And if we’re really lucky, maybe we decide to go walk down to the park and share a few moments together.

rented, not owned

Part of the the land of if collection

“So you got the girl — now what?”


He put out his final cigarette, the last of the banned cloves, by twisting it between his fingers on the plate in front of him, and spoke, "I don’t think anyone ever really gets anyone. We just find ourselves sharing a bench and talking about things and maybe for a little while that makes us feel less alone. Maybe for a little while we want to scoot a little closer, maybe even hold hands.

“And if we’re really lucky, maybe we decide to go walk down to the park and share a few moments together.

“Maybe she decides she likes me and that’s a promise to herself to try until it stops making sense. Or maybe it’s an intention – to see if I’m really that guy.”

The wind blustered and tugged at his peacoat, carrying the gray ashes off with the first shy flakes of snow.

“I don’t get her and she doesn’t get me. Understanding’s a funny thing that way. We share a language, we share a culture. But if I say the word ‘Mom’ – what I see and feel will never match what she sees and feels.

“Communication is all about abstraction; reducing the seconds of real life into sounds and shapes, crafting them to evoke something in someone else, and trusting that maybe, just maybe, a tiny speck of meaning makes it through.”

I said nothing, rubbed my hands together to warm them.

“So these feelings – they grow in mid-air – rooted in the abstractions we create to make sense to each other. Why else are we often surprised by people we thought we knew?

“Because we don’t see what they see. We see what they say, painted with the pigments of our own memories on the canvas of our past. Side-by-side the same thought in two minds would be no more similar than a Degas and Picasso.

“So I don’t think I ever really get the girl. Maybe it’s about finding love in the mystery between us, fitting together enough clues to believe we’re better off as a pair than as two pieces, always being curious about that other person behind the veil.”

He finally stood, pulled his jacket more tightly around his chest and smiled into the bone-gray air, the half-smirk of a man who says so much less than he’s thinking.

“Love is rented, not owned,” he offered.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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