Part of me aches for a firm hand stroking my skin, my body rising up in response. For eyes meeting, breathing in another’s every breath. It’s the oldest magic that there is. Incantations whispered, mouths against molten skin. Eyes worshipping, hands revering, lips tracing holy pathways. Fires igniting more fires — raging, burning, simmering, and consuming us wholly within it.
Then the quiet embers of connection begin. Eyes meeting softly now, hands moving slowly, breathing labored until it slows to quiet murmurs. Sleep. Then we’re waking again to fire, being consumed, and falling back into slumber.
Somewhere tonight, someone is settling for less.
For hands that stroke their skin without appreciating its perfection. For bodies that exploit rather than explore, tracing hands over a map to a treasure without appreciating the route along the way, without understanding that the route is the prize.
They’re choosing illusions over magic, whispered lies skimming the skin to be allowed in. They receive lip service to worship, but no holy communion shared between souls. Their eyes never meet, and the fire never truly burns except to burn out long before they were ever consumed. Then they fall into sleep separately, no matter how much of their bodies touch.
They search their dreams instead for the magic they’re missing.
And tonight I long for the old magic, but I shrink from the touch of cold, impersonal hands calculating what they might be able to get and just how much I might be persuaded to give. My soul withdraws from the snake oil salesman with their fancy bottles filled to the brim with something that might resemble magic — if one had only ever seen an advertisement of magic on a billboard while driving fast in the desert, the shimmering heat obscuring the image.
Magic, once known, cannot be forgotten, no matter how many nights we might allow ourselves to drink potions that make us weak with desire and then fall into beds with illusionists who conjure something like connection with a stacked deck and marked cards. Marked cards, a mark. How easily they find us out, those who crave magic. As if the longing for it shimmers on our skin, marking us as easy targets for a smooth line that almost sounds like the truth.
Somewhere tonight, someone is settling for less. And I am here, lying in my bed, cool sheets against hot skin. Alone. Power shimmering on my skin like the moonlight that comes in from the window I left open so I could feel the cool air rearranging my hair like a lover’s hands.
Because we understand, finally, that loving ourselves is magic, too.
We’re not depleted by fires that burn us out and burn us up without ever stoking our own, that leave us to start new fires elsewhere. Our hearts are burning from being left one too many times, a wildfire raging out of control.
And then… we stop. Our hearts grow stronger, new growth coming in where the old lives were consumed. We don’t look for the snake oil salesmen, striking matches in each new town they come to, because we’re busy looking inward, striking matches in our own souls.
We begin to turn all of our love in, feeling it flow out at the same time, a circle of magic that cannot be broken. Not as we’ve been broken by careless hands with callused hearts that don’t feel the way we do. We do not fall for the patter of pretty lies.
We drink potions and feel strong in the knowledge that falling into our beds alone is infinitely better than finding pretty illusions who only seek to start fires they have no desire to watch burn. We dive headlong into our own hearts and breathe magic with every breath we take, knowing that one day we’ll likely meet someone whose magic is worthy of our own.
But until then, we make our own magic.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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