Chemistry and Choice

It’s just how I’m built. I say this in a message to a man as he is breaking my heart. When I care about someone, that doesn’t go away, even if they do. It’s just how I’m built.

Built this way by chance and circumstance. In the year I’ve spent learning about the shape of what I am and what I want to be, I learn too, this. That there are things about me I cannot wish away, that I cannot work away. I can learn to say no, learn to say need, learn to distinguish this from want, and where I should draw lines. I can learn how to leave when I should, but not how not to love. Because one is a choice and the other, maybe chemistry, something in the blood. It’s just how I’m built.

I love the birch trees in winter and the train tracks running through snow, the cut down frozen fields, and pink cotton candy skies at sunrise when all the clouds are fluffy and full. I love the bright red engine with its headlights and the smoke coming out the chimney the way cold air came out of my mouth, the train I paced one day, until my car left it far behind. I love half-moons and full moons and all the moons in between. I hate sweating and Starbursts and I have nightmares and they are filled with men I love.

And when I leave the first one, it is my hardest choice, because I love him like I love that moon and those trees and the way that velvet feels in my fingers, I love him like it is something I did not choose, like he is DNA or oxygen or something essential circling inside me. But there is chemistry and there is choice and even now I do not think that I made the wrong one, not even on the days when I felt that oxygen no longer there, the days something cold crawled inside me and dwelt.

And because I remember this, my hardest choice, it’s easier to draw lines the next time. Hard, yes, but easier, to say that I want someone who might walk in my direction, at least partway, at least sometimes. But, because there is choice but there is also something we might call chemistry or nature or chance, to say also that if they might learn to walk in such a manner—

You know where that path to my door is, should you ever need it. I will always let you in.

It’s just how I’m built.

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