I’m not sure if it hurts more to (still) love him or to realize that I have loved (for years) a potential — which is to say I have loved what is not there — which is to say that in addition to the beautiful brutal mess that is loving a human being I had constructed a parallel reality,
and in this parallel reality I loved a shadow-boy with as much passion and intensity as I loved the real one.
& when the real one was absent or cruel, when the real one faltered or imploded or disappeared, I clung tight to the shadow I had constructed
[loved the stand-in, loved the actor, loved the shadow]
& with all that love this shadow grew — eclipsing my lover as he shrunk into knowing.
& I, left alone in this vast unknowable, am a fool for forgetting that we are not what we say, we are not what we were, we are not what we want to be, we are not what we tell our friends, we are not what we will be, we are not what we pretend to be:
We are what we are.
We are what we do.
“I am not what I am. I am what I do with my hands.”