She has given me the first inkling of a little thing called love for the first time in quite some years. Perhaps stupid to use that word for someone you’ve known a week. But how else to differentiate between the thousands of fleeting connections that don’t generate more than a passing thought, and then the one that seeps behind your eyelids and charges your dreams with longing? I think, perhaps, our hearts know that we love long before our wary old minds will let it through, rather like an egg that’s boiled inside long before the cook dares crack it. And there was something in the way she looked at me, more the way she stared at me, a fusion of half-closed suspicion and wide-eyed guardless welcome: inviting, falling, daring to open despite it all, recognising something as familiar as an old family photo pinned on the fridge.
And then it is all changed by these trajectories that collide and part again. My Visa has expired and I am heading back to Thailand to a meditation retreat, while she continues south through Laos, ending up in Cambodia where her boyfriend is waiting for her. Yes that word. Perhaps making it all wrong on some moralistic level. But then what else to do with the force of the feelings? It seems a denial of life to simply let them slide. I tried and I couldn’t. Or wouldn’t: take responsibility man! Does it make it better they’ve been together only a few weeks before she left? Marginally perhaps. But then I think I might have done the same regardless, although not in the case of marriage and children. I couldn’t go there.
There are questions to be answered. Do I chase her? Do I try and find some more time together, follow the deep urge in me to explore, to discover, to share? Or is it only selfish? Should I respect that she feels lost and assume that she doesn’t need yet another potential path to tangle her way? Or is that presumptuous? Not my call to make anyway? But where could it go? Her finishing her studies in Paris, me in Saigon for 2 years. Where could it possibly go?
And yet I want. And yet I want. And yet I want HER! So do we only chase things that have a ‘future’? Can we only let ourselves love if there is a possibility of loving forever? Because don’t we lose everyone and everything eventually anyway? And isn’t it only grasping that tries to clip the wings of our love to keep it hovering nearby? Why not also subscribe to a love that burns bright and short? Even though we know that ultimately it will sear a place onto our hearts? And perhaps that searing is also what brands us as unique?