They say that you can never run out of love. That the more you give, the more you have. Your reserves fill instead of empty every time you hand out bits and pieces of it. Why, though, does it feel as if you’re completely empty sometimes? As if you have given it all away, gotten nothing in return, and in that, have nothing more to offer. As if all emotion and compassion has been depleted, as if you are broke. Broke and broken, with nothing more to give and nothing working any longer.

Because, in all truth, love is no cornucopia. There is not an endless supply of it in everyone. It runs out. If one is not careful, if they give it out carelessly, looking for nothing in return, not getting anything in return for their payments, they eventually end up broke. And there is no Iron Bank for emotions, to go to and beg for a small loan.

Maybe time can give that to you. Maybe emotions grow back, like a crop that has been destroyed by famine. Maybe it’s as complicated as something living, depending on all the same things –food to nuture it, care to help it grow, the right amount of sun, air and water to keep it thriving and sprouting new braches. Maybe after it has become yours. Until then, it’s as simple as a business transaction; the purchase of that so desired piece of land.

Love, before it really becomes your love, is a transaction. Give and take. Pay and receive what you have paid for. You always run the risk of a bad investment. Of buying barren land you cannot grow or build anything on. You take a chance, calculating what you can see before you in the present and imagining whatever you can for the future. You make a commitment, mainly to yourself. You “sign the deed” of something that cannot be resold or refunded and put yourself on the line, with what little you have, fingers crossed, and begin paying the mortage so that it might be yours at some point in the future.

And so it all begins.

An investment in something without substance, something you can feel but you can’t touch. Something that takes up space in your mind and your heart but has no volume. Nothing to touch, nothing to hold, nothing to lock in a box to keep safe.

The minutes tick away, days pass and months come and go. Pennies and nickels of them. Pennies and nickels of enthusiasm, small payments in sparks that fly between the two of you. And, what the hell, let’s toss another penny into the fountain of emotions and make a wish.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours; yet neither confess the wish for their penny.

How many pennies are in a dime? Ten is it? Ten minutes hand in hand. Ten breaths, held so that each and every word is registered, so that they are allowed to cause an echo in the empty space inside a mind and heart.

How about a quarter for a kiss? A quarter of a heartbeat. A quarter of a lustful glance. A quarter of an embrace. Just enough to taste it. Just enough to get by. A quater of a three word sentence, the first seeds planted and beginning to grow. But pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters have only paid for the seeds. Small amounts, so small that they are practically not worth much consideration. Nothing much is lost; nothing more than you would lose between the cushions of your couch, in your own home.

Fear and uncertainty, insecurity and impatience begin once you’ve reached deep into your pocket and have begun pulling out more and more. Only then is any cost under consideration. Only then can one truly appreciate the value of emotions given out in hope of the fair compensation offered in return. Dimes and quarters don’t cut it anymore.

How much does a night of passion cost? And what can be put down as collateral for a bit of bliss? What’s the price for mutual love? How many more payments until it is mine and cannot be taken away? Add the interest from what has been planted and what has been built. Is there enough to get by without an income? And how much will suffice? Will it ever balance out?

Loving him cost me everything. I have nothing more to give. I gave it everything I had and was left with empty hands, empty arms and an empty heart. Barren land, where nothing grows and nothing can be built. In debt to myself with no refund or credit. How many nights, lying in an empty bed, awake and alone, should be sufficient to cover my debt?

Another bad investment.

When you are finally bankrupt, when there is nothing left in you to pay, nothing left to pawn out, nothing left for a small downpayment, then what? Is a heart left homeless, on the street starving? Open to just about anything that can feed it, dress it and keep it warm for a night? Love sold out at a discount, for a bargain, just so that someone out there chooses it, so that it is not left on some shelf gathering dust and rust? Just so that is not rendered completely useless?

Finding lost pennies and dimes, stuffed away in nooks and crannies of your barren home, saving them in a jar with the hope that one day you may just have enough to try again.

Ten pennies to a dime, twenty-five for a quarter. Four quarters in a dollar and a few of those may just fill your wallet for the time being.

You might just buy yourself a lottery ticket, play your hand in a game of poker. Love wasn’t on your side, maybe luck will be. Maybe you’ll find a way to fill that void if you take a chance. Sure, take a chance on love, keep your fingers crossed, hope and role the dice.
What the hell right? Who knows?
You just might hit the jackpot this time round.

Author: Nikól Peri

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