This is who we are: we build common men into gods, and the true gods shake their heads at our folly.
We are sophisticated addicts – that is all we are, let us not fool ourselves – drunk on the ecstasies of joy afforded not by sex or a packet of dust that can shoot us straight to the moon, but beauty. A line of exquisite poetry that trembles down the linings of our hearts. A surreal painting of warped wonder. And yes: an imagined love, come to grace our lives with his sunbeam presence. Reality turns us heavy-lidded and listless, and when we cannot find sources of our next hit, we create them ourselves.
It is the only way to live, we tell ourselves, just as the drug addict, convulsing beneath her counterpane, whimpers rationalizations, at the mercy of the cravings of her body. We did not choose this. Our souls, softer and more susceptible than most, made the choice for us, and it is one we have to live with, day after day.
The highs are good. Very good. But the lows are very, very bad.
For every fairytale garden of brambly roses and hidden crannies and ivy-clung tower, there are a thousand neatly manicured lawns. I repeat, let us not fool ourselves: you know very well this is is the case. Sometimes, the gold is there, sheathing the skin of him, and sometimes, we have merely tinted our glasses with flakes of the stuff. Most people see an abandoned graveyard and do not fall into paroxysms of joy. You see beauty in the morbid, the ugly, the sad, the strange, and, worst of all, where there is no beauty at all: just rocks and stones and plants.
It’s easy to think there is a jewel, glowing quietly in his heart, that only you can see. Nothing is easier than seeing what you want to see. But you cannot know it exists until you get close enough to cut him open, to slice through the bone and wet flesh and pry apart the raw lump of his heart and scrabble in its slick depths. Most times, your fingers will come away bloodied and empty. This will make you cry. But do not fret, there will be other bodies for you to carve into, for the world is a veritable landscape of walking corpses.
And do not be afraid to let others cut you open, too. It stings, it stings, but there is no greater joy than for fingers digging and probing in your heart to withdraw with a faceted nub of wonder clutched between them. Perhaps the jewels will take some time to form, like kidney stones, and only begin to grow, lodged on the wall of each of your ventricles, when you have spent more time together. That is okay, too.
You are already a god. We are all gods. Our hearts are crammed with jewels, our arms laden with offerings.
Let us worship each other. Let us worship each other.