Excerpts From “The Lover’s Dictionary”

abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us.

basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it- you’re done.

And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route or your lover’s face.

catharsis, n.

I took it out on the wall.


detachment, n.

I still don’t know if this is a good quality or a bad one, to be able to be in the moment and then step out of it. Not just during sex, or while talking, or kissing. I don’t deliberately pull away- I don’t think I do- but I find myself suddenly there on the outside, unable to lose myself in where I am. You catch me sometimes. You’ll say I’m drifting off, and I’ll apologize, trying to snap back to the present.

But I should say this:

Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it. If I wanted to detach completely, I would move my body away. I would stop the conversation midsentence. I would leave the bed. Instead, I hover over it for a second. I glance off in another direction. But I always glance back at you.

healthy, adj.

There are times when I am alone that I think, This is it. This is actually the natural state. All I need are my thoughts and my smalls acts of creation and my ability to go or do whatever I want to go or do. I am myself, and that is the point. Pairing is a social construction. It is by no means necessary for everyone to do it. Maybe I’m better like this. Maybe I could live my life in my own world, and then simply leave it when it’s time to go.

incessant, adj.

The doubts. You had to save me from my constant doubts. The deep-seeded feeling that I wasn’t good enough for anything- I was a fake at my job, I wasn’t your equal, my friends would forget me if I moved away for a month. It wasn’t as easy as hearing voices- nobody was telling me this. It was just something I knew. Everyone else was playing along, but I was sure that one day they would all stop.

juxtaposition, n.

It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can’t even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. It’s simply a matter of is and is no longer.

masochist, n.

If there wasn’t a word for it, would we realize our masochism as much?

sacrosanct, adj.

The nape of your neck. Even the sound of the word nape sounds holy to me. That and the hollow of your neck, the peek of your chest that your shirt sometimes reveals. These are the stations of my quietest, most insistent desire.

vagary, n.

The mistake is thinking there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.

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