(Note: Dedicated to a friend, stuck at a fork in the road).

Came early for us.
Soon after we met.
Just appeared one day.
Caught it like a cold; still, it felt warm, coming at us, on tiptoe, like a storm.
We welcomed it.
I recognized it, having had it when I was a kid.
We both did.

Neither of us spoke about it at first.
Neither wants to play the fool,
to dare
to see, and say, what really might not be there,
might not be shared.
Not willing to risk hearing,
“Oh, I care, but not like that.”
Fear’s the killer – murmuring it might not be, it might not last.

Early on, it was far too early to tell friends or family. What if it were just an aberration or an anomaly?
Oh, we talked around it, the way Beginners do, via banal metaphor or
You are sunshine, or this feels like a warm summer’s moonlit night.
Silly stuff.
Couldn’t get enough.

See, the thing about Beginnings is you don’t want to be first to say that Word.
Better, safer, to let it be, like a song well written but unheard.

We weren’t sure what to do with this Interloper, this thing between us, this
Colorless, odorless, tasteless thing that we couldn’t see, nor touch, but sensed was encompassing us;
Oh, it was there all right –
We awoke with it and bedded with it every night.

Then, at that “this is too good to be true” moment, that suspicious, inner-voice slowly awakened, questioning and dissecting this Mystery,
this thing without
Next, Doubts pull into the Station,
with what sounds a lot like Cross-examination:
“Has this happened before to you?”
“Too often”?
“With whom and when?”, and
“How did it end?”
“Do you want this, now?”
“And, if you do, what do we do next, and how?”

And, if, somehow, it survives that full-frontal attack, the Doubts, the Inquisition, then the Beginning is no longer;
its roots take hold, gets stronger,
taking on a life of its own, writing its own
as it moves forward, giving birth to stories and memories of “us” and “we”.

For years we said surviving the bumps, and forks, in the road defined us, strengthened us.
Two halves had become one,
We were a couple,
a united and inseparable nation.
Then, over time, came a settling, a small crack in the foundation.
Something said, with regret,
something not really meant,
and there it was – it’s first Dent.
Now, that which was perfect was no more.
Cut and Bleedin’,
we were cast out of Eden.
How would we garnish,
this thing, now so indelibly tarnished?

Where did it go?
Why is it different?
Are we at a new Beginning, or the end of the Middle, or the Beginning of The End?
That fragile thing which survives on Faith alone cannot tolerate questions as to its validity, its permanence.
Do we have an appointment
with Disappointment?
And as the questions, the doubts, hammer on,
more Dents appear.
Is it a thing now weathered or a thing worn-out?
This is a time to choose words wisely,
We dare not let the words be spoken:
“Is it broken?”

And then comes the inevitable Parade of Platitudes:
“This too shall pass.”
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”
“We will be better for this.”

Have we come full circle?
The “I” and “Me” return, replacing the “Us” and “We”:
“I don’t know who I am anymore”.
“If I don’t think of myself, who will?”
“I’ve lost me in us.”

That Fickle thing. That Fickle thing.
Is it forever lost or just misplaced?
Did we ever really have it, or was it just some illusion we both wanted?
At the fork in the road, lies that Fickle Thing.
That damned damaged Thing.
Do we hold on to it, or do we each start anew, somewhere else, with someone new?
Do we really want to travel again, and again, upon a new Beginning, a new Middle, a new End?
Only a Sisyphus
would want This.

Or, perhaps, is this our Intermezzo?
A pause to compose a new Libretto
for Our Second-Act Concerto.
Perhaps, from our cloistered cocoon, there’s a butterfly awaiting us, still fragile, but more beautiful, more wise, more mature, than ever we thought or hoped possible.
Isn’t that dented Fickle Thing our priceless antique, built with our own hands, most worthy of polishing, protecting, and possessing together?
Answer this: aren’t we worth the risk?

Robert Lipkin

Falling In Love With Negative Space

A Sean Elias Audio Interpretation:

Ever have someone compliment you for not being a certain way?  Ever been attracted to someone mostly because they were so different from someone else from your past?  If so, you know all about obsessing on negative space.

Falling In Love With Negative Space 

What is it about the way we choose lovers that too often makes us wonder, “Of all my many choices made, was not that one my Worst?”

I’m listening for clues today, my love; playing our first Words slowly forward, then again Reversed.

Scratching beneath the surface to see how we process what we first discover about the other — what we hold, discard or Replace.

And in that process, do we not – too often – focus on Negative Space?

Judging each other based on what each of us is Not,

as if I were the sum of all I Ain’t; as if you were the sum of all you’re Not.


If my Soul, you were inclined to Paint,

would you upon your canvas reveal me as the total of all I Ain’t?

Before making yourself a double martini or stealing from your son’s desk draw another Joint,

let me cut to the chase and make my Point.


In the beginning of our Beginning, you said, “I am so very attracted to you because you are not: a big drinker, a gambler,  a right-winger, an obsessed religious fanatic, a womanizer” and lots of other stuff  I’ve never Been.

When focusing so on what I ain’t – that so perfectly describes your lovers left behind – how will you decide whether I’m worth selling or buying, whether I’m out or In?


I’m describing your behavior, but not pointing fingers or casting Blame;

in fact, I’m afraid I behave the same.

As we Glance through our Rear-View-Mirrors, we’re shocked to See:

we’ve been attracted – Subconsciously –

to traits exactly opposite of those we Hate,

Possessed by the Mate,

Last left Behind,

whose larger than life negative parts we can’t, evidently, shake from our Mind.


I’m suggesting nothing but a small change in how we process, how we use Intuition,

a slight alteration – as sailors say – in tacking Position.

I recommend we focus on what each of us Possesses, on what we each have to Offer,

And let’s deposit those assets,  those  jewels in our Coffer.


In short, my thesis on obsessing over Negative Space is easy to Summarize:

When alone, when we privately gaze to the heavens and make a wish upon a


We should wish not for someone who Ain’t but for someone who