So much Love I lost a Shoe

by tobias crabtree

May I tell you a thing or two about my life? I would assume that your silence implies consent, that and the fact that you’re still reading this. Let’s see, how can I say this without being naughty. My parents have never been crass. My tilt toward the inappropriate must come from some degenerate ancestor. Who knows? I sure as hell don’t. But what I wanna tell you is that I live in disarray. It would be easy for me to cuss right here, but I’ll hold off for a bit (except for the little hell-bomb above…besides, hell is a place, not a cuss word). I know this sounds like I’m about to spend some time talking about how jacked up I am, but nope, I’m not. This has a direction.

Every time I’ve been in love with someone, and then it didn’t work out, I felt like I was falling backward off a cliff. Then after some time I realized that it wasn’t their fault. I realized that I had been trying to get them to love me along with all my weirdnessess. Like, I have a ton of them. I mean, I live in a damn r.v. and I have all my belongings, every thing I own, in bags. I own nothing besides this. Nothing. I leave shit scattered from one end of the States to the other, hell, I even have things stashed  in other countries. I have forgotten that I lost more things than the number of things I own. Essentially, I don’t own a thing, because I will have forgotten it somewhere eventually. So, when I think about the lovers I’ve “lost”, or whatever you wanna call it, I can’t help but see myself as being the agent of my own distress. It’s always been this way…until a year ago.

Some people talk about what is referred to as a “sure thing.” That has never been me, or at least that ain’t how I picture me. A year ago I ran into a girl that looked right past my bags of junk and piles of shit and she looked right at me. I squirmed around a good bit at first and even pointed at my baggage as a kind of distraction. I wasn’t used to that kind of acceptance. For a while after we met I talked about the improbability of the two of us being linked. I used words like foolish and unlikely. I would string together longs sentences filled with examples and reasons for why a thing like us would never work. It was like throwing snowballs into a volcano in hopes of putting it out. She’s stronger than me. She’s even tougher than me, and I’m good at taking a beating.

When I hear people talk about love, most of the time I kinda wanna vomit. You know…Love at first sight or He’s perfect in every  way or We’ve been soulmates since we first laid eyes on each other. Yuck. My eyes begin rolling even before those statements make it out of someone’s cakehole. But now I’m loved. Like, completely loved by someone.  I’ve written tons of sappy letters (and some brilliant ones). I’ve taken her to meet my family. I’ve met hers. We’ve had fights (I lose). Our love is…um, really fun. So, what it is is that someone doesn’t count my mess-ups.  Someone loves me despite of my jackassedness. Someone loves me relentlessly and without fear. I found someone who loves me. Period.

I’m a geek when it comes to science. I might not understand something, but I’ll read a damn 3 volume book on it. I listen to podcasts like This Week In Microbiology. The world of microbes and viruses is amazing to me. Little jungles under our fingernails! The thing I’ve learned about viruses that sticks out the most is that we don’t really know viruses. Scientists still argue over what they even are. Life? Non-life? I like that.

My lady and I recently drove across the deserts to see my folks in Colorado. I picked her up in Taos. I hadn’t seen her in a month. On the way to get her, I began to feel bad. I didn’t know it, but I was coming down with a case of the Shingles. It’s a kind of herpes that attacks the nerves and effects the body in meridians. Big nasty bumps formed under my arms and on my nipple. My lady, Kayla, spotted the first one and said, “What is that?!” in a way that I didn’t like at all. You know that feeling when someone looks over your shoulder into the dark and gets a scared look on their face? Or when a dog barks down a dark hallway? Or when something drops from a tree onto your sleeping bag in the dark…and then skitters away? Yeah, that’s kinda how I felt when she said there was something weird developing on my spine. Needless to say, I became a hack expert on viruses over the next few days. Kayla helped me and soothed my nasty sores. She laid next to me and kissed my face. She put up with my grumpiness over the entire stay at my brother’s house. She was sweet and…well, pretty near perfect.

When we drove back to the desert, we had a fight. It was over something that I was saying in a too harsh kinda way. In the end, I realized once again that I was picking on her, pushing her. She endured. She has level gray eyes, like Tarzan, like the kind I grew up wishing I had. I’m jealous of her eyes. Did that sound sappy? Whatev’s. She is rad…and we are good.

Everyone talks bad about viruses. I think they are life. I think they are here and they are fighting to be. There is something about the virus that I like. They don’t quit. If you don’t stamp them out completely they come back stronger. They are patient. They are adaptable. They are opportunistic. When you think about it, they are like us. We are capable of all those traits along with others that are far more insidious. It is my good luck to have stumbled into love like I have. I think it’s cool that Kayla has endured my orneriness. She has seen me be a mess and helped me get up again. We first met in the mountains between Bend and Salem, Oregon. It was a year ago, up on a road called Homestead. It was so good that I lost a shoe. I reckon we should go back soon, I miss that ol’ shoe. It was homemade.

I don’t think I deserve a thing. I really don’t. I think I get what I get. But there is this shining eyed woman that keeps coming back to me and loving me and believing in me, and it makes me wanna say something sappy. So instead of that, I’ll just say this: if I’m dreaming, leave me be. Don’t wake me up. This one is too good to quit.

Post Script: I rarely write about romance. When I do, it’s usually with a solid dose of sarcasm. So I appreciate your patience through this essay. I don’t plan on becoming a romance writer, but if I do, it will be under a fake name. Like Henry James Ironloins or Jackson Suede Klinsingtonsonstien.