Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Edward.

Note: Yes, I've been reading the Twilight series. I just (minutes ago) finished Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn is waiting for me on my bookshelf. I'm mildly obsessed, and as such, this post will contain some allusions and references to the books. No spoilers, I promise.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to most that I'm mildly in love with Edward Cullen. Other than the striking beauty and eloquence, the danger he exudes is not only exciting, but enthralling. Yes, I know he's a fictional character. I'm not obsessed with him (nor even with the actor who portrays him in the film), but it is an interesting kind of fairy-tale crush. Were the fairy tale laced with deadly implications and dark (albeit infuriatingly restrained) eroticism.

Such a hero, free of the shining white horse and spotless past, has always appealed to me more than the stereotypical Prince Charming. The brooding intellectualism rather than the shiningly ignorant optimism, the mysterious past which can't quite be reconciled over the pedigreed and pampered upbringing... it's always fascinated me, and I suppose I was just waiting for someone to deify such a character so I could openly identify with the type of anti-hero I had been wanting.

Of course, there are darker motives, too. I like the danger. Part of me loves the uncertainty. We know I'm a masochist, and so there is without question a part of me that loves the pain brought on by proximity to such brilliant, dark people. And they are always brilliant, just like the storybook. Intoxicatingly beautiful. And utterly irresistible, for someone like me.

And the interesting part is that in many ways, this wasn't just a fantasy. Sure, several of my relationships have had elements of those dark fairy tales, but there has been one consistent anti-hero weaving his way in and out of my story for almost a decade now. Yes, I know that means we were very young when we met. Nevertheless, that's the truth. I will, for obvious reasons, call him Edward.

He was beautiful and dark from the moment we met. He avoided me so stringently at first that there was little to conclude other than two extremes: He either hated me immensely, or he was "unchangingly, irrevocably in love" with me. (Which sounds conceited, except that he's told me as much.) He was very much a mystery for a long time after that, and our sporadic meetings were as intense as any I'd ever had. When he finally spoke to me, he was condescending (though I was a year older), overconfident, and still strikingly beautiful. When he met my eyes for the first time, I forgot how to breathe. The piercing blue, in sharp contrast to his dark, spiked hair, ripped through me with a force I wasn't sure was human.

For those first few years, we fought almost constantly. Well, that's not entirely true. The tension and passion between us has always been thick, tight and tangible enough to cut with a knife. More often than not, those two forces overlap one another and what should be a screaming match has us out of breath and spent for an entirely different reason. His touch is hard and simultaneously comforting. I know he is stronger than me and am full aware he could easily break me - indeed, sometimes I wish he would - but that sets me more on edge and makes me want him that much more. Although he knows exactly the same, he has never once treated me like he was afraid he would break me. His hands rough on my wrists, his mouth hard as he would bite my neck.

And there is something more than vaguely vampiric about him. Besides the pale skin, dark hair and stunning eyes, the beautifully sharp jaw line and striking physical strength, the way he looks at me does resonate hunger. He was always unabashedly fascinated by my self-destructive tendencies, especially those that left me bleeding. To this day, he looks over the scars on my wrists with a morbid fascination. Again, to quote Twilight, he looks at me as though I'm something to eat.

And god, the feel of his skin on mine. The way that hunger translates into every time he touches me. How he knows exactly where to touch me, where to put his hands, his lips, his tongue... It's enchanting, and frighteningly disarming. I have no defenses around him. Effortlessly, he reduces me to putty in his hands. Looking at him would be enough, but his deft handling of my body makes resisting not remotely possible.

Our paths cross so infrequently that I am left clinging to memories of when we were together. More than once, they have become vivid fantasies. Sometimes the memories of things that have never happened. And in all likelihood, never will happen.

Amidst our passion, and perhaps as a consequence of it, we do get into knock-down, drag-out fights. We stop speaking for long periods of time. He falls off the face of the earth on a disconcertingly regular basis. And every time he does, I promise myself I will not, under any conditions, accept his excuses. Because he always has them. Every time he leaves, and hurts me by doing so, he comes back with some excuse. I don't bother believing them anymore. Because whether or not I believe that he was bailing his brother out of jail or joining the military or being a drug runner doesn't matter. We both know it doesn't matter. Because I know he'll come back to me. And he knows I'll take him back. It's a brutal, destructive cycle.

I know, unlike Bella, that Edward is no good for me. I don't want the kind of future he is always trying to promise me, because I know how incredibly unlikely it is to ever come to be. I know that Edward is dangerous. I know that he will cause me more pain before we can ever get to the happiness, if the barrage ever stops. But, like Bella, I cannot pull myself away from my dark hero. I guess, in a way, I am addicted to the pain. Maybe because it feels so good when it stops. And it feels so good when he's with me. I've never been with someone who understands me on such an intimate, intrinsic level. Who can make me so angry that I can't see straight, and hold me tight enough that I believe the world will stop hurting me, and kiss me so hard that everything else fades away.

And that's exactly why I can't pull away. I started writing this with the intention of calling him once I was done and telling him it was finally over. That he and I were over. That I couldn't stand the pain anymore, that it had outweighed the good - my attraction to him, and yes, my love for him. But that isn't true. And I can't lie to him. I tried, once. Tried to convince him I wasn't in love with him. He knew me better. Obviously, he is still here. And so am I.

In many ways, nothing has changed since we met. In many ways, everything is different. But what I still can't decide is what I am going to do about the facts. About the fact that he is bad for me. And that I'm bad for him. And that the passion we have for one another sometimes turns to anger. And that the way I feel about him is something completely distinct and unique from anything else I've ever felt, including about my first love. And that I write about him differently (and rarely) here because I am so uncertain of how I feel, but nonetheless, the words flow easily and uncensored. I know that we are like two combustibles, waiting to explode into a brilliant burst of flames the moment we touch. I never know whether those flames will be pleasurable or painful.

But not knowing is some of the fun. And part of the appeal in the masochism I have come to embrace. Something he knew about me before I discovered it myself. And there is something about the fact that he has yet to leave me - for good, I mean. I have said terrible things to him, consciously hurt him... and he always comes back. I don't know if that's love... or obsession. And I don't know if I care. I am so clearly unclear about everything Edward does. I know how he feels, I know what he wants, but I have no idea as to whether it's something that will ever actually come to be. I'm not even sure if it's possible.

And I haven't finished the series yet, so I don't know if Edward gets a happy ending. And even if he does, how happy can the ending be when one must sacrifice something so great to be with the other? In the end, who is really making the sacrifice? That's still unclear.


Roland Hulme said...

Definitely a blog post worth waiting for!

What an awesome peek into your psyche... I haven't read the Twilight series, but I'm aware of them (I was actually at a book launch of Breaking Dawn.) I think the author's managed to successfully tap into the most essential, addictive part of romance and that's why they're so successful.

I'm ALWAYS seeing parallels between my life and loves and books I read. Maybe that makes me an egotist. Or a fantasist. I don't know...

Anyway. I like it.

I think what's astonishing is how books can weave this kind of magic in a way TV or films never could. People are always complaining that TV and movies warp innocent minds, but it's books that have influenced me more than anything.

TV and film just SHOW you things. I think the magic of books is that it's almost like a kind of telepathy - the author gives you the story and the settings, but it's the reader who creates the images and noises and voices in their head, making it a very intimate kind of thing.

And that intimacy, along with tapping so perfectly into common themes of love, romance and danger, which makes books like Twilight so successful.

I don't know. None of that makes any sense.

Anyway. AWESOME post.

Merlin said...

Not knowing is part of the fun . . . or perhaps all of it.

Amalthea said...

I want a female Edward.... maybe Edwina? :D

I'm like Roland (who I am re-reading about at the moment with the Dark Tower series) in that parallel views with books thing. I loved the first book of hers, and hated the rest. I don't have an Edward or Edwina though, haha.

This post moved me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Essin' Em said...

Gah! I am so behind. Who the hell is Edward? CALL ME! ok, I lied, wait a few days, and call. I have no voice right now. But AHHH. Call me soon!