Once upon a time there was a man who needed. He needed air and water and food and sleep and light and dark and peace and the company of friends. The basic needs of all men were at his beck and call, and he should have been satisfied with them, as most men are. But there was one thing more he needed so much it made his heart hurt.
He needed to feel needed.
He needed someone to make him feel strong, to allow him to be tender, to bring out his best, to beg him to be his worst. He needed this more than he needed air and water, and in turn he needed someone to need him more than those other things, to be complete with him, to speak to his soul and tell him their secret name. He would give that person everything they needed, and so much more, if only they would let him.
The man spent long years looking to meet the heart that could fill his, to meet the mind that called to him, to meet the soul that could wrap him in acceptance. The resonant ache of his longing mockingly filled the empty space in his arms, the boom of loneliness woke him to his isolation, he ate and drank and slept with need filling his chest like broken glass.
Endless days on the hunt revealed no mind, no soul, no heart with a need as powerful as his. Of course friends were generous, lovers plentiful, success a certainty, his life was not empty, but still the need remained. He was tired. He called out in exhaustion to his god to rid him of the pangs his search engendered, he prayed to this god to sweep him clean of his dreadful awful emptiness, and though on occasion he found solace for a few moments in the musk and flesh of those who touched his skin, they did not touch him.
After so long seeking, he gave up. He was lost. He was done in by his own hard longings. He called himself a freak, an abberation, an oddity of emotion; he built walls of stories and acquaintances to occupy him while he tried to expunge the bleeding seed of desire from his every waking moment. His overwhelming need to be crucial to one other heart’s existence sputtered, hesitated, and guttered in the wind of self-doubt.
What awful loneliness, what searing pain, what monstrous grief he harbored at this loss, until, so hardened to his own self, he stopped believing he had ever needed in that way, and therefore covered his grief by heaping derision on any man who he felt harbored that capacity. He was callous and brash, superficial and cruel, an impenetrable husk smothering a still warm but shameful need.
Despite this wicked change, from time to time while deep in sleep he would hear a faint echo of something that stirred his need and kept its fire lit. Upon awakening he would wonder if the shuttering of his great desire had caused a madness to creep into the space that was left when he had torn out his need and replaced it with scorn. He listened, and, when he did, the heart-halting whispers entreated him to remember, remember, remember, to not give in, to hold fast, to persevere. He took no action at the voices passionate cries, because he was afraid of the painful dredging up that the remembering would cause. However, pain be damned, he mightily held open one last door to the hidden place in his soul, in case the echo grew loud enough to feel.
So in doing he was not completely undone after all.
There could be more.
He waited, in thrumming anticipation, while the echos grew stronger and his ears pricked for their next message. The beat of his heart grew more robust, the anticipation of his rebirth was delicious agony. He knew with certainty that that strange and distant need was calling to its own, and he was answering with burgeoining hope.
And at length, without warning or preamble, he knew the one had come. A surprise from the dark reaches of wonder, the soul, the one, the dream had arrived, calling the name he’d long forgot. One true heart that heard his. One true soul that sought his. One true mind that met his. Those eyes, like pools into which he could fall forever, looked back at him and called out his need’s true name through the long dark halls of his self-doubt. The reverberations of his naming plowed through the ash-heaps of remorse, scattering pretense and blowing away the grit of hard defense.
He was thereby redone, forever found, set deep into the need of one akin to him, at last whole, and home.