Happy Almost-Valentines-Day! Have a semi-bitter poem about singleness.
More to the point, I decided to post this one because when I was poking around through my old notebooks, it immediately reminded me of last week’s sonnet: specifically, the concept of waiting for a knock that will never come, or at least not with the affection I was looking for. I wrote this one in May 2013, about 10 years after the other one, and it’s an interesting comparative slice of life for so many reasons: the end of spontaneous hangouts after college, or, really, spontaneous hangouts in general. The echoes of Eponine, living in an imagination that doesn’t even remotely resemble reality. The hunger, the ache.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert wrote the following while she was 33 and still single:
Those who have wrestled deep with their prolonged chastity have experienced something of earth’s groans in wait for her Creator. A friend recently confessed struggles of waiting sexually for her upcoming wedding day. I was able to tell her the hunger pangs of longing she feels for her fiancé are akin to the hunger pangs we feel when we’re fasting. Those pangs teach us we’re waiting for a better feast. For the one fasting, the feast isn’t the break-fast, and for the virgin, the feast isn’t the wedding night. The feast is the marriage supper of the Lamb and an eternity spent with him. But those pangs are still real and felt, to pretend they’re not is ignorant.
I’m about to hit my 35th Valentine’s Day as a single person. I know marriage is rough; my 7 year old roommate is proof-positive that parenthood is rough. And that’s assuming you don’t deal with infertility or miscarriages (as Lore Wilbert now does). Even so, I still sometimes daydream of knocks at my door. These are the hunger pangs, and they are very real.
Originally written May 9, 2013
Can you miss something that you never had?
For I miss you (though you were never mine).
I miss the way your head turns when you’re glad
I miss the way our hearts never entwined—
The way your fingers don’t caress my hair,
And how your breath could feel against my cheek.
I conjure memories from thinnest air—
Remember fondly words you’ll never speak.
I’ve lived and died our future many times;
I’ll fantasize these figments many more,
But I don’t think I’ll live this life sublime,
Nor will I hear you knocking at my door.
I know these passions: they are never shared:
And so, alone, this heavy ache I’ll bear.