Dear Ms. Jankowski,
I bet you never thought you’d actually ever see that “Desire” essay from me, but—surprise!
She sat back and stared at what she had written on the screen. The lamp cast a small circle of light on the desk. Within the intimate circle, she considered what to write as the rest of the house, the rest of the world, and even time became a reality somewhere beyond her. She leaned in closer to the glowing monitor, like a small confessional window, as her fingers returned to the keyboard.
At first I didn’t know what to say about desire, so I just avoided writing anything at all. But that changed yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it, and I guess when most people think about desire, they imagine a force that’s hot or burning, like the saying “burning desire,” that drives people together or makes them run after some goal. But I’ve seen that desire is something much different. Desire doesn’t burn after all, but instead it’s a cold, bottomless well.
Cory sat back to read over what she had written, then hunched over the keyboard again. Her fingers pounded the keys, as if she were taking dictation.
No, not really bottomless because you find out when you fall into desire and hit bottom, it breaks your spirit. It’s full of cold water that extinguishes any last bit of warmth within your body and leaves you down there, alone, unable to call for help.
I met a lady who had a desire to make things right and all it did was ruin her life. She made a mistake and her horse got hurt, so she wanted to take care of him. Instead, she got screwed over. She had a desire—a desire to do the right thing and a desire for justice, and that desire rewarded her with losing her business and her reputation and everything. And what about desire and love? That may be even worse. What if you desire a person and that person doesn’t love you back as much, or at all? Desire is a horrible pain that hangs around you, wanting a person you can’t have for the rest of your life until you start going out with any old creep just to make some of that desire go away. But it never does. Maybe being with someone else dulls it a bit. But maybe that drive to be with any guy at all is what makes you feel like crap about yourself. Any way it goes, it was desire for someone you can’t have that ruins your life.
She looked at the blank wall in front of her, as if she could see through its thickness to the sleeping woman in the next room, then turned, her eyes resting for a moment on Jess’s empty bed.
And not just desire for some one but also desire for some thing. I’m watching as a girl I know is killing herself, literally, over a desire for something. She wants to be the best dancer so bad, everything else in her life is shrinking away, including her body. Just to make the goal of getting into a big-time dance company someday. Her desire is not making her happy. Just the opposite. It seems to make her miserable. The more successful she is at dancing, the more driven and obsessed she gets, and the more she thinks she’s fat and ugly.
I wanted to qualify to ride in the Washington International Horse Show, but I’m also afraid of not making it. Sometimes I’m so afraid that I think I’m only in love with the idea of being a good rider, but don’t have what it takes to get there. I don’t want to want something so bad and not get it. It would be easier to just not try.
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