If I failed, Adam,
to gratify your every whim,
look me in the eye,
ask that I leave by
blue dusk to mask the flame
of my hair, your tearful shame
only witnessed by our Sculptor
as you demand He mold another.
Make certain she is formed from you
so she will never question the true
nature of her existence,
so the only resistance
you’ll encounter is in dreams,
my hands and mouth and streams
of flaming curls, your throat choking on
my name as you roll awake at dawn.
Your lips will part to call the one you’re with
but all your heart will ever howl is Lilith.
Poem by Ciara Shuttleworth, image from my Sacred & Profane series.
We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy.
But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable.
You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real—but you create the context. And the context is everything.
The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.