By Scott King
I love the second verse of that Mariah Carey song, “We Belong Together.” That moment when you’re so enamored of someone, everything on the radio, from Bobby Womack to Babyface, makes you think of him. It’s agony. It’s bliss. It’s sweet music. It makes the people come together. Then it makes them fall apart.
It’s visceral and disturbing, but it’s not narcissism. It’s not nihilism; it’s not self-destruction, it’s not obsession. It is organic, totalitarian passion. And it is not boring.
It’s knowing that pollination is jizz. It’s leaving a lover’s apartment after an argument and having him yell down at you from the balcony something that sounds like Martian, but you know exactly what he means.
It’s refusing to say, “I’m too old for this shit,” because we’re all far, far too young to know any better. It’s knowing that you’re not in love with love. It’s thinking about him all the time. It makes you nervous, but that’s not why your breath is shallow. You can’t breathe because he fucking CONSUMES you.
It’s being dramatic. It’s being reckless, like a drunken teenager behind the wheel in a wet cow field.
Then there’s that Toni Braxton song, “You’re Making Me High.” She’s not talking about drugs gurl. She’s talking about a dude. I never could figure out why Oprah was so mean to her.
If I had a car, I would drive it around listening to that song, getting high on all the hot men. But instead, I’m a pedestrian. And I’m dating. I only Uber to our dates when I’m lazy or it’s gay and raining. The situation is groovy and Pavlovian because I love taking walks and it’s a nice 15 minute one with lots of alternative routes and sinuous sightseeing.
The mind is similarly Byzantine when navigating the terrain where the impulses of imagination and the necessities of the phenomenal world intersect. And if you could follow that last sentence, you should have no problem following your heart. Or mine.
So if you’re down, I’m down. Atlanta is a beautiful and safe space at 1 a.m. on a weeknight, especially in the shimmer of post rainshower bliss. People nod at you because they know you’re not a drug dealer or a junkie. They know you’re just a romantic cliche.
Cliches aren’t cliche, though. They are just, too often, the only method of translating the ineffably profound extremes of consciousness. And daily life.
It’s why white girls can’t wait to post about pumpkin spice lattes upon the first signs of fall. Experiencing the present, the past, and the infinite in one sentient breath of fresh air is overwhelming, it triggers the synapses and fires the dopamine receptors. And why on earth would we not want to express that through language, or a nice visual?
Do you remember the first time you heard Robyn’s music? I bet it was summertime. I bet you were walking in the sunshine, thinking love is not a crime. I bet you were dancing on your own. I bet you were thinking about loving him like you’d never been hurt before like you were indestructible.
I bet you knew that love kills. Like, your entire afternoon. With every heartbeat.
And when it goes that deep, when someone invades you, your every thought, like an echo in your head, and you remember every word they have said …. when the feeling is mutual … it will be the most unbelievable thing, that you have always known is true.
I would die for you. But first, I will live.