In the beginning there was innocence.
An innocence so pure, so treasured, so sacred, that you, the virtuous, can decide a course of which to set your purity upon. Do you give your innocence away? Do you keep it to yourself? These were the questions that plagued me. Only rarely is it that you’ll have it ripped from you without complete control over the situation. But that didn’t happen to me. I chose the robber of my innocence. I chose my corruption. I chose to give myself away.
It was our six-month anniversary. Counting the months you are able to last in a relationship may seem childish and arbitrary, but in our defence, we were not yet adults. We were uncorrupted.
A lot of my friends were no longer innocent however. Most of them had experienced their transcendence into a more errant world during previous relationships. Some occurred by chance, unplanned, without a second thought. I had waited, holding onto the last shards of my virtue, clutching them close to my chest, trying not to let them float away. I was dangling off of the edge of a cliff that was so high up in the clouds that you couldn’t see the depth of the gorge you were about to tumble down into. My friends had all taken the plunge. Why couldn’t I?
They had all advised me that it was the right time. Time to let go.
We had discussed it beforehand. Face to face with my thief, my sinner, we had discussed the sacrifice we were about to make to each other. This comforted me. I was giving up my innocence to him, he was giving up his innocence to me, so was it really a loss? I saw it as more of an exchange. Purity leaving one body only to be absorbed by the other. Was it really a loss?
In the days beforehand, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my choices. Had I chosen the right person? I certainly thought so. I had never been with a person before as I had been with him. He was so lovely, so exquisitely lovely. Being with him made me feel like I could fly. I loved him with every inch of my being. I didn’t know if what I was feeling was actually love, as I had never loved before him, but whatever my feelings were, they were strong. Sometimes I would get a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach when I thought about him, about how perfect he was, about how he could say the stupidest things, about how his mouth would break into a most crooked shape whenever he was in a good mood. I used to cry over him, cry over how he knew me like no one else and how I felt more like myself whenever I was with him.
I loved him with every inch of my being. Now my love would be manifested.
On the night of, he asked me one more time if I was okay. And I was. I was okay. I was okay as he led me upstairs. I was okay as he brought me into his bedroom. I was okay as I slipped under the covers of his bed. I was okay as he slid in after me. I was okay when he enveloped my body in his. I was okay when I could no longer tell where he ended and where I began. I was okay when thoughts of everything else in the room seemed to evaporate and everything on my mind seemed to evaporate and we were transported to another planet where the population was just us two or maybe it was just one because we were one and I couldn’t fathom thoughts of anyone else. Skin melting, breath heavy, touch soft, we were falling falling falling into each other. Falling falling falling off that cliff.
When people describe something as being lost, there always exists the possibility that it can be found, or that only part of it has disappeared, or that it’s something you can make up for.
After that day, even before that day, I understood that there was no going back. I would be going all in, with no substitution or reacquisition later on. Not only had something been lost, it had disappeared, vanished, as though it wasn’t even there in the first place.
From then on, my innocence was little more of a figment of my imagination.
People are usually sad when they lose things. Am I sad? I can’t tell you that. I flung myself off the cliff down into the gorge, and what I found wasn’t a gorge at all. It wasn’t the burning pits of hell, but it wasn’t the pearly gates of heaven. It just was. I am not sad because of my loss. I don’t feel as though I am any less of a person, or that I am any more of a person. I just am.
All I can tell you is that this is the one thing I’ve lost that is sure never to be found again.
Winner of Mentor College's Bard Award for Lyricism, April 2014.