Something old and something new

via Lecture

I don’t mean to lecture so I’ll keep this brief.

Balance in your life is what makes happiness an overarching theme. Balance is what I strive for.

Finding a balance in my life is hard, and I use many different ways to understand myself better to understand how to live a more healthy life in a holistic way.  Some of those ways include a lot of old practices that have been done by many people of many cultures for a very long time; divination, journaling of a more intuitive/emotional nature, and interpreting my dreams (when I have them and when they’re relevant at least, because who wants to interpret why I went rollerblading indoors?).

I was wondering if those of you lovely people who follow me would like it if I documented the spiritualistic side of myself as well? I’d love feedback from you all, so please leave a comment and tell me what you think. That way I can give you more varied content that still sticks to the theme of the blog, self-understanding, and documentation of my life.

Thanks for contributing to making this blog better,

Ta An

The Companion Pt. V (Final)

Bit by bit when he realized Giovanni wouldn’t suddenly attack him and demand sex, would never demand anything of him, Henry eventually relaxed. Their times in their corner of the library resettled into its comfortable silence. Books passed between them without any awkward hesitation when their hands touched accidentally. If Giovanni’s heart sped up every time that happened he didn’t speak of it. He didn’t want to cross any boundaries that Henry had, and he had to wait to find out what they were. But it didn’t matter. He could wait.

Henry started to smile more, talk more.

He seemed to let Giovanni in past the high walls of his usual reserved behavior and let him see what was inside. In the small alcove of the library Henry started to open up, telling Giovanni the truth he so hesitantly but hopefully offered.

He explained all the failed relationships, ‘No one wanted to try to understand,’ he had said in a quiet voice. All the bitter partings that always followed him explaining his lack of interest in sex.

“They thought I didn’t care.”

And worst of all, the one person he had found that he thought understood one day had a fit. Saying Henry was a tease for wanting the occasional kiss and for not realizing how tempting some of his actions were. Giovanni silently agreed that Henry was tempting, Giovanni was constantly tempted to pick Henry up and hold him close, breathe him in, but he couldn’t agree with the idea that it was somehow a fault of his. Henry told Giovanni the way he could feel his heart breaking as his partner threw him out and refused to speak to him again. Giovanni felt such a strong need to comfort Henry as a loss and hurt filled his big brown eyes that he could ignore the nerves that seemed to be his constant companions, and laid a hand over Henry’s silently. Letting him take as much time as he needed to remember that it was in the past. This new silence that hung between them seemed to grow lighter after Henry’s words and Henry smiled as if telling someone all of his troubles was the best thing he could have done. It almost made Giovanni forget the hopeless look on Henry’s face earlier.

Almost.

Giovanni silently vowed to himself he would never allow another person to put that look on Henry’s face ever again.

And still Giovanni stayed, after every story that Henry told him he would remind his friend he had been bold enough to ask Henry if he could call him that and had never felt more happy when Henry had agreed that he was content with just his company. The occasional brushing of hands when they exchanged books.

Just being his companion was enough.

 

On their fifty-third meeting, exactly three months after they first met, yes Giovanni still counted, Henry rested his hand on Giovanni’s thigh and leaned in to kiss his cheek.

Giovanni was struck dumb.

He could feel the softness of Henry’s lips on his skin and he was sure his face was bright red. He would remember the moment vividly. The soft yellow light of the library lamps, the sweet scent of honeysuckle and something that was uniquely Henry. The reassuring weight of Henry’s hand on his leg, The soft rustle of pages being turned and the quiet calm of the library. It would all be ingrained in his memory.

Henry simply went back to reading with a pleased little smile on his lips, finally trusting that Giovanni would never push him for more than he was ready. Giovanni was beyond happy. His heart swelled with love for this man who had become so dear to him in such a short time, just from little things that wormed their way into Giovanni’s affections. Like the adorable way Henry would frown when he disagreed with something he read and the way his eyes would light up every time he had a new recommendation for Giovanni.

Giovanni had realized he was in love with his friend on their thirty-seventh meeting after Henry’s usual, ‘hello, my friend,’ had made Giovanni yearn to hear that phrases for the rest of his life. He wanted to see Henry in his chair waiting for Giovanni to join him, share his time with him. And now he knew he also would die a happy man if he got to be kissed, so sweetly, by Henry every day until he stopped breathing. It was a deep need to be around this man that made him realize the heaviness of his heart was an amount of love he had never thought himself capable of.

But still, the way his heart was pounding from the chaste kiss would take some time to get used to. He focused on the leather of the chair, the hush of footsteps on the library carpet, and tried to calm his heart. It was worth it, any kiss from Henry was worth the slight overwhelming feeling that followed.

And they continued like that for months, eventually meeting outside the library. Going to the park to watch the birds in companionable silence; the park bench was painted black and there were daisies blooming in the fields Giovanni remembered. Sitting in coffee shops, a small intimate table by the window where they could see the people passing by, speaking in low, soft  tones about whatever book had caught their interest.

One day, in their corner of the library where the window was closed because of the fall breeze turning too cold to be comfortable, Henry set down his book and turned his chair so he was facing Giovanni straight on. His serious, handsome face was sincere as he spoke.

“My thoughts and words are yours to share as my friend. But now you are more than a friend. You, who are so kind and good to me, can have this.” Henry pointed to the center of his chest, towards the heart of everything he was Giovanni thought. His heart. His soul. The library seemed to fade away, all that mattered was Henry.

“You can’t have my body but this I offer to you, my companion.”

Giovanni only nodded, laid his hand over Henry’s and murmured a barely audible but heartfelt thank you. It was the most beautiful moment Giovanni had ever known.

Giovanni thought finally, he had found his life companion.

It wasn’t until they had been living together for years, as close as two people could be in Giovanni’s small apartment that seemed perfectly sized for the two of them, that Henry kissed Giovanni on the lips.

It was Giovanni’s thirty fifth birthday, and their one hundred and fifth visit to their library.

Later that day, on the picnic that Giovanni had dreamed about so long ago with the breeze blowing gently around them and the sun warming their shoulders, Giovanni proposed to Henry.  When Henry had whispered in a voice laden with unspoken words of affection, ‘yes,’ Giovanni stopped counting their meetings.

It was only logical, he thought. After all, they would have the rest of their lives. It made much more sense to Giovanni to start counting something else.

Like the first time he said ‘I love you.’

 

Apricot Jam

via Puzzled

That morning I woke to the sight of mist.

It covered everything, it was within and without. The bed is warm and the room is cold, pale sunlight creeps in. When I finally rise, slowly as if I had become the mist moving quietly over the mountain, I look out my window. Seeing the solemn scene of trees and rock, hearing the depthless silence. I feel such peace here, in the stolen moments when no one and nothing imposes itself upon my attention.

The breakfast table has a clean white cloth, and the basket of bread, a teapot, a jar of apricot jam, a delicate china cup. Quaint. That’s the word that came to mind as I scraped the jam over the warm bread, my favorite jam, a part of the experience of the mountain in Dalaba that remains with me. A memory from my childhood that has faded and softened but has endured.

We walked to the courtyard, my beloved brother and I, and I saw the great tree embedded in the stone. The mist can be seen stretching out beyond the horizon from there, trees and branches are shadows within the grey sea.

It’s so lonely to look out at the expanse, so full of immense solitude.

The mist leaves me to puzzle all the riddles of my life, but is patient. Kind.

I could spend my life here and be content.

This is a memory I will keep for a lifetime, a mountain, apricot jam, and mist.

The Companion Pt. IV

It was their twenty second meeting that Giovanni finally worked up the nerve to ask Henry if he would like to go out for a cup of coffee. His fingers were shaking from his nervousness so he clasped them together and waited for Henry’s response. He wanted to see something else besides the same golden walls and dark wood bookshelves when he spoke to Henry. He wanted to be able to talk with Henry in a setting where his voice didn’t seem like an intrusion.

Henry had gone completely still.

His voice was hard and defensive as he looked Giovanni straight in the eyes and said, quite clearly so there would be no mistake,

“No.”

Giovanni felt his heart clench painfully at the instant rejection, in fact it felt like suddenly there was no air to breathe. Icy fingers seemed to grab hold of his lungs as his mind ran through about all the possible reasons that caused Henry to say no.

But he only nodded. He started counting the books on the shelf beside him as he tried to calm down and not panic.

He could be happy with their little meetings in the library.

Henry stayed tense for the entirety of time Giovanni remained and eventually Giovanni said goodbye, leaving the library so Henry could read in peace.

He didn’t want to ruin whatever fragile bond they had over a cup of coffee and his own quiet fantasies of intimacy beyond the library walls.

 

Giovanni didn’t talk much, if at all, the next few weeks as they met in their same corner of the library. The air was tense between them where before it had been almost intimate, comfortable, and Giovanni just prayed he hadn’t messed things up to badly with his foolishness. The silence of the library seemed to slowly become less tense between them as the days go on.

It was Henry who decided to speak first.

“I don’t feel desire, I don’t crave physical intimacy. At all.”

He spoke slowly and carefully like he always did then flinched, as if expecting Giovanni to rage and lash out.

Giovanni thought over the statement quietly, not sure what to feel. What to think. Had he thought about being intimate with Henry? Yes. Had it given him an elevated heart rate caused by slight panic? Yes. But Henry didn’t want intimacy at all.

“I don’t understand.” Was the best he could come up with.

Henry seemed to relax, only slightly, at the calmly spoken question. His arms that had gripped the arms of the leather chair now rested loosely in his lap as he seemed to think over Giovanni’s question. Giovanni’s calm surprised him. But eventually, he spoke in that slow, thoughtful way of his.

“My body. I don’t want to share it with anyone. It is mine. I don’t feel comfortable sharing something so personal.” His face was thoughtful, with a little crease between his brows that always appeared when he was discussing something he found difficult to put into words. “I don’t want to give my body to anyone. I just don’t.”

Giovanni took it all in, his mind going quickly from one thought to another discarding comment after comment when he judged them too rude or too ignorant sounding. He wanted to ask so many questions, to clear up the confusion he felt when he tried to grapple with what Henry had told him. But he didn’t think it would be appropriate at the time. Eventually he settled on what he hoped was the least offensive statement running through his mind.

“I won’t ask you to share your body. But I would like to be close to you. Is that alright?”

Henry watched him warily. It made Giovanni’s heart ache to imagine what could have made Henry so afraid to share this part of himself. But he waited, letting Henry think over his answer for as long as he liked.

“Yes. It’s alright.”

And they left it at that, both wanting to say more but not knowing how. Questions hanging between them made the silence heavy.

 

Giovanni remained the same quiet reading partner he had always been.

He took time when he was at home to do research on people like Henry, asexuals, and tried to understand. The small apartment he had to himself seemed to be filled with his fantasies of Henry. Innocent musings, just holding Henry’s hand or a picnic under a tree where they spent the day together.

All he wanted was to be close to Henry.

He would respect whatever boundaries Henry needed no matter how much he might want more. He didn’t need access to his body for that, a realization he came to as he reviewed their conversation, again, at 4 a.m. in the morning as he lay awake. The bed seemed empty and he wondered what it would be like if he could hold Henry in his arms as he slept. Henry would fit into his life like a puzzle piece. He’d fill all the empty spaces in Giovanni’s life, and Giovanni could only hope he could do the same for Henry. Restless his mind refused to let the idea rest. It simply kept repeating in his head over and over until he couldn’t deny the truth of it. Even after his conversation with Henry, there was one thing that was clear.

He didn’t need sex.

He just needed Henry.

 

 

The Companion Pt. III

It was simply a miracle of fate, or so Giovanni thought, that one day they happened to bump into each other on the library’s stone steps on their way out of the library after their eighth meeting, the wrought iron railing between them. Giovanni wondered if he could count this as their ninth meeting even though it was on the same day.

Henry had straightened his jacket and nodded to Giovanni, and didn’t offer a complaint when Giovanni caught up to walk beside him for a few blocks. After his customary few moments needed to gather his courage, of course.  Never mind that Giovanni lived in the opposite direction, he could find a bus back to his apartment.

There was a breeze that rustled the leaves of the trees lining the path they took. It teased Henry’s hair and a few dark locks fell over his brow. Giovanni felt unable to look away from the image Henry’s handsome profile and mussed hair provided.  The sounds of their footsteps on the pavement gave Giovanni something to count, something to focus on so he wouldn’t get to overwhelmed by being so close to Henry in what he considered an informal setting.

The butterflies in his stomach from walking with Henry made him feel almost light headed but he found it to be a good kind of feeling.

They walked in silence for a few minutes before Giovanni thought he noticed tension gathering in Henry’s shoulders. It was then Giovanni realized perhaps, even though he simply wanted to spend more time with Henry, it was too forward of him to walk Henry home. He mumbled something about a forgotten appointment, wished Henry a quiet ‘good day,’ and turned to head home.

He walked so fast, trying to escape the embarrassment of his overzealousness, that he almost didn’t hear Henry’s soft,

“Thank you.”

His heart was pounding all the way home.

On their fourteenth meeting, Henry smiled at Giovanni.

It was a small upturning of the corners of his mouth, but to Giovanni it was the most sincere and warmest smile. It seemed to light up their small corner of the library and Giovanni was blinded by its beauty.

All because Giovanni had remembered the book Henry had been reading the last time they’d met at the library. He only remembered because that day their chairs had been closer together than usual and Giovanni hadn’t been able to look away from Henry, taking in everything about him. From the gentle slope of his neck as it met his shoulders, the slight curve of his spine as he sunk back into the cozy leather chair, to the book in his hands.

Giovanni wondered what it would be like to have Henry hold his hand in the same delicate way he held the copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra.

 

 

The Companion Pt. II

The next time Giovanni was in the library he looked for the man, looked between the book stacks and checking the cubicles used by the occasional student to study. Looked for the curly dark hair and round tortoiseshell glasses that he only vaguely remembered, most of his attention having been fixed on the man’s hands. He found him in a far corner of the library.

Tucked away between the historical nonfiction and autobiographies, the dark hue books complimenting his honey-colored skin, he was running his slender fingers over the books as if they were old friends. It took Giovanni five whole minutes after seeing that strangely beautiful sight to work up the nerve to enter the same aisle. The man looked at him for a moment but said nothing. Another five minutes and Giovanni turned to him and uttered a very quiet, even shaky, “Hello.” The man simply stared at him with the same intense focus as before as he nodded. No return hello, no smile, no change in his placid expression on his subtly handsome face. Just a slight curiosity in the depths of his eyes.

But it was enough for Giovanni.

Giovanni went through a process every time they met in the library. They would meet in their corner, hidden away in their leather chairs angled just so until they could both see each other when they looked up from their books. The scent of honeysuckle drifting through the slightly cracked window along with the late evening sun.

They would spend hours in comfortable silence, reading, getting lost in their own little worlds. Occasionally they would speak in hushed tones, only a few words here and there about their readings, respectful of the library’s quiet.

But before all of this was his battle to get a greeting out.

Taking his time to calm his nerves enough to manage a hello. Maybe a few sentences on a good day asking how he’d been and what he was reading. And the man, who on their sixth meeting Giovanni had been counting revealed his name was Henry, would more often than not stay silent, reserved, and simply listen. When he did speak, Henry’s voice was low and his words were slow coming. He seemed to measure every word before he spoke. Giovanni liked his thoughtfulness.

He treasured Henry’s rare words.

He tucked them away, deep in his mind where they would be safe. He poured over them again and again when he lay in bed at night. Thinking of Henry.

The dark made Henry’s words seem to glow in the moonlight streaming through Giovanni’s windows.

 

 

The Coffee Shop Pt. V (Final)

via Evoke

There once were two men who sat at the same table in a coffee shop every morning.

7:15 to be exact.

The sweet and soft love they evoked in each other had grown over months and months of a routine that allowed them to get to know each other. They had taken their time, slowly learning the nuances of each other’s personalities. Finding ways to compromise their differences and ways to be happy together

They laughed at little inside jokes, and the gentle, fond teasing spoke of a comfort with each other that they couldn’t hide.

If the barista asked, “What would you like today?”

The small man in glasses could respond, “The same as always but with more closeness,” or “My regular and nothing else.” They had a system set up to navigate the man’s boundaries.

And it worked.

Some days they held hands across the table and relished in the small but cherished contact. Some days they each stayed on their own side of the table and yet the love between them was still as evident.

Those who went to the coffee shop found the couple adorable and the old women would whisper and giggle to themselves as they watched on. The younger men ignored the couple unless it was to watch on enviously, wishing they could have a partner to love them as much as the couple obviously loved each other.

The couple, as it turns out, ignored them all.

They only had eyes for each other.

Because after all, they were in their own little corner of the coffee shop, their own world where the only other person that seemed to exist was the person they loved.

Coffee Shop Pt. IV

via Carve

“Who was that Ari.” Cameron asked quietly as he watched his friend dry himself off. He didn’t yell, he didn’t accuse or assume. But the questions carved into his tongue needed to be set free.

“That was David, someone who I had assumed was my friend. But it turns out he just wanted to sleep with me.” Ari admitted, his eyes not raising from the ground as he spoke. He seemed to be curling into himself. Going back to that seemingly impenetrable blank reserve. Cameron didn’t know how to stop it.

“I’m demisexual. I don’t want sex, only if I’m very attached to a person. And even then maybe not.” Finally Ari raised his eyes to meet Cameron’s. Seemingly checking for Cameron’s reaction.

Cameron was silent.

He had known he’d have to be very, very patient to be close to Ari. He had known it would be worth it. But Ari never wanted sex. Cameron would admit he’d had quiet fantasies that still made him blush in the light of day, but now they all were impossible.

Was it still worth it?

He could walk out right now, leave Ari alone and start over with someone new who could have sex and want the same things Cameron wanted.

But they wouldn’t be Ari.

“I won’t pretend I understand, but okay. We’ll work it out. David had no right to do that to you just because you don’t like sex. No one has the right to treat you badly because of that.” Cameron said slowly after a moment, his heart breaking when he saw the surprise and tears in Ari’s eyes at his answer. How many people must have rejected him for acceptance to have this effect on him?

“Come here, don’t cry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.” Cameron gently pulled Ari into his arms and cradled him against his chest, letting the smaller man cry. If he got tears on his shirt that was okay.

Ari was worth it.

The Coffee Shop Pt. III

via Undulate

Winter came and Ari and Cameron still met in the coffee shop every morning.

Ari suprised Cameron by ordering hot chocolate one day instead of coffee and Cameron felt his heart jump at the playful look in Ari’s usually serious eyes.

“Don’t tell me I’m not allowed to change my order now, I might have to talk to your manager.”

When Ari became comfortable with Cameron the barista realized he was actually a very mischevious and playful person behind his usual reserved demeanor. The teasing edge to Ari’s voice was barely noticable to Cameron for it’s subtle presence but the faint smile on Ari’s lips was enough.

Ari himself thought the flustered look on Cameron’s face whenever he teased the barista was priceless and finally admitted to himself that maybe, just maybe..

He had a crush on Cameron.

Neither of them had admitted the feelings they had for each other, the shy barista and the even shyer student seemingly content to have their coffee and day dream about holding hands and even a kiss or two.

But they had their routine interrupted by a man from Ari’s university storming into the cafe and walking up to their table. Without a word he grabbed Ari’s hot chocolate and dumped it over his head.

“You’re a heartless bastard.”

Ari was still in shock, the warm (thankfully not hot) liquid dripping down his shirt. The entire small shop was silent- waiting to see how the drama would unfold.

Cameron was surprised but only for a moment. He got up to stand in front the student and glared at him, the barista’s average physique still enough to outweigh the skinny boy.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” He struggled to stay polite even though he wanted to yell at this person who dared lay a hand on his Ari.

“No. He strung me along for weeks and now he’s here, screwing the goddamn coffee guy!”

“David-” Ari started quietly, an embarrassed flush on his cheeks from all the attention his ex friend was causing with his little fit. “I never said I wanted to date you. You assumed.”

“We were together all the time. We slept in the same bed–”  Cameron stepped into David’s personal space and repeated himself, ignoring the questions raising in him knowing he had to care of Ari before he started asking.

“Please leave, now. You’re not wanted here.”

David was a surprisingly handsome man with dark hair and a sharp jaw. But there was a selfishness in his baby blue eyes that made it hard for Ari to find him attractive. He glared at them both before turning to walk out of the cafe slamming the door behind him, belatedly looking self conscious with the stares of the entire cafe on him.

Cameron went to Ari and held out his hand to his friend. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”

Ari took his hand and let himself be lead to the back where Cameron started grabbing towels. He took a towel and wiped his face, trying to stall. Anything to keep him from having to answer the questions written all over Cameron’s face.

Ari didn’t want their routine to end if he gave Cameron answers he didn’t like.

But what choice did he have other than to tell the truth?

He could only hope it wouldn’t drive Cameron away and leave him alone.

Again.

Every relationship Ari had ended up undulating like waves, up and down. Never steady like he wanted them to be.

Maybe he had been better off with his routine before.

At least you can’t disappoint yourself.

 

 

The Coffee Shop Pt. II

via Brilliant

Ari and Cameron had coffee together every day together for about a week before Ari started to open up a bit.

They sat at the same table and enjoyed the quiet for a few moments before Cameron started gently prodding Ari to speak a bit more, not insistently but patient enough that Ari felt comfortable talking.

It turned out Ari was nonbinary but used he/him pronouns. He didn’t want to be confined to things like gender when he was so much more than that as a person and Cameron could respect that. Cameron was curious about his reasoning and they once spent a whole day at their small table discussing gender and social constructs until Ari had to run realizing had an evening class he had almost been late for. It was one of Cameron’s favorite days because he’d been able to see the way Ari’s eyes grew darker and depthless as the sun stopped shining in them, and saw the way he lit up with his passion for talking about gender and societal structures.

One thing Cameron found was that Ari was brilliant.

He was working on a Ph.D. for linguistics at the private university downtown and he could speak at least three languages. He spoke Spanish, French, and admitted his Arabic was still a bit rusty.

Cameron thought the sheepish smile that graced his face was the most adorable thing he’d seen in a while.

Ari had thin, gold wire glasses that seemed almost too big for his delicate androgynous face. Lashes that were thick and long framed his forest green and there was a mole beneath his right eye. A light sprinkling of freckles and unruly ginger hair made Ari himself the most beautiful and cute person Cameron had ever spoken to.

Cameron admitted to himself the third time he caught himself staring at Ari as he sipped his coffee that he was smitten.

They spoke about almost everything in the course of the next couple of months, slowly learning about each other until they shared inside jokes and a unique blend of Ari’s dry humor and Cameron’s fondness for puns. They learned each other’s favorite pastry and that Ari was allergic to peanuts.

As the sky got darker quicker the closer they got to the winter months, their little corner of the coffee shop turned too cold. They moved to a booth at the back of the shop where they seemed to cut off from the rest of the open space.

Cameron found he liked having Ari to himself, even more, with all the small smiles and the cute way he giggled with little snorts hidden behind his hand. His favorite was the bright red blush that colored his cheeks inevitable every time afterward when Ari realized he’d snorted in front of the kind barista.

Yeah, Cameron was definitely smitten.

%d bloggers like this: