Mr. Curry and I fell in love over years and years. When we first met-
I was madly in love with someone else. Or so I thought. The love of my life had to start subversively, like everything else. I was enthralled with my first love, who we'll call J. J and I had met at seventeen, both being mangled by the respective horrors in our households, and we clung to each other's hearts and bodies as only those who are drowning can. We fell as only those who are without wings can fall, into each other with a desperation fueled by young lust and a short lifetime of sorrow.
J's family was disintigrating rapidly. His mother was grossly obese, hooked to a home oxegen machine, two pack a day smoker, bacon and cake eater, pill popper, drinker, a childhood victim of molest by an Uncle. His father was overweight, prostate cancer survivor, bearded and farsighted, furious. We would know he was home every day from the sound of the door slamming and ' GODDAMNIT! ' or maybe ' WHAT THE FUCK!! ' The problem would be a full trash can, a backpack in his way...entering his home, with his children, who he had failed to protect from neither his wife nor himself. J's siblings were both curled inward as tightly as crabs, pinchers out.
I was no happier, no safer, only my family's problems and pain were smoothed cleaner, harder to see underneath the starched white sheets, the floors kept so clean, the furniture polished. My mother was a very good housekeeper.
J. and I swirled around and around each other like small, futile tornadoes, driven like snow flurries into the wild. I wanted anything Wild, but not Dark. The difference was clear to me. The drug dealers in their twenties who lived in the town close to me, the ones who invited me and my fifteen year old girlfriends over for boozing and drugging, the ones who stabbed each other for no reason at all, these men were Dark. I knew Dark, it was in my father's face. It was in the corners of our house at night, bleeding into the middle like a ruptured organ. Dark was in my grandfather's mental illness, his assurance that the owner of Yogurt Heaven was working for the CIA. Wild was different. Wild was something beautiful, something free, something caught up in the open spaces of canyon trembling under the wind,
the sky spreading open in the Ocotilla desert- Wild was what I felt with J. He was not Dark. He was innocent, sweet, despite his heavy metal posters and black leather jacket, despite his long hair and tight Levi's, despite his family, he was not Dark. I was safe with him.
Safe, but not protected. He wouldn't hurt me, but he couldn't stop anything that did.
Very slowly, over years, I realized that J was not only Wild, but muted. He had sacrificed dearly to stay innocent. He had dulled his senses, closed down his eyes, ears, mouth, spoke less and less, mumbled, twitched like a hare caught in a trap in his sleep. He had given up growing up to stay clean inside, to not burn alive in the miserable life of his mother ( who he loved dearly ) beating him with a wooden spoon or his father drinking in the study, or watching his younger sister sit terrified and immobilized with fear when Mom fell down the stairs and burst her head open on the linoleum.
I wanted protection from my pain, my family, my Father, and as I realized how stunted J had let himself become, I grew furious. The fury was terror. I had fooled myself into thinking I was not alone, and I wasn't alone but I was alone in the fight. J had given up, and he was happy to lay still and quiet with me, breathing each other's air, trying to stay safe. I wanted more than that. I wanted to live.