A month of a different elk.
1. a groove or furrow
2. a settled and monotonous routine that is hard to escape
3. a state or period of heightened sexual arousal and activity
It happens almost every year. What I affectionately refer to as Rutting Season.
In the Spring, my heart swells and aches in a fashion that I find hard to explain. The gnawing seems unbearable. Every fibre of my being feels alive and fully charged, wishing and aching for something that simply cannot be. Rationally I am astounded at my mental state, and often wonder "what the hell is this all about?" but emotionally there is no question... just inconsolable ungratifiable indefinable ache. Since I left high school, the object of my obsession varies, but there always seems to be something to fill the void.
I do think it began in high school, or perhaps in the last year of grade school, with the approaching end of every school year. It would mean two months I would not see the object of my obsession. Two long months where the high-school routine of anxiety and fear would be shelved, and the world of possibilities would open up.
Horrible horrible freedom. Freedom without the daily stimulus of the object of my obsession.
I knew that with every approaching summer, I was one summer closer to never seeing him again. How it could be? How it could happen that this one person with whom I was so enamoured would never share more than one ridiculous Grade 8 dance with me? How could this world ever really end and the door close on the possibility, no matter how infinitesimally slim?
I can remember the last time I saw him. I was attending university. He had stayed back for an extra year of high school, as he had realized in physics class that he wanted to study electronics technology.
Over the last two years of high school I'd gotten enough nerve to try to talk to him casually. I'd dialed down the open stalker level to 9 (from 472). And he seemed to be polite about conversation in the final year.
In my final year, I took physics with him. I took it only to be in the same class as him. I'd had a chance to see the books he needed, and then figured out what classes he was taking that I might take. I re-arranged my classes in my final year of high school so I would see him as much as possible.
It was in our physics class that we had a speaker, and he seemed to have the sudden revelation of what he wanted to do for a living. It would require him to spend another year at high school, and so he did.
I tried to latch onto this. I tried to rationalize that my leaving high school would not be the tragedy I thought it might be. I was "obviously" completely misguided in ever having such an attraction to him. Five and a half years of sleepless nights and pointless affection, aching for something I would never be able to have. How could I possibly moon for someone who could make such a clearly irresponsible choice... to stay at school another, a sixth, year?
He's a fool. He's a flake. He simply could not mean as much to me as every fibre in my being had led me to believe.
And I knew that it was impossible for me to rationally stay another year. I was sorely tempted, but I instead left for university. Just as I dated others as I carried this torch, I knew I had to get on with my life.
So it was the fall, and they were distributing the yearbooks back at the old high school. I decided to go back to get my yearbook and to possibly glimpse him one more time. Perhaps I would even ask him to sign my yearbook. Four years I'd asked him to, and four years he'd turned me down
I picked up my yearbook, and was walking down the hall when I saw him. I knew I needed to talk to him. This was it. This was the closest I would ever have to forever. I could not pass the opportunity up.
So I walked right up to him, virtually jumped in his path and said the only words that seemed appropriate.
"Hi. I've come back to haunt you."
It was then quickly followed by a lame question of did he know where a mutual acquaintance was, and a thanks, good to see you. And that was my goodbye to the safe, constant, reliable, and only once rivaled object of my affection during rutting season.
It took me another year to learn that the fun of rutting season is to revel in the ache. To wallow in the pain of emotions that are never to be requited. To fool oneself into thinking they may be requited is dangerous, for once rutting season ends, the desire often collapses, with disastrous results for all involved.
Rutting season is fleeting. It is like a dog chasing cars. The fun is in the wanting, not the having. And a shiny new jag to some poor whippet is completely useless.