Part 3
by Jeffrey Murrell

1939, 1951, 1963, 1975;
The Rabbit--"Luckiest of all signs,"
It says on the old, stained paper,
The placemat I kept from that Chinese restaurant
From so, so long ago,
From another love I used to know,
With the Chinese Zodiac on it
In pictures of all the signs and years.
"Marry a Sheep or Boar."
But what if I had married her, a Horse!?
1942, 1954, 1966, 1978:
"Popular and attractive to the opposite sex . . .
Often ostentatious and impatient . . .
Need[ing] people."
She should marry a Tiger or Dog!
Luckiest of all signs!
I sacrificed my own wishes for hers.
Whatever I have was hers.
When she got angry with me,
I still loved her unconditionally.
I would have gone through anything for her.
And I have. And I am! And I will!
Because I really loved her.
Because I felt fortunate to even have met her,
To love her and to have had the chance to have her love me,
But not just to be a friend!
To be so damned lucky!

And I still remember the pain,
How much my spirit ached
When we were just taking off.
I couldn't tell her.
I didn't dare say the word!
We measured our progress in days,
Then weeks, then months.
All the while I loved her;
All the while I was bursting to tell her!
But I knew it would be too scary,
Especially after our time apart.
Which was really no time at all,
Only a couple of weeks or so,
Because I was such an idiot in love,
Stumbling clumsily along,
Telling her what pretty eyes she has,
Admiring her intelligence with long words,
Constantly assuring her of my admiration,
Until she had enough,
And her phone calls came to a halt;
To my mixed-up heart an assault,
A vacancy, leaving me all alone,
Leaving me insecure and hurt,
But through no fault of hers,
Nor through any real fault of my own.
I just didn't know;
I didn't know how it all looked at first,
Sly and quite manipulative,
Leaving me quite open to some dishonest blow.
But she was straight through most of it all;
Was that rejection out of love?
"Do you know how many girls would have taken advantage of you?
Do you know how many would have just used the hell out of you?"
And, of course, she was right.
And, of course, she was righteous.
But, of course, I put an angry end to it.
Now I speak no feelings freely.
Now there is no fear or hesitation.
And she knows I really meant it.
And that means so very much to me.
I am one of the luckiest, indeed.

But, gladly, I lost that passion for her.
My love for her grew flat and constant,
Safely missing adulation,
So steady and secure and boring.
I now view it all much the same as she;
It was a deep friendship,
No mystical emotion, no mystery,
No chance of losing, no injury,
Evolutionary, not revolutionary,
Satisfying only after time,
Because I lost interest in her,
After our bumpy start;
Because I was forever compromised
With her with concerns of the heart.
And I knew I would never for a hundred years
Ever be able to capture what I wanted:
A rich, passionate love full of sweetness;
A love to conquer her shallow materialism,
Her greed and a need for physical perfection,
And other things, I debated with myself,
That I perceived to be a part of her from the start;
Things--traits--I drew a blind eye to,
Like the uncertainty, the games, the spoiled heart
That she will, for a time, keep on steady guard
From being infected again by passion,
A passion, I accept, that will never be mine,
The chance to know that experience sublime
Because it was forever ruined by that other guy
With whom I would always have been in competition.

And I debated with myself,
I masturbated my conscious,
And would foolishly, stupidly convince myself
That, perhaps, she might have come around;
That maybe there was a dim hope
That I would have known her passion.
But I know that was a dream.
I know it could probably never have been
Unless I were perfect--and I'm not.
And I debate with myself yet
The question ever present
About why I continued with it
When I know what I sought was hopeless.
My answer never comes,
Only excuses and weak reasons
That so often managed to persuade me.
But I am too strong,
And I always come back around
To my debate about this love.
So I have just given up,
And I take my wasted passion off
To others still out there whom I hope
God is reserving for me to have and to hold.
Maybe this was just a strange stop
On the road to a real happiness, I don't know.
"Luckiest of all signs!"
Someday may prove to be true.
But until that day, I'll have discontinued
As if it had already dawned
With that lovely girl who is like a song,
A song I used to go crazy to hear,
A song that now can't even warm my ears,
But a special song that will always mark a time
In my heart at a special point in my miserable life
When I was so empty and alone.