This Love is Password Protected (but I’m liable to forget it)

by Charlotte E. Wilde

Love is a sticky thing, like fly-paper or molasses, slowly curling, sweetening with time and hardening in the sun.

Tell me then, stranger, where does one store the steady love of time-gone-by made of familiar frowns and years of moments that have amassed around memories like wrinkles in time? Passion is fleeting, so I’m told, but does one not beget the other? Where is the guarantee found and what are the penalties for breaking such a lease on life which would have us tow the fragile hopes of another in our wake?

So we ask ourselves: what is the demarcation between lust and love? A lifetime and a look?  Is it the moment when you’re beginning to see the truth in one another, where you start to find that you know secrets like how he brushes his teeth or that face she makes in the mirror that reminds him of a child? Is it the way he gets silly when he’s full of sleep but sleep won’t come, or how she sits crosslegged in his bed with a serious forehead and a slack mouth staring into a book that speaks volumes, and in it he reads between the lines a story of how her head might fit into the curve of his shoulder? Perhaps it’s how she sees his niche obsessions nobody knows like Communist Architecture or Lead Belly pictures for The Soul of Tone that change his voice because they move him like a song (to tears).

Maybe it’s the contradiction she reads in his two faces, one for memories and one for moments and one that he keep hidden, perhaps, in the pocket of a pair of black jeans. She thinks he must find them when he’s feeling for guitar picks (always a few in reserve for unpredictable predictions that write themselves between the lines of his forehead) while he looks straight into her eyes until they agree that maybe they both win since nobody wants to be the one to look away first.

Do we read love in cold metal that warms to the touch or warm coffee that cools with time? Maybe it’s a mouth that curves just right until she wants to touch him and wants to feel him touch her in ways that leave a mark on her skin so she won’t forget how he loved like he didn’t love at all.

And who’s to say fleeting isn’t the one to keep? Trade in a moment’s passion for a lifetime of calm, a flicker of alive that had been all but forgotten and a pain that reminds her how to count her breaths in the night like sheep or clouds while he tells her to imagine she’s falling and she wants to ask how he knows what she never said.

These aren’t the decisions of a madman [fo-lie, folle, fou] these are desire. These are mystery and make-believe. These are magic or these are the mistakes of a chronic quest for something destined to remain untenable, unattainable, intractable. The have-you-looked-three times [then you haven’t really looked, have you?] the very nature of which is linked to morphology, to mysticism and to metaphysical quests taking physical form just before they flit away–and maybe it’s the path that counts, just that. Not a rabbit hole, but the hole of a guitar that resonates (with a hidden two dollar bill), he says, the way only he can hear, and it tells secrets of Appointments in Samarra where her tears were just a touch off-key but he played them anyhow and didn’t blink an eye.

Are you too afraid to be alone? Maybe empty is the only way to remember what were looking for, that we are, in fact, still looking for something, after all.

But if nothing makes sense, nothing ever has so why not keep rambling in hopes of stumbling upon some quote, some combination of letters, of notes, some secret skeleton key or pathway to a pair of arms that keep the time that has been lost along the way.


An arm, or a heart, or a clock warning  that even when you stand still, you are the only one not moving.