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  • Reading: Bonobo Handshake
  • Eating: Spaghetti
  • Drinking: Yuengling Lager
I have been chasing her since I was young. Her hair is long and usually curled, often light but sometimes dark. Her name has been Ashleigh and it's been Elizabeth. It's been Aubrey and it's been Christine. It's been Zoe, Nicole, De-Laine, Deidre, Diane, Debra, Amy, Becky, Andrea, Elise, Lisa, Shari, Carol, and twenty others I can't recall. I know her by her eyes, and specifically by that look. It's the look that gives her away. She is The One, and this is her story, not mine.

I met her in the fourth grade. She couldn't stand me then, when her name was Christine, but she was at least as smart as I was – smarter, in fact - and not afraid to correct me when I was wrong. We butted heads, hard, and she won. I was hooked for the rest of my life.

I don't believe there is one perfect person for everyone, that there is someone that is somehow meant for me or you or her. I don't believe in fate or predestination, that any of us is any more special than any other of us. We are simply accidents of physics and chemistry and biology and chance, on a backwater planet in an average galaxy, and the universe is indifferent to our existence.

We've been lovers many times, and she's broken my heart at least a dozen. I've broken hers more times than I care to confess. We have been friends, and we have been enemies, occasionally in the same day, but sometimes we've just been acquaintances. Sometimes I haven't even met her in person. She has been my elder, but usually my junior, my protege more often than my mentor. She infuriates me as often as she infatuates me, and I am in the habit of pissing her off. She is beautiful and she is brilliant, incredibly strong and impossibly vulnerable. She teaches me as much as she learns from me, and inspires me to strive to be a better human being. She is gentle and she is violent, caring for me and careless of me. And every time we meet, she brings music to my life. She has introduced me to Bach, Chopin, and David Gray, to Ella and Enya, Eric and Enigma, Madonna and Lady Gaga. The music is as much a beacon as her eyes, though it's ever-changing. Always there is music. If there is music in my life, she is not far away, but the music leaves only an impression when she is gone, like a shadow without an owner. There is no music today.

We have made love in her marriage bed, and fucked each other's brains out in mine. We've yet to do it in one we call ours – I doubt we'll ever marry. We have drunkenly defiled a family campground, soberly sanctified an airport parking lot, and broken a window, a door, two beds, three lamps and a windshield to my recollection. There was a TV once, but that wasn't our fault. We scared the hell out of four horses one time, and nearly got arrested in a graveyard another. I don't even know how many cars we've messed around in, driver's seat and passenger's, back seat, hood, on the trunk and even in it once. The cars have not always been at rest. I can't begin to count the bruises or estimate the amount of blood we've drawn.

I have heard her whisper my name just behind my ear, and I've heard the tree limbs whisper hers. I've tugged her hair gently in public, and yanked it 'til she cried in private. I wrap my fist in it any time she lets me. She knows what that does for me. She gives me consent without permission, and she has the same from me. I take what I need from her, and she steals what she desires in return. We are sometimes codependent, usually spoken for, and often mutually toxic.

I have had many intimate names for her over the years. She answers to D. and to Lover, to Alcyone and to Sweetheart, to her middle name and to her title. She holds a Ph. D, and is working on two others, just finished her Bachelor's and is almost done her Associate's. I often call her Dr., and sometimes call her bitch. I love her when she's with me, hate her when she leaves, and miss her when she's gone, all with equal desperation.

She asked me to read Darwin to her on the beach just a month ago, and she canceled dinner plans with me just this past Tuesday. I was enraptured by the way her brain works in February, and she was enthralled with mine before the turn of this century. She explored my body in a park when I was nineteen, and I explored hers in the ocean.

This woman, the one I call The One... She is not a person, really, but an idea, an ad-hoc mixture of people, pieces of her scattered throughout at least fifty women over the course of my life, across thousands of miles of interstate highway and lonely country road. She is a dream and she is a nightmare. When we are not together, she sometimes comes in the morning, when I've fallen back asleep like she did this morning, or in the afternoons when I lay down for a long summer nap like she did last week. She is an impending tornado, and the eye of a hurricane. She is always just around the corner.

She is severely pissed off at me just now, but it's hardly the first time. She threw a ball bat at me once in '97, and a beer bottle at me in '86. We always make up though, and she carried our child in 2000. We lost the baby through no fault of our own – independent assortment and genetic inheritance can be a mother fucker sometimes.

I suspect we will see each other again.

I recently wrote, "I choose to live passionately, to embrace life with a fire, to love so intensely that separation physically hurts. The cost of this life is that endings rip out my guts, and I pay on my way out. The ante is high, but it's worth the price of admission." She is the reason I choose to live this way.

She is The One, and this is her story, not mine.