The other day a feeling passed over me and stuck. It spawned a thought concerning past relationships (an ill ground to tread repeatedly, yes, but it is what I have left to keep). My first relationship, even though it failed miserably, there was something there in those first months that was special: the blind innocence, the exploration. I was treading new ground. We were treading new ground.
It is The Fool who leads the Major Arcana of the tarot, and here it is quite fitting: The Fool begins the journey with great intent, great ignorance, great innocence. Every turn in the road is new to him. Every sight, eye-opening. Every experience a life lesson.
And it was with that Fool-like abandon that we learned, we explored our relationship, we loved. The nervousness, the giddiness; I had no idea what I was doing or what I was supposed to be thinking or saying, but I learned. And it’s been a long, long time since I felt that new-ness. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe I’ve seen too much. Maybe I’ve pushed the boundaries too far, and now I seldom brush against them — that’s where the real pleasure of something new exists. My world was small back then, so every boundary was new (my world’s small now, but in a grownup way, I guess). I was a simple boy from Texarkana fumbling into this relationship; and now I’m this jaded adult going on his 9th year without a steady relationship. One night stands are a poor substitute; in them, you have no space to explore, just something “new” and then you move on with no time to savor, learn, and enjoy. Almost no chance to brush the boundaries.
I want to feel that new-ness again, the simmering beneath the surface, the coy smiles, the exploration, the trial and error. Can I feel that? Can I go back to the beginning? I feel this burden to already have it figured out when I go into a relationship; is this a requirement for today’s woman? Can I drop the pretense, be honest and make another attempt at innocence?