I have had a handful of favorite professors in my college experience. One was Dr. Kurt Schreyer for my ENG 4670: Shakespeare’s Tragedies & Comedies class. Even his name was hot!
Anyway, I digress.
He helped me to love Shaskespeare (Shax) again. He used Shax in casual conversation as I did, and low-key thought I was brilliant. He even wore a fedora in the winter!
But most of all, aside from him being in the US Navy in his last life, he swore, besides being utterly dashing, I liked Schreyer’s class because he did what most dashing men do. He made me…think.
He was able to treat me as a lowly nursing student as a viable, intelligent English major. Someone that used words as weapons of warfare or instruments of healing.
There was a time 8 years before that class that I thought such weaponry was gone from my arsenal. The gift, the talent, the instrument of my coping was gone. The cause? I had spent the better part of my 20s with a man with no prospects, goals or his own light.
For three years, I poured into him, his son and whatever life 20-22 year olds promise to make while having really good sex (or think it is really good sex).
But, between times of being naked and not naked, I decided that I was going to trust him, and love him and help him with all he needed. From money, to time with his son, to…all I had. In that taking, I conjured up all the strength, love and all the ancestral BGM (Black Girl Magic) I could think of.
Not for me, but for him.
Thinking, believing, hoping, he would put that back into me. I ran on fumes for the better half our relationship.
At the end of it, near the end of it, my mother made a stark observation. She told me to look at her.
She told me that I looked dead. She said my eyes had always shone, since I was a little girl, and they no longer were shining. She told me the relationship I was in was killing me.
And it was.
I knew it was. I knew it was, when I was sitting with pen and paper and NOTHING came out of mixture of time and space and energy.
Since I was 8, even earlier, the stories, the words, would just come–THEY WOULD JUST COME. There was nothing–nothing. I thought it was gone. I just new it was gone. I mourned for it. I missed it. I would get smattering of it every now and then, the ebb and flow of its power like I was pulling the sword from the stone or a disciple of Hecate from Macbeth.
But in came the one I mentioned in the dedication of my book, *The Love Songs Of The Unrequited, Volume 1. The words came back, slowly, crawling and then with dam breaking speed.
That portion of me, that portion of self I thought my malevolent ex had stolen from me along with everything else, was coming back. I was me again. How can you not love someone that gave you back what you thought was gone?
Helping you regain the hope in you.
I shared worked with him, like a shy child and favorite teacher. At every positive acknowledging, every tear-born word, he heard, he accepted and told me that I was unlike any woman he had ever known.
He told me that I was talented and to keep writing.
He told me to keep going.
That was like breathing again after being underwater. It was glorious to see the light again, it was that dark for me without being able to write. I had a muse…he was it.
I wrote when I was happy. I wrote when I was sad. I wrote to deal without having him nearby. I wrote when I couldn’t talk to him. I wrote when I couldn’t sleep. I memorized his accent, his inflection, his voice, I locked him away in my heart–incomparable to anything before or since. There was *Alejandro and then everyone else.
With him being out of state, all I had to hang onto him was his voice, letters, cards and calls. I smiled again, jumped rope again (yes, OLD SKOOL ROPE), stayed on the phone with him three hours a night, after working second shift (he worked first shift) and did we did stupid teenage things.
Oh, like what? Like this:
Me: “No, I love you.”
Him: “I love you too.”
(Same conversation after doing kissy-faces to the phone receiver)
Him: “You hang up, I have to go to work in the morning. I feel like crap when I can’t wake up.”
Me: “Welp, gimme 5 more minutes and I’ll let you go. Por favor, mi amor? Para mi?
(An hour later, same conversation)
Me: *Alejandro, it’s (however stupid late in the morning it is).
Him: (breathing in the phone, clearly asleep)
Me: (closing eyes, listening to him breathe. Hangs up the phone only when dial tone wakes me up. (I fell asleep like this more than I will admit here.))
Oh, yeah. We did that at…all in love and not giving a damn.
At 23, I was 16 again.
It was lovely. It was new, it was healthy. He loved me, and I knew to my depth of marrow that he did.
Oh, you wanna know how Shax fits into all this, you ask? Welp, anyone whom is close to me will eventually get a name from literature. Whether that be from a comic or a centuries old play, or a TV show I’m hooked on.
He was my Romeo, my Antony, my County Paris and my Hamlet…and My Dean (you gotta be a fangirl to know #SPN).
He, too, was my Peter Parker. All mild-mannered, dorky, intelligent, strong and sweet.
He called me his MJ. MJ. Mary. Jane. Mary Jane Watson. You would have to be a geek, or love one, to get how deep that is, and how sweet that is, and how I could not want the forever after with Parker.
Every time I would move beyond his grasp in the time we occupied, I would be dating, he would be dating (but we still spoke on a fairly consistent basis), but I would think about him, him about me, and somehow come back together again.
The weirder thing?
He knew when I was ‘far’ from him, and he from me. We knew when the closeness wasn’t there or quite right.
I was getting back to me.
My able unshakeable was a reminder that knights still do exist. They still fight in wars, have armor and still find damsels in distress.
They still hold love and honor as virtues not punchlines.
They still find the broken in the beautiful ones.
They still are willing to tell the Queens of the realms, they can cry again–that strength and beauty she is clothed in, but it is not destiny always to rule alone.
There is one, will be one, to see tears behind smiles, childlike joy in laughter that reaches your toes and thinks your eyes hold light even when they are shut.
These chosen of your heart are able to see you as no one else. If the Fate of God be merciful, you get to spend your life with them.
As for me?
Maybe next lifetime.
I have this one to live out with a man that is able to do that…and he found me while I was yet hiding. How blessed am I?
I love you, Phillip**.
*-For sanity and anonymity, his legal name will not be mentioned here. He does know the work exists, and even the dedication. He has moved on with his life, and I wish him nothing but happiness and joy. He has earned it.
**-Yes, that is my real husband’s real name.