Tag Archives: The Sandman

The Makings of Secrets and Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke (2015)
Secondhand Smoke (2015)

There are some confessions you just can’t make, not even to people you hide from behind fake names and thousands of miles of land and sea.Β Neil Gaiman wrote;

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.
― The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

You’d think it was a normal day, right? You wake up, ready to go; the sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze; everything is everyday-like. You don’t know it yet but you walk right into this trap fate has set for you. You’d think it wouldn’t feel this way every single damn time; love is a nasty business. It’s always a nasty business and it never changes, no matter how old you are; there is just never any preparation; you don’t stand a chance. Fate sees to that. There are so many people in this world; so many things they do every day around you; yet this light shines around just one of them. You’re going about your business, doing your thing; and this one thing just keeps intruding into your thoughts. It’s like a gate you just can’t keep barred shut, no matter how hard you try. It’s like the cracks underneath the door that let the light seep in, slowly and surely. It seeps in, seeps in your thoughts, seeps in your day, seeps in your heart; it seeps into the very depths of your soul and it takes over. It binds you and there’s no escaping it; none.

It’s a conversation I’ve had with myself so often. You’d think you asked for it; no, you never did. It’s a series of normal-day events, that take place in such a delusional reality that everything is twisted around you. You listen, touch, hear and feel like normal people but your mind is already enslaved. And through what? You have one conversation; hell, you could even just only talk about the weather and yet, your heart jumps higher in your chest; your breath comes out a little fast; what’s happened? Nothing special; he may just have laughed; he may just have been himself and yet here you are. At his feet. Yes, it’s a nasty business full of a bone deep hurting; full of a longing you know is misplaced; full of feelings that have no place being there; full of the sounds of the day you know you’d never live; full of the darkness that drowns you as you try to reach for that light; it’s full of this smoke; uncertainty; no clarity; a gravity that pulls you in until you’re no longer there.

You see the best in people; you see the best in this paragon you’ve assumed exists. But you really see it, you believe it. It’s what love teaches you every damn time; every damn time. People do not need to be put on pedestals; people are just that, people. And people will always disappoint you, that’s just it; without meaning to, without thinking. It’s inevitable, it just is.