Friday, April 11, 2008

We Had Fun When No One Was Watching: King Kong Held Me Tightly, Then Let Me Go

My Ipod is playing a song from King Kong. It’s the haunting instrumental that played when Kong and Ann were skating together on a frozen pond. Kong was falling and sliding around and Ann would help him up and laugh and then he would laugh (as much as a giant ape can). No one was out to kill him and he was sharing this genuine moment of joy and happiness with the woman he loved.

You can guess what comes next. In movies, just like real life, moments of purity and innocence always come to a screeching halt.

The relationship George and I shared was very much like that of Kong and Ann. At first, he wanted to steal me away from everyone and keep me all to himself. He was selfish and brutish that way, and I loved it. I was his refuge and his happy place. I made him laugh and broke down the walls he had all around him. I would’ve been his prisoner forever if only he knew how to make me feel the same.

Instead, he starved me. For so long I subsisted on the breadcrumbs of affection he threw my way. Most times I was parched and gaunt. He was depleting me of the things necessary to sustain my heart. Just like the lonely beast from the movie, George had no idea how to love.

We had our moments of quiet skating, though. Sometimes we’d steal away from our jobs and lie together on a blanket under a tree in our favorite park. We’d take our shoes off and just wrap our bodies together, silently breathing in the purity of that moment. I have a picture of him with eyes closed, face touching mine, looking so in love. He sent me an email once that said he wished he were a squirrel so that he could climb up on my shoulders and sit with me all day.

“I wouldn’t need much,” he said, “just a few acorns and you, always.”

Whenever I got sad, I’d imagine him so small and helpless, hovering against my body for warmth. I would have loved him forever. But ours was a relationship doomed from the start. We fought all the time. Mostly because he couldn’t communicate and never showed me affection. The older he got and the more wrapped up he became in his career, the less I saw him. The less he touched me or held me. Afternoons in the park were now just a silly fantasy. I was lucky if I saw him once a week for a quick meal and stilted conversation. He changed in the four years we were together. I guess it was the stress. But he withdrew into himself and I was dying. I needed intimacy. I needed to hear words of kindness and love. Instead, I heard only silence.

Today as I was taking my walk, I set my Ipod on shuffle. Just as I rounded a corner, the wind blew lightly against my cheek. It reminded me of the air on the day George and I lay huddled beneath that giant oak tree, both of us hoping that moment would never end. I remember our shoes, tangled up next to each other on the grass. Suddenly, as if on cue, the King Kong song starts playing. It’s been years since I heard that song. We watched the movie together when it first came out and were both touched by the innocence of that scene. He made me a CD for Valentine’s Day with only that haunting melody on it. He also gave me an orchid and a poem he wrote in French. He loved me. Somewhere in a place hidden, like in the forest where beast and beauty shared their last moment of freedom, he loved me. But like the movie’s final happy scene, it was destined to end.

Soon, police and helicopters surrounded the pair. People tried to shoot at Kong. He held tightly to Ann, wanting to shield her from harm.

“Go,” she cried. “Go.”

He turned to look at her, and in that moment you could see everything he felt for her and always would. There was sadness, gratitude, longing and great love. Those big eyes held so much love.

She knew. She always did.

He held her tightly, then he let her go.

And he ran off in the night somewhere far away. She knew she would never see him again, but she would never forget the good times they had when no one was watching.

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