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Only Human


Friday, March 31st, 2023


I hear the doves cooing outside my window, I see the trees blossoming with their pretty white flowers, and I feel the heat rising for the spring, and I love them all for it. They remind me of a time with fewer worries. One when I only cared for catching fireflies and watching the stars.

I didn’t have to worry about making sure a woman’s heart skipped a beat when it came to her interest, or an ick I might give her I’ve never heard of. I didn’t have to worry about the drama that surrounds people from every side, nor me being “too much” or “too little” of a man. I didn’t have to worry about how poorly I’ve been treated, how I’ve treated others in the same stretch, or how utterly damaged I’ve grown over such a short time span.

As I reflect, I notice my concerns … these petty little pathetic things … revolve around people. Surely, there must be more to my entire life than the affairs and regards of others. As I write that sentence, I wonder if my disdain is palpable. If it’s not, it should be.

It’s like I want to hold on to this strange desire for companionship, but I can feel its light dimming inside my chest, slowly suffocated by a flood of contempt, strangled by the grip of pain, and seared by the brand of my past wounds. It’s like something important pulling away from me in the dark, though I can’t see it in order to grasp a hold of it. Like drinking the last drop of fresh water amidst nothing but a sea of salt, or like being stranded on an island and watching helplessly as my salvation silently drifts away from me.

They’re only people, I find myself thinking. Human, just like me. Each filled with some amount of beauty, flaw, gifts, dreams, and insecurity; a testament that there’s not a single one out there who’s perfect. And so, if we’re human, which implies imperfection, then surely my own fulfillment will come only from me.

That’s my burden to bear, though I wish with all my heart I could simply thrust it onto another person as they do. But, again, they’re only human. A woman might send chills across my skin, or make my pupils dilate and my nerves hard, but then I remember we share the same sun, breathe the same air, and see the same stars.

Yes, only human.

And if all people want is an arbiter to pit against their problems, whose solutions they’ve only tried to solve with nothing but pleasure and ignorance, then I’ll gladly make my peace without them.

I hear the doves, I see the flowers, and I feel the warmth. They remind me of my childhood. A time when I only cared for copying my father and watching drive-in movies. A time I know has been replaced by this imitation I’m trapped inside. One long wrested by a species of man and woman unknown to me.

My, dear God. I long to catch those fireflies; the same ones I keep in my memories. I long to hear those same doves and smell those same flowers. For those same warm nights below the stars and that same excitement before the movies. To see that same look on my father’s face and to hear his same laugh as I mimic him. Maybe then, I could remember what it was like to be free—from not only my toils, but of those around me.

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