We're a strange breed, you know. A very rare and strange breed; us romantics.We generally don't have long shelf-lives. We're disaster prone. We risk it all for our beliefs. We die fighting for our love. We openly oppose insurmountable forces. We're reckless, foolish, thick-headed, obstinate, stubborn, spontaneous, unrealistic, emotional, over-zealous, overreacting, dramatic, fickle, impractical, dreamers. Yet, we are beauty, and love, and honor, and courage. Our faults run as deep as our good qualities reach high. We are treacherous territory indeed. It is our boundless love which separates us from the rest of mankind. We love too strongly, we care too deeply. We are the stuff of poetry and fairy tales. We are sullen and dark. We speak of terrible things. We liken ourselves to the devil, while at the same time, we inspire those around us. We lose sight of this easily. This is our normal state of being. Others long to be us. Others fear us. Their world is singularly focused on our ways. They use our words, our art, and our actions to give themselves meaning in this world. They glorify us. They make demons of us. They hold contradictory thoughts of us, usually switching from one to the other at the drop of a hat. This is because they do not understand us, nor will they ever. They look to each other for signs of how to react to us. Only a romantic understands a romantic. The rest stew in their jealousy, looking for any excuse to prove our ill intent, or to falsify our accomplishments in a mistaken effort to expose our lives and hearts for the farce that they wish them to be while solidifying their own belief that their hum-drum way of seeing things and of living, is the correct choice. They fear. They fear to be like us. They fear to let themselves go and take a risk. They hide away safely in their shell of anonymity and lunge at the slightest opportunity to force us to do the same. They fear to be us, and they use us as examples of the danger of being free, of being oneself through and through, of wearing your heart on your sleeve, by making hyperbole of our slightest misfortunes.
But do not forget, no matter what may happen, we may never change our lot.
I once knew a man with a fire in his belly. His back was straight and his jaw was square. He'd come and go as he pleased. He never did anything he did not like. He did not show distaste for things that did not interest him. He was simply indifferent of them. He'd leave one night without a word, and return with stories of grandeur. He'd hop on trains and stroll aimlessly into the night.
I asked him once how he chose his path. He didn't, were his only words. He left on a whim and returned on another. He had no job or place of residence, yet he was always provided for. He seldom went hungry and his clothes were all new. I envied this man deeply.
At night people from town would gather round. They'd listen to his tales and hoot and holler at his boldness. He seemed to have no fear. No matter where he went or what he did he always came out on top. His bar tab was always nil as those who listened always offered the next round.
When he was gone, his name was still spoken. Theories of what his currents adventures would hold would be exchanged. He held us all in the palm of his hand, yet at the same time, he acted with a carefree air. No amount of money or lucrative prospect lured him. It was as if he were untouchable. He was the most powerful man I'd ever known. His laugh was strong, his muscles tight, the ground beneath him seemed to shake. His voice was loud and his mind was keen. I came to believe he was more than just a man. That he was an ancient Greek hero come to life. I longed for what he's always had. Around him, my stability felt claustrophobic. My routine seemed not worth the bother. By comparison, I felt utterly insignificant and boring.
He took to me for some reason; always seeking me out of the crowd. He confided in me his secrets. He said I truly listened whilst the others only heard what they wanted to hear, but it was I who heard his soul. I idolized him for many years. His charm was contagious. Then one cold autumn night, with the rattle of leaves filling the air he took me aside. He drank heavily and straight from the bottle. He swaggered back and forth even as he sat. He looked infinitely worn and tired. He told me a story. A story from long long ago. Of a girl he once loved, and would love forevermore. Her skin held the sunlight. Her eyes held the world. Her voice was like music from a land long forgotten. Her kindness was abounding. Small animals followed her trail. Her touch was the softest, and her kisses like wine. He was drunk off her smiles, and was with her all the time. But she cast off his love and left him behind, to wallow in madness and fortified wine. Not a day goes by when he doesn't think of her. Her memory is like ice. It freezes his insides, and leaves him longing to die.
I stopped my envy then. Each day for him is a hell. He was found in the morning hanging. In his hand, a note of farewell.