It is a child on a temper tantrum, a brooding and scorned lover, a well of sweet promises, a cornucopia of dreams, and it is a detailed life story written in red ink. It is the heart. As a writer the one that comes most readily to mind is my own, and of course they say the best writing comes from personal experience. The two previous sentences were as cliché as they come because everybody has a heart and every writer will inevitably write about something they are familiar with, but please bear with me as we dive into this beast.
Our lives and hearts are inevitably marked with the photographs and captions of times in our past. When you look back do you find that your heart yearns for that certain someone? Take a minute and really consider this for a moment. Is there someone that you would have dropped all other tasks and engagements to be united with? Our hearts are the children within us that beg to see that favorite person again, and pulling our hands with hurried feet toward the direction of a love interest. And, when we finally have picked the apple of our eye from the tree of life… it ceases to shine and like Aphrodite’s golden apple it causes discord within us. For men, and please excuse the overly male metaphor here, it is as if were are gladiators or huntsmen. Dueling against ourselves in our hearts until we wear away the armor of logic and army ourselves with the crude tools of emotion, and once the victory has been won the trophy heart loses its luster.
Welcome to my world; with the exception of this being my present reality as well.
As I type these words it seems a cacophony of “These Words” by Natasha Bedingfield, John Mayer’s “Half of my heart” and the Counting Crows version of “Big Yellow Taxi” are playing within me. I know that the pressed grape wine of love has been poured into my cup, and yet I feel the desire to push it away in favor of another equally appealing vintage. The truly lamentable idea is that one cup has been already poured and the bottle cannot be returned, and I know that the bottle of white whine that glimmers in holy sunshine is being courted to another table. I, of course, harken my wine and my gladiator to the splendor of Roma. Of course what can be more romantic than a dinner at the Olive Garden, no?
Now for the Metaphor
And as I continue to watch the two Gladiators fight within me I partake of the wine that has been so graciously been poured for next to nothing. I glance over and I see that one Gladiator has his crimson blade resting on his throat. He awaits my thumbs vertical approval. To the left of me is an aged man full of thought and experience, and to my right is a young and wild, passionate, lover of many things. They both paddle on to each other about the merits and detriments of the situation I find myself in. And yet when it comes to giving the gladiator a decision… My eyes darting back and forth from the wild lover to the aged scholar. Each give me fair arguments and fiery passion, and yet neither one is convincing. What to do…?
I wave my hand in a noncommittal fashion and the fallen gladiator springs back to his feet and continues his bloody fight to the end.
Wine has a bitter taste and yet when consumed gives a pleasurable effect, and if taken without moderation robs us of our decision making. The security of my faculties brought low by the quick power of a sip of intoxicating love, but now my sense have returned do I realize I have entered the coliseum out of folly, and I desire a way out in sheer panic lest I strike out and destroy something beautiful.
The Emperor gives but two choices to a gladiator: Life or Death. I know to whom my heart wishes to live, but that is the losing Gladiator, and the victorious Gladiator I know deserves to be brought low.
And again, the red wine has been poured and cannot be returned to the bottle. I must drink. If I do not my fear and weakness will show, and someone will fall.
I am the Emperor. Now, I must decide.