Echoes Shape My Now

When I was fourteen years old, I met a girl. Not just "a girl", mind you, but "the" girl. Her name was Tarisa, and I fell in love with her deeper than I believed I could. So deep was my love that I allowed myself to be steamrolled by her for almost the next decade and a half, and the ghost of what we could have been still haunts me to this day.

You must understand, this was no crush. No puppy love. This was the real thing; Love. My brain produced the chemicals that made it seem like I couldn't live without Tarisa. I was hers.

Unfortunately for me, she was not a good girl. She abused my trust, taunted me, and tested my limits. She held me at a distance, while fooling around with other guys. Still, I declared my love for her, and told her I knew that she loved me, too. Maybe I was a sucker. Maybe I was a fool. All I really knew was that, when it came to Teri, I had tunnel vision. Nothing else mattered but her.

Within a year, I had won her, and had my heart broken half a dozen times. I finally washed my hands of her, and even went so far as to switch schools (there were other factors, of course, but she was the major one). I tried to meet other girls, but damned if I didn't compare them all to her... Much to their dismay.

Tarisa, meanwhile, had been sent to another state. I tried to move on, and had other girlfriends. When I was fifteen, I dated a terrific nineteen-year-old who put up with my occasional pining for Tarisa because she believed I could eventually get over her, and she understood how a love that strong can mess with your head. She expressed an interest in taking my virginity, which I resisted until I was sixteen years old. On my sixteenth birthday, I gave myself to her. 

The next day, Tarisa returned to my hometown and left her hairbrush on my doorstep. I knew it was hers, because I could smell her scent, and her auburn hair was entwined in it. As soon as her scent hit my nostrils, I was taken back to that feeling of being adrift in a sea of love. It was like a switch was thrown. My attention was splintered, my ability to relate to my current girlfriend was shattered. I acted like a fool, and was deservedly dumped a week later.

So I went out with Tarisa. 

It was a bad idea. She was still having problems. She was still playing with my emotions. Her return into my life that time was brief, and then she was gone again and I was left hating her and loving her all at once.

Again, I dated others. I was in a band and had lots of girlfriends as a result of it. None of them took my mind off of Tarisa. Some of them figured out that I was still comparing everyone to Tarisa. I had never even kissed Tarisa (believe it or not), but no matter what any other girl did, I was still obsessed with Teri. Part of what made me attractive to them was that I had evolved a style that was an amalgam of Tarisa and a few others, so the irony was that by falling in love with me, my girlfriends were falling in love with Tarisa as I perceived her, just as they were hating her for screwing up my brain so much. 

Nobody could hang onto me for long, or wanted to, because I was always missing her. All the while, I resented that I felt this way, and tried to hate her. I knew she was bad for me, and I knew I was better off without her. In all that time, I didn't have sex with anybody, even after losing my virginity.

When I was eighteen, Tarisa came back again, and tricked me into meeting her. I tried to be mean and arrogant. I tried to turn her away. Instead, I ended up going home with her and having one of the most wonderful, romantic nights of my life. We took a bath together, and then made love. Even though I physically lost my virginity two years prior to that night, I knew that my real virginity was going to the woman I had always intended to have it... And I had no regrets.

We dated for a year after that, and had a wonderful time together. It was perfect, in my eyes. I decided I wanted to marry her (in all honesty, I knew that even when I was fourteen years old). I sold some of my musical equipment and bought her a ring, and was going to wait for our anniversary just a short time later to make it official.

And then I caught her cheating on me. At the time, this was devastating. She ran off, without much warning, with a coke-fiend who abused her, impregnated her, and eventually married her. My heart was broken once again.

I eventually started dating a few people, but I couldn't take my mind off Tarisa. This time, however, it was the heartbreak that I dwelled upon. I spent over a year feeling this way, and then one day I got a call.

Yes. Tarisa.

She and her husband had split up, and she wondered if I'd like to get together. What do you think I said?

Yeah. I said yes. 

Thus our relationship continued, only this time I refused to commit to her. I loved her more than I could describe in words, but I didn't trust her anymore. Her husband had tried to kill her and the baby, and ended up in prison. While he was serving time, I was serving Tarisa. 

Crass, I know. But it's the truth. We slept together, but I could never bring myself to ask her for a commitment again. I was terrified of the possibility of having my heart broken one more time by the person who meant the most to me in the entire world, and so I remained on the edge of her world, never giving myself over completely.

Eventually, I started seeing someone else seriously, and my visits to Tari's apartment ended. It wasn't long after that when I learned that she was seeing someone, too. 

My relationship ended. Hers continued. Where I was unwilling to help her raise the son of the man who caused me so much heartache and sorrow, this new guy was ready and willing to play daddy. I never got her back. He eventually married her. 

Again, I dated others, and eventually I married (that's a whole other story). That was fifteen years ago, and still, there hasn't been a single day of my life that passed without my longing to be with Tarisa. Two years after I got married, she contacted me and we caught up. She sent me nude photos, but I was told not to take them as any sort of invitation. I decided that I could deal with that, and we allowed ourselves to be friends.

However, I hated her husband. Hated him for stealing her. Hated him for being the one to make her happy. Hated him because I knew him before she did, and I knew him to be a slimeball who lies to get what he wants. I was unable to cope with friendship because I knew he was lingering, reading my emails over her shoulder, and limiting her responses. She admitted as much. Our friendship was strained. We parted ways three more times, each time reestablishing contact when she wrote to me, only to lose it again.

The last time I spoke to her we had a fight which was gleefully stoked by her husband. He insulted me in her name, and then sat back and watched as I reacted and hurt her feelings. Before I realized what was happening, Tarisa and I were through-- for good this time-- and she swore never to contact me again.

In the four years since that confrontation and loss, I haven't been able to shake her. I still check out her website every once in a while to see how she's doing. I get little victories every once in a while when she refers to me in web quizzes, like the one which asked her what she'd do differently if she could go back in time and she answered that she would not have ditched me when we were eighteen, or the ones where she refers to me as the love of her life. 

Meanwhile, my marriage has not been as good as hers, and I'm jealous of that. I used to dream of what it would have been like if I had asked her to marry me before her current husband. I wonder still if she would have turned on me yet again, in marriage... but I also know I will always forgive her, because love makes me blind. 

I do not obsess over her now. I don't talk to her. I try not to look at pictures of her... but I can't bring myself to destroy all my pictures of her, either. I need Tarisa to be a part of me, even if it's only the idealized echo of her that resonates in what's left of my heart. I cling to long-dead dreams. . 

Stevie Nicks says it best:

Something in my heart died last night

Just one more chip off an already broken heart

I think the heart broke long ago

That's when I needed you

When I needed you most

That's when I needed you

When I needed you most

I run around like a spirit in flight

Fearlessness is fearlessness

I will not forget this night

Dare my wild heart

Dare my wild heart

Where is the reason

Don't blame it on me

Blame it on my wild heart

As to the seasons

You fought from the beginning

Long before I knew it

There was a danger

And the danger was

To fall in love

In dark sorrow

They gaze down into the darkest heart

If I leave you

You say not even you can tear us apart

Say you're leaving

You say you don't even know

How to to to start

Well...believe it then

And don't blame it on my soul

Blame it on my wild heart

Ooo...on my wild heart...Ooo

Fire on fire...rain on my face

Fever goes higher...what can you do

Wild in the darkest places of your mind

That's where I needed you

Where I needed you most

That's where I needed you

Where I needed you most


 When we met, Tarisa had the wild heart. Now, here in the end, her heart is tamed and mine has become wild, broken, and heavy. I can say with all honesty that, despite our fierce love for one another, Tarisa destroyed me. The man that remains is but a shell of the boy she met all those years ago. Everything bright-eyed and beautiful about me died when I lost her... And the person that remains is but an echo of an idealized past.

 That's why I say now that love is either just a form of insanity, or a disease that devours you from the inside. 


deleted deleted
Mar 2, 2009