A familiar scent clinging to my hair

I wasn't always like this. I was a purist, once, or something of the like. I wanted nothing but the ideal, the one unattainable goal, the truth and the comfort of one for one and one for all. I lost a few kisses here and there in those young years - a ninth grade boyfriend, four days, who dumped me for being too much of a "stoner" but this was a blessing in disguise because the unattainable got angry in my defense. a friend of a friend's brother; I think I was bored, and so I didn't care.

flipping my hair at seventeen, flirting with jason's bandmates, never, ever drinking, no, I wanted all my resources of logic at my disposal around that crew. not that I didn't trust them, but that I didn't trust the opportunities I might be intrigued by.

but mostly, nothing for anyone. everything my own. at eighteen I kissed more people in one night than I can remember. we all did. I remember exactly how it happened; I also remember that I caught on fire, standing too close to a candle in a tiny apartment. maybe that was what slipped. I think back and only a few faces stand out but there were b&n; boys, one each job, that I made the mistake of entertaining, briefly; why? why why why?

it's not regret. it's just wondering how. I was so often in love with one person and kissing another, I think. a several-years' crush in high school, another in college, rubin hall full - full! - of swift crushobjects that fell into laughter-inducing buddies of sorts. except that hobbit boy. who suddenly is seeming very similar; I look at a few faces since then and I see him winking, a long way off.

I wasn't always like this. but I was, also, I was. I kiss the wrong people, often. I have always thought myself unlucky in the gentlemen caller department, like every interested boy was a fluke, just someone who got off his usual track at the wrong stop.

now I don't know what I think. except that there are a few things suddenly clearer and this chain, well, maybe it's time for it to come to an end. there are a lot of faces in its links that I adore, that I would never give up, but they are my friends. except sometimes I forget that, and I go and do something like kiss them.

when you kiss the wrong people it is easy to keep the right ones at arms length.

so: so. I am tired of this spinning, this topsy-turvy dance I have been doing. I am not sure I can bring it to a close all at once, not sure the music is over just yet. but I hear another melody through these notes, and I like it better, sweet and clear, sunlight through a rainstorm and a rainbow with the end just past the next hill.

I remember what I used to think. all or nothing. I haven't been giving anything. but this small fist, tightly clenched, I think it's relaxing a little. maybe it's the drop in my shoulders that's gotten my collarbones to come out of hiding; maybe it's this growing knowledge that turned my eyes clear. I don't know. all I know is that I don't know. except that what i'm doing looks a little clearer, a tiny bit.

I was a loner, once.

I can find part of that again.