Friday, August 19, 2005

Is it possible to be haunted by a name?

Yes. And the name that haunts me is Michael. The warrior arch-angel who slayed the dragon. The being whose name means "He Who Is Like God". A fierce force to be reckoned with. My first serious boyfriend was named Michael, but I never called him that. He was always Mike. Mike was a dullard. We were together for nearly two years. I almost married him. He was white, from a mediocre middle-class family, the youngest of four children. He had no ambition, no inspiration, no creativity in his soul, nothing to distinguish him from the huddled masses, but yet I loved him because I was young and foolish. The sun set and rose with him and to me he was like a god. The sex was good, but after a while it became routine and boring. I ignored it because I felt that love would conquer all. He broke up with me and that pain drove a knife through my heart. It was intense. It was a consuming pain that hurt me deeply for six-months. And when he came to his senses he came groveling back. In triumph took him back. But it was an empty victory. I realized after a few weeks that I didn't want him anymore. Another six months went by and I gave him back the shiny bauble he had given me to seal our fate. I left him sitting on a pebbly, dusty drive-way, and have never seen him since. He will always be Mike because he never gained the status of Michael.

The second time Michael came through my life he was in the form of a tall, icy-blue eyed, dark haired, lean-bodied, well-endowed male. We met through work six years ago. And to further drive home the mystical allure his middle name happens to be Angel. I thought truly this is a gift from heaven. Michael and I began an affair that still continues to this day even though we have had numerous relationships, months, even years when we didn't so much as touch each other in- between the times when we do come together because we are like a drug one to the other that we can not give up. Oh we have tried. We have stopped speaking to each other, we have had other relationships as I said, but in the secret afternoons, in the dark, cloudy, stormy, rainy season we come together and the connection is not just about sex anymore but something else we don't say out loud. I love to kiss his full, bee-stung lips. He loves to mold himself into my body. We don't need words to express our true feelings. He has always been Michael, never Mike, never that common, cheap name that means nothing. Michael is my secret. A deep secret that I let out in bits and pieces to my friends. And since my friends are so scattered and varied than none of them have the whole piece that would complete the puzzle. And so Michael remains just for me that same guy, frozen in time, when I saw him for the first time, and felt true desire for another man. I finally dared to break my marriage vows with him. He was and is my drug. I have loved him like acid. He burns away at me. Then he fades out when things get too hot for him. He fades out because he is the one falling in love with me and he can't face it. So he takes a time out and I look up one day to discover that it has been a month, then two, then three and I haven't heard from him. I feel his absence like noticing a piece that is missing from a broken glass. But inside I know that he will call again because he can't stay away forever.

And so it came to pass that last year he faded out and another Michael took his place. Michael W. was a another white, middle-class, tall, blue-eyed, sandy-haired, handsome man that I happened to work with. Just as Michael Angel stepped out for roughly nine months Michael W. walked right in and went beyond what Michael Angel could give me. Michael W. began as Mike to me. Just another colleague. Another administrator I felt I had to be wary of and whom I didn't trust. But as fate would have it we began a car-pool. And that led to an intense friendship. And that led to an emotionally charged affair of the mind and spirit. At first he was just Mike, another Mike, another coincidence in my already crazy life. Then we began to spend more and more time together; lunches once or twice a week, trips to the museums or a walk through a cemetery, walks in the park, swimming during lunch periods, a foreign movie one afternoon, coffee-shop breaks, trips to the ER and the hospital, professional development workshops. And through it all we discovered how much we had in common, how perfect we were for each other, how alike our minds were but how unstable our personal lives were. Sometime during the year he dissolved from plain old, dull, one-track mind Mike to dynamic, inspirational, deeply profound, creative, highly intelligent Michael. A shining being in my mind who finally lived up to the name of "He Who Is Like God". I believed here was another gift from heaven, but one that came with a heavy price. Michael W. is married with two children. And though with me he felt things he'd never felt before it still wasn't enough for him to give it all up to follow me down my path. We never consumated our physical relationship, but there were plently of hugs, hand-holdings disguised as moral support, and longing looks in our eyes. An affair purely of the heart and soul. Now Michael W. is leaving me to pursue a different path. A path that is leading him to Florida. Will he forget me and the hot summers of Texas? Will he regret not having stayed and followed that tiny voice in his heart that said "Maybe, just maybe it can work with her"?

And as if to further drive home the point that he is leaving and I will probably never see him again Michael Angel drifts back into my life at the same exact time and we come together for a few hours every couple of weeks. And as I look up at Michael Angel's face and stare into his blue eyes another set of blue eyes momentarily take up residence and I yell out "Michael, Michael..." And sometimes I don't know which Michael I am screaming for but it doesn't matter to the Michael in front of me because how else can a woman simultaneoulsy disguise and have out in the open two such grand feelings for two different men and neither be none the wiser? Why, by having both such men share the same name. And neither knows about the other. For I have never discussed my personal intimate life with Michael W. and though I used to talk about it with Michael Angel I don't any more. So he has no idea I developed such a deep connection to Michael W. I am a deep well of secrets and sometimes I feel that I will collapse under their weight and drown.

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