Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"This is my baby, and you're my maybe"

Today my brother was holding one of his cats, an orange tabby named Benjamin, in his arms, talking to him. Right next to him on the couch was Delilah, an orange and white tabby. My brother looked at Benjamin square in the eyes and told him, "This [Delilah] is my baby, and you're [Benjamin] my maybe."

It was perhaps one of the saddest and truest expressions of love I had ever heard in my life. I love her, and, while I love you, too, I don't love you as much. This seems to be the story of my life: always loved, but not enough. How many times have I been the maybe to somebody's baby? How many times have I taken a backseat to the love of another? The baby, my mortal rival, enemy through and through, waltzes about life in a blissful stupor, drunk with stolen libations of the heart.

It's hard to be classified a maybe. Maybe means you just don't quite live up to the internal expectations I have for true love. Maybe means you fill another role better than the one you're applying for. I remember quite vividly being told that I was, "like a big brother, like a best friend", and how the love of romance was inconceivable. And a part of me wonders what it would be like if only I could be a poorer friend, less apt to fill that roll of fraternal love and more prone to fill the roll of romantic lover. But could you ask a bird to sing more poorly? Or a star to shine less brilliantly? Or a flower to bloom more modestly? Don't they have admirers?

So I wait. A maybe. An open-ended question, an unforeseeable force, a trail whose path is unclear. Who will venture into this unknown? Who could love me as I am?