It had been only a few weeks since a previous relationship, so I was hesitant, but really I couldn’t resist.

I literally swept myself off my feet.

I wasn’t the easiest person to get to know. I was guarded, the restless type, still trying to figure myself out. But I told myself, “I was worth it.”

Besides, the sex was incredible. I got it anytime I was in the mood, no foreplay no cuddling necessary. I knew exactly what I wanted.

What was difficult was explaining the relationship to my friends and family. Apparently, I wasn’t “good enough” for them. They pictured me with someone more “ambitious, more distinct” from myself, but I told them they didn’t know the “real me.” The me that was there for me when I was sick, that held my hair for me when I was drunk and puking out my life, that sang to me at night, that never judged me or made me feel like I was someone’s ornament instead of a prize.

We moved away to Arizona, the desert, where no one knew us or would try to tell us what to do.

My memories of the desert is the rain. The summertime haboobs, the apocalyptic dust storms, the rare outbursts of tears and lightning rebelling against the sun and heat, those nights spent watching the rain from the patio where I learned to love myself through and through, over and over, in complexity of depth, although of course, in time, that too fell apart.

 


 

Frank Jackson lives in Tempe, Arizona, thinks of Pittsburgh where he was raised as home, and hopes to one day live in a white house. Not the White House, just a white house. He is also an Editor for Weave Magazine.

 

To read more tragicomic reflections on existential self-love, order Four Chambers 01 here