"Hello again," Daniel said when I opened my door and invited him into my apartment. He had stopped by to take me out to dinner. We hugged and stared at each other smiling - assessing, processing, remembering the us we used to be - older, yet still young, changed and unchanged the way movies and story book vampires never grows old.
I stared at the man who over a decade ago, in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, found himself torn between me and his dream job out of town.
Being the hopeless dreamer that I am, I cheered him on. "Take the dream," I told him even though I knew that I would lose him for it.
I understood even then that a dream does not die a natural death, nor would it wander off silently into the night. An unrealized dream is haunting like the ceaseless wails of a sick child tears at her mother's heart. It buries itself beneath ones skin - wanders into the blood stream, and penetrates the bones. It's an itch that must be scratched. A singer cannot stop herself from singing. An artist is compelled beyond his understanding to pick up his brush and make one more stroke. A writer must write or she flirts with a life riddled with unhappiness and insanity. And if she grows old without living her dream, it will follow her to death’s door demanding to know, what happened to life we were meant to live?
Langston Hughes, in his wildly popular poem, A Dream Deferred, asked:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
And so, without the chance to know if in time we would've fucked us up, or grow old together, Daniel left town without me.
But we never lost touch. Over the years, we discussed meeting for weekend rendezvous, but never followed through. And every now and again, I would get a text from him, “How are you, Kitten? I think of you all the time. I've always wondered what would've become of us had I stayed,"
Recently, more than a decade later, he breezed back into town for a few days to visit his family. That’s how we ended up sitting across from each other in the restaurant, wide-eyed, and dripping with curiosity – still. The bottle of red wine half empty between us. Joined by memories of lazy hours spent naked and relaxed in his arms, the taste of his kiss still on my lips. Distance hadn't turned us into strangers, we lived between the cracks of lost time.
We tried to fill the gap between the years with stories of where we've been and what we've done during our time apart - the relationships that didn't last and why. Were we the problem?
Married and twice divorced, Daniel said it took him a while to grow up – that he was difficult to deal with. I don’t remember him being difficult; I remembered that we could always sit in each other’s silence and be at peace.
I was part of the problem in some of my relationships. My skanky behavior – fraternizing with CX while still involved with Rey led to the demise of our 9-year relationship. It made no difference that Rey and I were on the edge of falling apart. That's not a get-out-of-bad-conduct card that I'm going to play. And like a suicidal woman jumps off a cliff to her death, regrets the jump in that moment before the end, I have spent time suspended in mid-air wondering what if I had waited for my storm with Rey to pass? Would the storm have passed? But there is no way to answer such a question - the only answers we have are to the stories we live. It was loving and hurting Rey that taught me loyalty.
As for my other relationships, they ended because they ran their course. I don't look back and lay blame on anything or anyone. Regret is a waste of time that serves only in preventing one from living with gratitude. Life doesn't turn out good or bad, it just turns out. That’s not to say that we are like crickets chirping on a log floating downstream. I believe that we have a say in how our life story is written. Either we take our shots or we don't –
Yet, if Daniel and I were to go back in time, I don't think that either of us would have done anything differently. I would've still said, choose the dream, and I’m certain that he would’ve still left.
But what becomes of a love affair deferred?
Does it sleep in restless slumber? Or stay fresh as the morning dew? Does it grow old and die? Or does it remain forever young? Does it go through time with a silent ache - a longing that never goes away like a dream? Or does it let go, and move on to love another?
Daniel and I lingered as long as we could in the traces of us that remained, not knowing what to do about our feelings, if anything. He was expanding his business. I am preparing to charge after a PhD. We said good bye in the early morning and wandered back to our respective lives.
Did our life-train make a complimentary stop at the ghost station where we stood waiting, thinking that it at least owed us that - for a chance at love should never have been pitted against a dream - and neither of us got on?
I don't know. If we don't get on the train when it pulls into the station, it will leave without us. That I know. Nothing happens without action.
Boris Pasternak said, "When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it,”
Was this a case of a missed opportunity? Or by not getting on the train we answered 'the what might have been' question that has plagued us for over a decade?
Sexkitten turns 11-years old this month. To date, this blog has been my longest love affair. And I’m what I’ve always been - a romantic dreamer who cannot let go of either one. I want the dream and the epic love affair. I want everything.
“I’ve always wanted a great love affair: something that feels big and full, really honest, and enough. No moment should feel slight, false, or a little off. For me, it had to be everything. ~Angelina Jolie~