replicate. Lovers who gave what I don’t possess. Veins of old things that run deep in your blood supply. The past and the future rising to coalesce into an amalgamation I could never hope to defeat. Paths both walked and not yet imagined that I can’t reach. In the absence of fate, possibility doesn’t bring me comfort; it cripples me with the knowledge that anything can happen, and just might.

But I maintain that it’s not from possessiveness that I operate, merely the typical limits of human selfishness. It’s because on a Sunday afternoon, I lay against your chest, jostling my ear just so, so that I may hear your heartbeat with full gusto. I smell the herbaciousness of your skin, your breath. I feel the warmth of your body and the jitteriness of your arm. And I want nothing but this. Just this one thing, this simple little favor. I need never get rich, or famous. I don’t need a powerful career, a home with a view, a car with a moonroof. I can settle for so much less in my life if I can just have this. And so you can see why now, of all times, my weak faith in the tenants of fate have me so rattled. Even beautiful things aren’t guaranteed, and I don’t know how to live peacefully in a world in which that is true.

But I’ll hitch my wagon to the doomed horse. For I already know that if fortune favors the bold, so does misery. My bold campaigns haven’t always ended in my definition of success. And even if this one does, even if for all my days I get to have this one thing, the journey of my success is linear. We will depart in a way more final than any other. And I should find the world that lacks you even more distasteful that the pasts I feel small in front of and the futures that rip through my palm like twiney rope. There is no certainty I can hold to with good faith other than the one that brings me sorrow.

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