Sunday, February 19, 2006

I've Got Tears in my Ears

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stiched with its color.

-W.S. Merwyn, "Separation"

Is it OK to cry about a place that is gone? I've cried so much in the last three years over a person that was gone, I'm wracking my brains to remember if I've ever cried for a place. Camp? Maybe. College? Possibly. But I can't remember this very visceral longing that I am feeling in the center of my chest ever being created by a place.

I have been struggling these last three weeks to be joyful. Although I am mostly at peace, there is a dullness that has come over me since I went back to the island to visit when I was in Washington for some training. The first two weeks after I came back were full of heartbreak that Jeff and I were truly done. He is dating someone new now and although we had a fabulous time together that weekend, not being able to be comfortable with him and not being able to revisit the role I played while I lived there as his partner really rammed home emotionally the reality that I missed him. Up until that point, I just thought that when grown-ups make a mutual decision to part ways, that was all there was to it. I congratulated myself on it. A few twinges of loneliness and then on to the next stage were exactly what I expected and exactly what I experienced up to that point. Not very smart, am I? So, I spent two weeks living out every pop break-up song you've ever heard. "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" rolled into Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud," resolving into "Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me just what a fool I've been. Pitter patter, pitter patter, whoa-oh-oh-oh." It was interesting, though, because it was only sadness that I felt. There was no hurt at all mixed up with it. Remembrances of when it had been perfect and sadness that the perfection cannot last, but no hurt or regret. Breaking up with Dennis was so huge and had so much hurt and betrayal mixed up into the sadness. This was totally different. So, I just laughed at my tears and completely gave in to my adolescent urges to journal a lot and to stare off into space imagining alternate realities. Jeff and I have talked about it a fair amount, which is why I'm comfortable sharing this with you.

But after two weeks, specifically at yoga last week, my internal movie switched to showing scenes of the island in general and other people there that I missed. It was so easy to be happy there. I was surrounded with beauty. Even coming home stressed from whatever little drama I had to deal with at whatever little job I had, I drove by ocean and trees and mountains. I knew people and they knew me. After the first few months, I didn't have to worry about when to tell people I was divorced or think about whether or not they would judge me for my lifestyle choices because I'd met just about everyone or I knew that everyone had heard my story from someone else. It wasn't so fucking cold. I had time to create art. I could go work in my friend's farm garden and talk to the sheep with the crazy alien eyes.

I know that I left because in five years, I was going to look back and think that I hadn't accomplished enough with my life. I know it with my head. But there isn't a pop music genre that encompasses the universal human response to leaving a place where one was happy so that one can be fulfilled. That path of catharsis is denied to me so I guess I'll just have to wait until this hard little knot of emptiness in my chest loosens on its own.



Anonymous said...

Remember grandmother's words:
"If this doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger."
Praying for you.
Love, the dad

Anonymous said...

This place isn't gone, it is only waiting. We are holding you a spot. Somewhere I have a quote, either by Anne Dillard, or Pam Houston, about sense of place when your feet hit the dirt, for better or worse. I'll find the book and get back to you. We miss you. love, the becky with a nod from the bruce :)