The art of losing

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The James NYC | Photo by Zak Kaplan

When I play basketball I often quietly wish to lose because I’m worried karma will return to me at a different game and how that game is what I’d really like to play. I played well one day. I won at that game. Then I fouled out and started playing basketball.

When I button up my shirt I'm often reminded of a girl who buttoned her shirts wrong, and how right she was, and how wrong she was, and how right I am now for knowing how wrong she was. Then I wrote that last line, 'how wrong she was,' how it shocked me, because I had finally won something by losing her.

I play games sometimes. I meet people who button their shirts well. Who talk well, communicate their loss well. And they're better than her, and better for me than her, and more beautiful on the inside, both-sides. I win them over with words, always with words, then secretly look at my inside to see what I'm winning.

I hadn’t yet known that you can never keep things. I tried breathing. I hit my head against my bedroom wall. I punched my stomach from the inside. I punched my stomach from the outside, then curled over squeezing with both my arms, thinking I could force it to get out of me. I was angry at my insides. I scream and nothing escaped. I scream at 4 in the morning, loud and vicious, boiling. Then into my pillow where the echo rebound back at me, then back out of me, then back. Until I was calm, or just exhausted. I’d get an hour of tempered sleep before morning. Lines of sun tilting their heads through the window curtains. I wasn’t great at forgiving me.

I saw her, button shirt, on the street again, overweight, turned sour by the destructive forces working inside her. I decided it was inside her, outside was a window. I said something, words of defense or dislike or protection. Then I said the truth about there being nothing there for me anyhow.

But later in the week I’ll try and fall asleep and I’ll remember that I’ve dejavued of an alternate route, a tunnel across, a passage, not direct or linear, but parallel to where we are now, – to skip along, back and above, from the spots we find ourselves in, and arrive like a bridge built out of new selves, advancing right alongside time. As if we meant what we said, but that, that meaning had passed, and because we had said it we could no longer go back. Instead this instance we tunnel to, like a scratch on the record of time, like a wound to a pipeline, where the destination is yourself in your own future, right now. Here we are, better versions, aware of the flaws – the friction two people create.

I skip, not to meet her, because the her I’d care to meet has already gone, but I skip because it wasn’t ever meant to be this way, the cruelty we created, delivered in silent juvenile haste, and I know this because I’ve dejavued it.

I’ve dreamed of this passage, not as a romantic illusion - to rescue her from her darkness - and not to keep - but as a course, an action, so that a single wrong can be righted.

I opened a window on an airplane, not a window, it's more like a shade.

Written by

Traveler, writer, bread-maker. Experiences of heart-mind, perspectives on love, loss, change. A human condition.

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