He made me into smoke and shadows. Or, I should say, I let him make me into smoke and shadows, as insubstantial as air. He took my rooted, grounded Earth sign and changed me into so much shifting fog. My confidence, my absolute faith in myself and what I believed in, was shaken, shifted, sifted, and turned into ingredients for his potion. He was ever my illusionist, this lover, and I let him make me into an illusion.
Or at least, that’s how it felt.
I cannot ever accurately provide a holistic view of any relationship in which I took part in, and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to try to figure out anyone else’s. I can only speak to my particular truth, the role I played in my story according to me. It’s not enough. No, it’s never enough because we often want all the answers, and there are few, if any, times in our lives when those answers are made readily available, particularly at the time we demand them.
When I speak of my lover- the illusionist- and me, I can only speak to how I felt and how I was changed by the experience. I know for sure that he would tell the story differently, and I’m not asking anyone to believe anything but that at the end of the relationship, I felt that I had sat through, without my knowledge or consent, an illusionist’s act.
At the beginning, I was waiting eagerly in the crowd- not to be picked but to simply enjoy the show. Then, when I was selected, all I could see was how, of anyone in the world, he had picked me out and set me above the rest. He would talk about how I was his perfect person, and I- the ever- skeptical- allowed myself for the first time to believe the pretty patter of words falling on my ears. I believed them, and I saw in him what I always see: the beautiful, shining, distracting light of potential.
Yes, I was distracted by his smile and the light, and I failed to see the sleight of hand, the shifts in scene, the strange inner workings so familiar to anyone in the theatre. My belief changed me from a willing participant to a mark, and even now I cannot believe that it was all entirely by design.
What I mean to say is that I don’t think he planned it or intended it. I think that he most likely envisioned me making that transformation. He had conjured me by his desire, but he found the reality of me wanting. If he had pulled off the perfect disappearing act, he might have been able to bring me back as someone even I wouldn’t recognize.
The truth is that I fell prey to some of those machinations. After all, my confidence faltered. If he said a cruel thing in a kind way, could it be true? Could I be blind to one of my worst faults and my friends too kind to let me know? I found myself on unsteady ground and then no ground at all, always falling and not in the same way I had fallen at the start.
But I am an Earth sign. My roots are a part of me, not something attached to my physical self. Even as he was sending me reeling, my soul was pulling me down, pulling me back into myself. With the endless turning and sleight of hand, I was finally able to pull my eyes away from his long enough to see the larger stage at work.
Finally, I saw him. My illusionist, heartbroken and feeling betrayed that I could walk away from the pretty lies he had built for me. But I could not un-see what I had seen behind all the smoke and mirrors. I could only ever fit in on that stage if I allowed myself to be a delicate illusion, the lovely volunteer willing to be changed into something other.
He could not accept me as I am, and I could not allow him to change me into something else because it suited him. We stood at a crossroads, with me saying that the broken trust could not simply be fixed by an apology and with him offering no apology but shouting that love could conquer all. And I realized, finally and completely, that love is just another incantation, one with little meaning when we do not believe or when we do not put action behind the words.
So there we were, my lover- the illusionist- and me standing in a hall of mirrors and deciding what we could live with and what we couldn’t. He would choose the version he could live with, and I would follow my heart back to its roots where the only thing I could see was the light of my own truth calling me home.
I felt that I had been shape shifted into something less than I once was and then returned back into myself, grounded again to become more than I was before. He keeps spinning illusions and sending out incantations, and I am not moved.
I am not immune to magic. No, far from it. In fact, I suspect one day magic will come sweeping in and settle there in that corner of my soul that’s been waiting for its spark.
But until then, I don’t stop for illusionists I meet. I might smile at the pretty words, taking them in stride. I might stop a while to admire the ease of the performance and how it almost feels a little like truth. But I will always follow my heart’s roots back to a magic that’s more real than words that are only ever words. I will always go back home. And, in going home, I am an illusion no longer.