Hello, there stranger.
I know that lately you’ve been distant, absent, tired. It’s okay… I’ve been there as well.
I understand that you’re starting to trip and slip your way out of routine. That is not okay, and should be remedied right away.
To distract you from all the sorrows and… obstacles of your day to day life, today I want to take you into a journey of abstract feelings and thoughts.
Today’s story is not about anyone you have ever known, or even encountered.
Today’s story is something a lot of people have lived through, something maybe you too felt at one point.
Today I’ll tell you why sometimes
Love is Not Enough.
Everyone at one point convince themselves that life could be so much sweeter if they only had love, that maybe it would all be better if they could just fall in love.
Love fixes everything.
But it doesn’t.
There are many times in which love is not the solution to every problem. Sometimes there are more things, problems, feelings, issues, fears, than love could ever explain or counteract.
I guess that’s also part of the problem: Love was never supposed to be enough.
Love is a feeling, a part of something greater and bigger and maybe even a bit scary. Love is not a whole. It is a screw desperately trying to hold onto all the little pieces that make up a machinery.
Love is foolish and smart and selfish and helpless and kind.
Love want and it takes, and it takes, and it takes, and it gives, gives, gives. But love doesn’t ask you what you want to give, what you want to take. It just does.
It acts, and it breathes, and it lives inside your skin.
Love makes you stupid.
Love makes a person go “maybe this is not such a bad idea, after all.” right before they abandon all sense of logic and duty and just lunge for something.
Love is dangerous for us, for the less than vital parts of the machine. We can be traded and reused. We can be thrown away at any second, all the machine needs is parts, and there are plenty to spare.
They are just waiting for us to slip up, and when we do, we are thrown away.
Not Jade though, he was special like that. He was a screw, just like the rest of us, just another part of the machinery that was only supposed to hold and maybe witness. But he was liked, by lots of people. Definitely by a lot more people than the regular screw.
Being a screw means that you must keep your head low and take orders, it means writing in small pads dates, numbers, information, tips, everything that you are told to do. You must be an invisible force, take and take and take and take and never give back.
Unlike love, screws know exactly what to take and what not to give.
Jade was not like that.
Jade loved the idea of taking, of improving and helping. He truly believed being a screw was something good, that he could change the world just by relying simple facts and clinical information to the rest of the machinery. But he was not so fond of the idea of anonymity, that he was only supposed to take, that he should never be seen.
And he liked it even less when he met her.
I will not give names here, because it truly is in your best interest not to know. Just know that she was someone else’s assignment before Jade asked about her, before this other person was moved somewhere else, somewhere warm and calm. Somewhere cold was something that hardly ever happened in the winter time.
Jade saw her and suddenly he forgot how to behave like a screw. At the time no one cared, it didn’t matter to the rest of the machinery that maybe he was a bit compromised, that he cared more than he should. For the machinery it was all about facts and percentages, compatibility numbers and success rates.
Jade saw her and the machinery allowed him to observe her.
And he did. For weeks he was as relentless and careful as he had always been, jotting down numbers and patterns, times between meals and phone calls. The machinery was pleased.
But then something changed.
No one knows exactly what happened or how. He had acquaintances, and people who’d greet him on the halls on the way out, but screws weren’t allowed to have friends, to be anything other than they already were. So no one ever knew what happened.
Was it love? Who knows.
All I know is that one day he was a screw, he fed the machine all the words and facts that it needed to be happy and keep on working, and then the next… there was nothing.
No words for the machinery, no notes to his supervisors.
There was nothing but an empty bed in the morning, and strewn papers all over the place.
There were facts and words, and lies, lies, lies, fed to the machine for days before anyone could have noticed.
A younger screw was called in to work on the case. This particular person was smart and agile, they had a good success ratio and didn’t particularly stuck out in a crowd.
They were chosen because of their ability to blend in and being forgotten.
Screws were particularly good at noticing things no one else did. They were trained for years not to miss any details. If anyone was going to be able to find Jade, it would be this person who lived their entire life being unnoticed in a company whose sole purpose was to notice, to see, to analyze.
They were perfect.
They delegated responsibilities, all the cases they were supposed to already be working on. They moved back from the warmth and into the unforgiving cold.
It didn’t take them long to find Jade and the unnamed woman. They had moved, the same way wayward screws were advised to do so once they were let go. Never stay in one place for long, never cross path with another unassuming person, never look back, never stray from your path.
They were shocked to see the quiet and simple person walk up to them on a white afternoon. They were all wearing grey coats and scarves, gloves, and hats with washed off colors.
“Jade,” The smart and agile person said. They sat down beside them outside a cafe and offered no other explanation.
The man and the woman who no longer went by their previous names stared at them in fright.
“Excuse me but I–” The man who did not call himself Jade anymore started, but cut himself off before the screw could silence him with a look. “I didn’t expect they’d send you.”
Something like surprise went through the screw’s face. They weren’t used to be recognized.
“You did not?”
“I thought I wasn’t as important,” The man said in a rush. “I thought they’d send someone else. I thought I’d have more time.”
“You know who she is, though.” The screw shrugged. “She’s much too important to let go of.”
The man didn’t say anything for a while. The woman stared at both of them in contemplative silence before she addressed the screw with careful words, “He told me you were supposed to be my observer.” The screw shrugged once more, they were not allowed to talk to her. “May I ask why?”
The screw remained silent. The man sighed.
“Could you give me some time? For old time’s sake?”
The screw looked at the man, really looked at him and the strangeness of his words, and they saw him.
There was a fog that lifted, a feeling that was not supposed to be there. And the screw mourned for a moment the person they had been and would never be able to return to be again. As the fog and the drowsiness left, they knew they would never be able to go back.
“Jade,” The screw said again but this time they had a voice, this time they remembered. “They will come, if I don’t take you back someone else will.”
“You have to leave,” The screw said, but this time they stared at the woman. “If you don’t leave they will come for you again, and again, and again.”
“I know,” Jade said.
“You need to leave her. They will never stop looking if she’s there.”
“You will have to disappear,”
“But you don’t want to disappear. You want to stay, you want to fight,” The screw pointed out. They were, after all, expert at noticing things and reading people. “But you can’t. If you fight you will die.”
“I’ve nowhere else to go.”
The woman stared at them in stunned fear.
“Cromly,” The screw said after only a second of silence. “I’ve got Cromly, I’ve gotten Cromly for a while. If you go to them, they can get you a new life. You’ll be free.”
There was fear in Jades eye, but there was something else: Not hope, but admiration.
“Cromly,” He said, slowly.
“Cromly. They’ll get you out of here and into the other regions. Once you cross the second border no one will ever be able to find you again. No one would dare to.”
“I can’t leave her like this,” He argued.
“You can’t take her.”
“Cromly can only hide her. If you go through the borders, they’ll forget you. If she goes through the borders, they’ll hunt her down and kill her.”
“Oh,” the woman said. “Oh.”
They separated inside a train station.
The screw will never forget that, just like they will never forget anything else ever again.
The screw walked into the train and stared at them while the doors closed. They were holding hands. She was crying. He was sobbing in silence.
They were looking into each other’s eyes and repeating names and times, and routines. They were making a list of all the things they needed to forget but wanted so badly to keep. They wanted to keep so many things. It was there, in the way they held hands like they would never be able to touch anything as long as they lived. It was in the way their faces tilted toward each other but never touched. It was in the way their feet shuffled as the train announced the last minute boarding.
It was there when they kissed and cried.
It was there when they pulled apart.
It was there when they walked away.
It is still there, as the man lies his head against a cool pane of glass to look outside to a world he never thought he’d see, but couldn’t enjoy anymore. It’s still there in the way trees sway to the compass of the wind and water ripples as birds gently touch the surface of a lake as they fly.
It is no longer there, in the vacant look of two pools of liquid spring. It’s not in lingering fingers against soft fabrics on clothing stores, and giggling voices that want to read every book in the world.
It’s still inside the screw’s mind, because they will never be able to forget that longing, how it looked, how it might feel.
That screw will live in longing, a different kind. To know, to hold, to experience…. maybe even to forget.
Forget that love is not enough, that people suffer, that people take and take and take, and even if they give back, sometimes love is just not the answer, but the riddle.