Thursday, October 11, 2012


"They say the more you love, the more love you have to give. Life has taught me it how easy it is to love more than one person"

Helena had picked up the pencil, and then decided to write this in pen. She wasn't sure if it was a letter or a journal entry or just some thought on a future scrap in a drawer. But the phrase had been rattling around in her cage for hours now and she wanted to say it out loud, write it down for posterity.

Helena had heard that sentiment before, but suspected it was meant to be about relatives, about friends, about puppies and children and all of the beautiful unique snowflakes she would be fortunate to to meet. She suspected it was meant to be a platonic sentiment.
But due to a possibly evolved perspective, or just an inconvenient glitch in her DNA, Helena had found it had broader applications.

To be more succinct: this was not the first time Helena had found herself simultaneously in love with more than one man.

The first time this had happened was in college. She had been madly, intensely focused on Miles, who was dating a friend of hers, sort of, kind of, just enough to be around more than usual. It had been the kind of crush she actually hadn't expected to come much of anything because he was, very simply, so damn beautiful. He was cool. He dressed how she would dress if she were a guy, he had a music collection way bigger than hers and knew more about movies than anyone rightly should, at such a young age. He was, in a word, ideal. So when Miles had dumped Julie, and had suddenly turned his attention on her, she was so very surprised, so overcome by the sense of a bank error in her favor, that she went for it, even though she was, at the same time, very clearly falling head over heels in love someone else, someone very wrong, in every possible way, for her.

What made Tim especially wrong for her was that has was, by everyone's estimation, a complete and total asshole. Cute, yes, and smart, definitely, but with offputting aesthetic and political inclinations and a talent for purposely alienating anyone he didn't think highly of. Which initially included Helena until one night, while especially drunk, she explained to him, in no uncertain terms, how stupid his opinion on some political issue or another was. The next morning, wandering down to the commons she found Tim suddenly friendly, and ten times as charming as he had been before.

And so there she was, in love with Tim and falling in love with Miles, and quite frankly sleeping with them both, and too overwhelmed to even hide it. And she kept waiting for her heart to choose, for her disturbing lack of morality to get the better of her, for the virtues of one to supersede the others. But while she found herself growing fonder of Miles by the moment, more impressed, more clear on how perfect a match her was for her, she also found herself having amazing, almost clairvoyant conversations with Tim. With Tim she had sex that made her forget her friends, her classes, and sometimes even her name. With Miles she was heady with pride, swooning with admiration and wanting to make out endlessly, in private, in public.
And the more she gave into either experience, the more she wanted them both.

This, initially presented an amusing challenge to everyone involved, but as anyone could have guessed, the charm was short lived, and one, then the other, began to mistaken her fickleness for lack of intention, lack of feeling, and, frankly, and quite possibly lack of a soul. And so she found herself getting over two, very different, but very deep heartbreaks at once.

You'd think she would have learned her lesson.

What was that adage? If at first you don't succeed....

Jesus. And the irony of it all was that Helena couldn't even really believe in half the things she was experiencing. While she supported "alternative lifestyles" in theory, she knew they were not for her in practice.  Years ago, acknowledging her inability to "shut off her love" valve, Helena had joined a polyamorous society. When she had first discovered that such things existed she had been thrilled. Convinced that she was just more flexible, just more open than most people, she filled her head with rhetoric, tossing off the proprietary sexist roles our monogamy centric society had cast before her. And, finding herself uniquely popular in this new group, she took on one lover, than another, shared deep beautiful thoughts moments with them all, relishing the ability to do so without the guilt she had become accustomed to. Finally, a world in which she could love Tom, Dick, AND Harry and not have to lie to any of them about. Finally a sophisticated circle of men and women who understood that shades of grey could be managed with respectful and open communication.

The only problem was: she discovered most people did not manage these complex relationships with open OR respectful communication. In fact, she found that most polyamorous people were dicks. Maybe it was just a glitch in the system, maybe just bad luck. But, heady with freedom from "rules" she found her new group of friends more squirelly, more secretive than her past lovers, apt to push boundaries and consistently interested in squirreling out of even the smallest emotional obligations, she grew to feel a certain repugnance towards the movement as a while. And in the end, she became convinced that adults, like children, needed boundaries and discreet choices.

Sometimes one has to make a choice and stick with it, damnit.

That was when she met John. And, looking back now, she marvelled that she had gone that long only loving him. Sure, she had experience transitory crushes, sure she had lusted and covetted. But these were brief thoughts, usually symbollic and generally hormonal, and she always found herself returning, relieved,  to the incredible, solid, universe they occupied.

And yet here she found herself, once again, orbiting two distinct planets, oscillating in emotions, and completely fine, on some level, with the dichotomy.

She couldn't deny that she was, every day, falling more and more Max. She was stunned by their compatibility, amazed at how little so many of the horrible, annoying character traits she had always assumed would annoy her, consume her with jealousy, actually proved an issue. She was almost free, for the first time in her life, from her consuming self awareness when she was with him. And she was absorbed in many deeply erotic ways.

But she wasn't sure how much of this had to do with the fact that she wasn't any closer to getting over John. In fact, as she spent more time with Max, she found the nostalgic, personal feeling of attachment for John bubbling to the surface more and more. She didn't desire so much as yearn for him. She was finding herself intensely protective of their shared memories, all that they had been through together.

But maybe that was because she was sure, if John ever knew the whole story, he'd probably never speak to her again.

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