Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tempting the Fates


I am traveling alone. It’s a question on the application for my visa. Who will you be traveling with? And it hits my heart. No one. I will be traveling alone. Yet again.

Some people say I am running away, looking for trouble, putting myself in crazy situations, or in more lyrical terms - Tempting The Fates. Perhaps. In the quiet moments, I admit the truth – yes I am doing these things. But don’t we all run away? Don’t we all look for a bigger boat, a more tempting risk, a bigger challenge, a faster time? Is this any different? Like most things, the answer is complex.

And here is where I tell you of the love that haunts me, a memory that I run from – the one man I ever loved. Before him, I never thought I could love, didn’t think I was capable. And then, there he was. Big as life. He was full of laughter and humility, passion and discipline. He made me feel innocent. He made me feel worthy. And I opened my heart to him. He required it. And I obeyed.

And then one day it ended as so many love affairs do. It was a dreary day, the wind whipping my hair, the cold biting through my clothes. A day to freeze. A day to end time, like in that book – oh which one was it? The clock is stopped on the wedding day when the groom doesn’t show. One of the Bronte sisters or Jane Eyre. (ETA: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens) Those dreadfully painful to watch but you can’t look away kind of books. Like in the story, my heart froze. My clock stopped that day.

I don’t know if love will ever come my way again, but it has left me with a gaping hole of yearning. And now I fill my yearning with excitement – with challenges, languages, cultures, religions, daring adventures. I fill this longing with music and movies and books and fantasy so I don’t have to remember the yearning that is the aftermath of love.

Even now, he inspires me to live. He tortures my heart. And I wonder. Will I ever find a way to fill the emptiness, the gaping hole of lost love?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that I will NOT waste away in my sadness and hide under the covers, hide behind a business suit, hide behind a well ordered life. I will live, even if that means an adventure bigger and a challenge more absurd.

Perhaps it is true. Perhaps I am running from something. But wherever I go, I am still there – he is still there, haunting me. Where ever I am, I carry him in my heart.

How can I be anything but grateful for the life that I have? The life that he inspired for me?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary Jo, Anne again.

    Upon reading about the question on your application about who your traveling companions might be - and your traveling alone...

    At least for Hajj, it was expected that women under a certain age (I forget) be accompanied by a male family member or other suitable escort! We had a group of 6 women and a boy, but our being part of a much larger group made it OK, somehow. I may have had to have written permission from my (then) husband that it was OK for me to travel on my own!

    Anyway, I hope that your traveling alone hasn't posed a problem. I gather from your talk of going to Korea that there have been some setbacks.

    Best of luck and I hope you get there!
    Anne

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