Saul was the love of my life. We met at a writer’s colony outside Dallas Texas right after my junior year in college. It was an annual summer long conference for aspiring young writers and we were in the same open critique group. The first thing I remember was a piece that he had written about the wind. It was about the place where the wind rests, where all lost souls find home. He was a talented and extremely introspective writer who was as restless as the characters in his story. His steely eyes shone whenever he read a chapter in his novel. It was as if the ten minuets in which he was reading allowed him to escape into the story. He was perhaps the most passionate writer in the group.
After the first time I heard him read he was all that I could think of. At the time I had been writing a series of poems about my life as a girl. Over the course of the summer though, I noticed that my poems begin to be more and more about him and his eyes. I’ve always wondered how a passionate man could become so hard. It was intimidating to talk to him at first. Though I was generally confident in my work I was always tentative about reading it in front of him. It wasn’t until I wrote a poem about my only home being literature that I think I caught his eye.
After the session on that particular day I remember him coming up to me timidly. I was shocked that someone who I had been so intimidated by would be so shy. When he finally got the courage to introduce himself he told me how much my poem resonated with him. He told me that he sought a feeling of warmth and welcome in a place but could only find it when escaping into his stories. He had a sort of restless romance to him. I think his constant needs to run was what made him so passionate. He consumed the world around him so quickly yet so vigorously. He reviled in every moment, in every conversation, word and kiss. He had an insatiable desire to know and understand. He would listen to me talk for hours drinking in every word. I think that is why I fell for him so quickly. He loved me in a way that I don’t think anyone else could.
He had a way of making you feel special, of making you feel like you were the only thing in the world that mattered. I think it was because at the moment I was. He was so hopeless focused on the moment, so hopeless enthralled with now that he let his mind slip away. I think that when he loves he escapes into that love. Into the place in his soul where he kept his love. In a way that was what I loved about him the most but also what I thought was the saddest about him. For some reason, some unfathomable reason, he was so uncomfortable with the world around him to live in it. Too obsessed with what could be, where our love was heading, to live with it now. It was his great contradiction. I have never figured out how a man could be so thoroughly absorbed in the moment yet be so wholly detached from the reality of the moment.
It was as if he took every moment and romanticized it; made everything, even the most beautiful things more magical in his mind. It was what made him such a moving writer, gave him an extraordinary ability to love and what made him so unable to settle down. The future, the next moment, the next kiss could always be better. His greatest trait in many ways contradicts his own being. He would savor a moment and at the same time dream of the next. That was his tragedy, an inability to be satisfied . So our love affair went. It was an amazing relationship. His poetry expressed such a depth of beauty that was simply put unparalleled. It was his poetry that allowed me to be blind to his dissatisfaction and for two months ignorance was bliss.
When the summer ended, it seems, so did my heart. Had it merely been the “summer lovin’” that young people often face the pain would have subsided once I went back to school. However my love was real. It was an intense love but real none the less. I knew him and loved him. The real problem his that I know with out a doubt that he loved me. He loved me. It may have only been one summer but he loved every moment we were together. Yet when the summer ended he had to leave me. He had graduated from college that may and I had been hoping that he would come back to Boston with me. He had no ties to anyone or anywhere else. He could have lived anywhere but he knew I couldn’t. So he knew that following me to Boston would amount to staying with me in Boston.
For the last few days of the conference he was torn. You could tell that the decision was making him physically ill. I truly believe that for any other man the decision would have been easy. Yet Saul is a complicated man. The decision wasn’t easy on either of us and on September 5th he flew out to New York. I’ve spent a lot of time in the intervening years thinking about what would have made him stay. I think he just needed to run until he ran into himself. It is entirely possible that one day he will find a place, a moment which he knows can’t get better. Maybe after he has run around the world seen the best and the worst he’ll know it when he sees it. Maybe he just needs to tire himself out. Maybe he just needs someone who won’t let him leave