Love Lockdown ©Jake Warren 2015

The State of Love — Florida

I love to write when I’m flying. There’s something in the magic of flight that lends the mind to thinking of the larger purpose. It strips away the painful plagues of minute detail that envelopes life. Thirty-thousand feet in the sky is a simple place to exist. Worries or stresses, like the clouds outside the window, can be observed from a passing distance because there is literally nothing you can do about the trajectory of your life as an aircraft passenger.

I often find myself strolling down memory lane, tracing the path of how I got to be at this exact moment in time and creating a matrix of the chance encounters that shaped my decisions and desires. Instructors who happened to be teaching exactly what I needed to learn. Employers who took chances on me that both failed and succeeded. The girl I met, almost half a decade ago, in Vancouver and redefined everything about my perception of the human condition and relationships.

“I’m at that stage in life where I’m really over the single life. My friends around me are all at that age where they’re getting married or having kids and starting a family and after so many years of having that around you it starts to seep in.” This was Ian talking, our host and the first stranger on our trip to let me stay in his home. “But it’s hard to find that person too right? When my ex and I broke up a year — well a year and some change ago — I met some really great girls but I had to say, ‘I’m just not there yet.’ I wasn’t ready, personally, to put myself in intimate relationships with anyone else.” he continued.

I liked what Ian was getting at. He is a musician, a fellow creative, and a person that understood the complexity of communicating love in conversational words devoid of the heart and soul of artistic, emotional, invocation. The afternoon before we all went out on the town for my ritualistic pledge into the fraternity of St. Augustine he played us a sampling of cuts from his personal music archive. Notes of songs or fully flushed out demos, even some goofy things he’d recorded just so they would stop swirling around in his mind. You could feel the specter of artists like M83 and MGMT in his tracks but he wasn’t ripping them off; he was thanking them for instituting a path to personal expression.

His songs drew on this eclectic theme of abandoned love; how that shaped expectations and desires for love in our lives. The chaotic process of revelations countered with fears of rejections. They caused me dwellings on my own aspirations in love and the trepidations that halted their expressions.

“I understand pisces men very well. Very very well. More than any other sign.” Jesse said. She was a beautiful blond girl from Texas who, with a ravishing drawl, could rattle off the names of all the tequilas behind the bar from her vast library of brand shapes and colours. She was studying in St. Augustine, and a girl that Ian was incredibly fond of. I could see why. Following my pledge into the St. Augustine fraternity, consisting of bar hopping from hot spot to hot spot, we sat around a table in Ian’s backyard and had our night-caps and discussed relationships. Like people do when they drink.

“A pisces male, you’re just all here.” she put her hand over her heart and sweetly tapped her hand a couple times as she finished her sentence. “And you try to use your head, but when it comes down to it you’re all heart. You love and you love in every way you can but you’re not expressive and over the top. Other signs, like the leo and the aries are very loving too, but the way it’s portrayed and the way that love is expressed is different.”

“So wait, what’s her sign again?” Ian asked. “Cancer.” I replied. “And you’re a pisces, okay.” he began to type away on his phone. “A relationship between the two of you will be full of emotions. Both pisces and cancer are very sensitive and sentimental signs — they’re individuals who take things seriously and personally, mostly because they have a strong ability to empathize with others. Pisces’ intuition and the sensitive nature of cancer make the two have an understanding and compassion for each other. At times, pisces cries and cancer shies away. Pisces is gullible and can get hurt easily when it comes to matters of the heart. This can be avoided if the two of you follow your instincts rather than intuition since you tend to attach emotion to decision making. Cancer strives to find peaceful home and family and this is where pisces can cater to them perfectly by providing exactly what they need. You will be happy while engaging in various activities such as swimming and dancing as well as some creative art pursuits. You are a dreamer and always fantasizing about relationships and this is equally met by cancer who provides an understanding and nurturing reassurance. These signs are incredibly impressionistic and require grounding from time to time. You can always spice up your life by trying out new things together; spontaneity will not cause any frictions. At times you will both find each other able to read each others minds.”

So this strange piece of software written to interpret the inputs of mystical astrological forces, without even meeting me, figured out my frustrations in love. I was kind of spooked. Drinking in a dark corner of Florida with two strangers discussing my most intimate thoughts was becoming not as great of an idea in practice as it sounded in theory.

“We’re chemical beings though, and that chemistry changes. Timing is big in everything.” Ian began to redirect the conversation, and I was happy to have the spotlight away from my life.

“I’ll use my parents for example. So my mom was a freshman in college and my dad a senior in high school — it was a small town. My mom had always had this thing for my dad and one weekend she threw this party for the purpose of my dad showing up. My dad got grounded that weekend. My mother felt so rejected because he didn’t show up. Later everyone told her, ‘No! No! He so wanted to be there, but he was grounded.’ Some time passed by and my mom went to one of my dad’s gigs. He was a musician, a drummer, and they always sweat the most. Especially in those days without drum amplification so they really had to play to be heard. So he was super sweaty and invited her to the afterparty, but had change his shirt first. They went out to his car and he took his shirt off…”

“And Ian was conceived!” Jesse shouted. We all had a good laugh at this welcomed comical break before Ian corrected the story, stating he was born ten years after his parents married.

“My mom told me that the moment when he took his shirt off, ‘I was just like…’” Ian made this indescribable wooing sigh of a woman expressing incredible desire for something with incredible guilt for feeling it at the same time. “And I was like, ‘yeah, mom, I don’t really need to know about this. I know as an adult now what that moment is like, and what you were thinking in your mind and that’s dirty mom.’ But it’s interesting to think about the timing, and if they had met at the party instead.” Ian trailed off here as we wrapped up our conversation.

I tried to think of how I would tell my parents coming together story to a stranger. If I could condense that bristled spine of notes and plot points into a polished and precise story. Probably not.

It was approaching 3:30 in the morning, and the next day we were scheduled to be in Charleston by the afternoon. The consensus was to sleep.

Look for the next article, The State of Love — North Carolina on Friday July 10, 2015.

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