Ten Years Too Late
“Better never to have met you in my dream than to wake and reach for hands that are not there.” ~Otomo No Yakamochi
Do you ever find yourself listening to a song and memories of a place or time come flooding into your mind? Sometimes the memory is so vivid you can almost smell it, touch it, taste the air… want to reach out and touch the people or person you are with… say something you meant to say but did not. I do not want to sound as though I lay awake at night fighting demons of regrets. I have other demons I fight at night and they have little to do with regrets… but my anxiety and constant analysis of every conversation of the day have nothing to do with this post. I made the choices that I felt were best for me at the time I made them, not always fully thought through or analyzed sometimes just purely instinctual for better or worse; I tried to live in my moment.
Isn’t that what you are supposed to do? Live in the moment?
Then why is it that sometimes a song, sometimes not even a song remotely connected to that moment brings the whole moment back again? So fresh and new… the closest to time travel man may ever get. In just the span of a twinkling of a star you would have done anything to maybe change that instant to throw open the gates and lay bare your soul, or shut your mouth any remain silent, or perhaps kiss that person you wanted to and never did... the list of possibilities are as endless as the individuals out there that many read this. (All 10 of my readers…)
Tonight love haunts me… a lost chance, an instant passed before I could stop it. Youth in all its glory and obliviousness but bounded in insecurity and arrogance at times causes you to make a choice in your moment that given proper thought and consideration you would do differently; or just given age and perspective. They say time heals all wounds; in this case time has only deepened this wound.
I have been so vulnerable with you my beloved readers recently I will tell you this tale, my fairy tale, as un-lengthy as possible. I will throw open the gates and lay bare my soul in hopes that the light of day will shine in and perhaps heal what will never be… and maybe, just maybe I will learn to believe in fairy tales again.
There is a man, who lives far away from me… as in an ocean away. We met by chance; complete fluke, discussing the events and political ramifications of September 11th… on September 12th, 2001. Somehow what started as a simple discussion that broadened my horizons beyond America and helped me see the world in a bigger picture became a full on enchanted relationship. It seemed so amazing at the time; so unbelievable; so crazy. In fact as my mother and I waited for him to arrive at the airport that Christmas to visit I recall looking at her and asking if I was insane. She told me that I perhaps was, but sometimes magic is found in insanity.
Then there he was. His accent, his eyes and the way they crinkled when he smiled, his easy nature and quick wit made my stomach repeatedly drop through the floor. He was a gentleman like I had never known, and have not known since. The truth was he terrified me; in all the best and scary ways. I was barely 21 and I had only had my crappy relationships… I did not know what to do with this Prince Charming.
I went to see him, in his country, stayed in his home. Fell head over heels for a place I do not live, and standing on a hillside watching a train pass in the distance and the sea beyond I knew love for the first time. Real honest love… pure and simple, easy and whole… then I felt the gates slam shut and my heart scream at my mind. My mind was right though… love had only ever meant hurt both emotional and sadly in some cases physical.
This was a man standing next to me, not the boys I had dated before. A man, full of confidence and goals; he radiated assurance and safety. He was so foreign to me and so far from everything I knew and was comfortable with. The entire time I was there in March/April of 2002 I battled with myself to the point of exhaustion. The adult thing to do of course would be to discuss this with him. I look back now when a song trips the memories and realize at 21 we are still such children… at least I was.
As he stood with me in line at the checkpoint for outgoing international flights, I felt I might explode. Split in half straight down the center. My heart screaming to turn to him and kiss him full on, with all the passion in heart everything I felt and tell him I was not going to leave. I would stay with him, follow him wherever he might go, that his path would be mine. My brain reminding me of all my responsibilities at home, the results of such a decision, the pain my family would feel… The risk, more than anything the risk and so with a hesitant hand and the briefest of pauses and small glance in his direction I handed my passport over to the agent. I walked away. If I have any regrets in this life, it was that walk… that lost moment, chance.
The long flight home locked those gates tighter and tighter and at home it got harder and harder to shut off my mind and my fears. So I hurt him. I hurt him like I have never hurt anyone. I behaved as a child and turned away without as much as a whisper.
A decade has passed and I went back to see him. Hoping that some magic was still there; that somehow the old adage held true: “If you love something let it go, if it returns to you it is yours forever.” The thing that adage does not tell you is what happens if the person who let you go is no longer waiting when you come back.
We are great friends. In fact he may be one of the greatest friends I have ever known he has rescued me in true Princely fashion more than once. I can say truthfully I love him in more ways than he may ever know or understand. I laid my soul, my heart, my fears, my hopes at his feet on this last visit. A decade of change between the two of us and that hurt, that insurmountable hurt like an elephant in the room. I cannot tell you if it is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all. I think I hold to the ignorance is bliss policy a bit more. I wonder now sometimes when I travel back if love knocks twice… if real love, like I felt and have felt for so long comes around again. Do you get a second chance at it? Or do you just settle for something that resembles it the best?
If he had asked me to stay, this last time, I would have without any hesitation or second guessing because I know now it is okay to love and allow yourself to be loved… ten years too late.
love always ~a