It came to me like a dream, when she told me she loved me. Not a convincing dream, but a lucid dream. I was aware of the untruth she was telling me.
I had been in love before, so this wasn’t new. My last love, Emma, had truly loved me. We had truly loved each other. It was glorious for a while, but after some time it became serene and beautiful.
Like being dropped from an infinite height on a gorgeous cerulean day.
When you realize you’re falling, it’s a rush unlike anything else. But once you realize the ground isn’t getting any closer to you, you just sort of revel and relax.
You look around, enjoy the act of falling, and before long it turns into something you come to expect.
You expect to still be falling when you wake up each day and sigh with contentment knowing you’ll be falling still after you go to sleep.
You don’t get bored of it by any means, but you do get used to it. It was this comfortable falling that I thought would last forever.
Yes, I am myself in this analogy, but what about Emma? Was she the sky I so admired? Another skydiver with whom I would fall forever? The ground I was falling toward, but never reaching?
The clouds, beautifully floating with me in the same sky? Was I a guest in her space? No. There was a codependence. We needed each other. We gave each other purpose.
I didn’t know for a while, even though I had been contemplating this metaphor for some time. It took her death for me to realize her role.
She wasn’t the ground, she wasn’t the clouds or the sky or another skydiver. No, Emma (and by extension, love) was the gravity.
She was the source of my thrilling and comfortable experience which kept me forever falling. When my gravity died, I came to an abrupt and painful halt. I stopped falling. I was stuck.
I had nothing coming my way and everything behind me. I was as lost as a man could be. Now the ground and the sky and the clouds all mocked me. They were not falling with me anymore.
I was utterly alone.
The difference between Emma and Molly, the woman whom I have been with for a few years now, was that I was still stuck after Molly told me she loved me. I didn’t start falling again.
I felt no different. The salvation which I had hoped was within her was nowhere to be found. I knew it was with Emma and it would never be with Molly. I couldn’t reciprocate that love.
She was not my gravity. So I didn’t say it back. Instead I looked over my shoulder, back at her crying eyes. She was telling me she loved me, over and over again.
She was begging me to step off of the ledge, but I couldn’t. I needed to fall again. I needed to be with Emma.
So I jumped.