The world only exists in my eyes. I can make it as big or as small as I want. I'm not sure what I’ll do, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale and someday I want excitement; and I don’t care what form it takes or what I pay for it, so long as it makes my heart beat. I'm going to find somebody and love her and love her and never let her go.
I looked at her the way all women want to be looked at by a man. It's hard to sit here and be close to her, and not kiss her. My heart beat faster and faster as her white face came up to my own. When she saw my face our eyes met and everything was all right, everything was wonderful, she knew that I was beginning to fall in love with her. The helpless ecstasy of losing myself in her charm was a powerful opiate. I knew that when I kissed this girl, and forever wed my unutterable visions to her perishable breath, my mind would never romp again. So I waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then I kissed her. At my lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
I didn’t realize it, but the days came along one after another, and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone. My dream must have seemed so close that I could hardly fail to grasp it. I did not know that it was already behind me. Angry, and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away. The beauty of succulent illusions fell away from me. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.
Life is so damned hard, so damned hard... It just hurts people and hurts people, until finally it hurts them so that they can't be hurt ever any more. That's the last and worst thing it does. Everywhere we go and move on and change, something's lost--something's left behind.
I have traded the fight against love for the fight against loneliness, the fight against life for the fight against death. I am tired of knowing nothing and being reminded of it all the time. Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes. Suddenly I realized that what I was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had not been but what would never be. Life plays the same lovely and agonizing joke on all of us. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
Long ago there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more. All the bright precious things fade so fast, and they don't come back. There's only one lesson to be learned from life...that there's no lesson to be learned from life. So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Acknowledgment: F. Scott Fitzgerald