When I was a child, I found some ammonia. I’m not sure why, but curiosity got the best of me, and I took a deep whiff from the bottle. It felt like I had just inhaled fire. The sharp aroma shooting up my nostrils and making my eyes tear up.
It was one of the most jolting sensations I’ve ever experienced, sort of terrible and overwhelming, but somehow… refreshing. It was one of those moments when I felt truly awake. Later that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I never wanted to sniff ammonia again, afraid that I would melt my sinuses and burn away my sense of smell, but that wide-eyed feeling of recognition… the mixture of surprise, pain, fear, and reverence that something could elicit such a powerful and immediate response from me… always stayed with me. I think that I’ve been searching for it every day since then, in one form or another.
If you ever wondered why I fell in love with your writing, it has a lot to do with this childhood memory of learning something so profund, instantaneously. For acquiring a taste for things that entice me, even in uncomfortable ways, to feel… something. When I read you, it’s like a sucker punch to the face, or gut, something that makes me flinch or double over. It’s almost reflexive; whether it’s emotionally or intellectual.
And sometimes you wrap your hand around the throat of my darkness, that primordial beast that struggles in tar pit of my shadow, and you pluck it from the ooze to let it run rampant through my consciousness… but still dictated by the will and pressure of your fingers, within the confines of your narrative and under your creative thumb. Which lets me feel safe, even if there’s real danger implied.
No one else has ever dialed me in that way, channeling all the conflicted parts of me into a singularity of want… and that’s just your words that have this spectacular effect on me. Can you even imagine what the rest of you does to me?
Sometimes I can be fickle… but I know that as long as I sense there’s something between us to hold onto, I… could really feel this way for the rest of my life. Which is very uncomfortable… maybe even a tad embarrassing to admit… especially for someone who has a tendency to expect the ground to open up and swallow me down at any moment.
But, I believe in you. And I’d rather just enjoy the time we’re together than being worried about if/when/how it will end.
I’m just glad you’re not a pungent chemical… because if that bottle of ammonia had been you, I would have burned a hole in my face ages ago.