3 months ago I was looking at two small bags on my floor, this is what I would have with me when I was in Berlin, there wasn't anything I needed, nothing more than this. I like to have large and momentous things happening all the time, and it's never enough, but this was enough.
The next day I had four things. There was lunch with Steve and then there was a short trip with my parents to the hospital and there was this coffee with someone I always kind of admired a lot and then there was a dinner with my roommate and that was all. Nothing would overshadow what was about to happen with me and these two bags, this adventure ahead, I was clean and I was clear and nothing would interrupt this, a spiritual journey across the seas and it would all be art and French cigarettes.
Two days later I am in an airport in Paris and I'm shaking like a leaf because nothing was going to work out how I planned, I was stuck in a city that has a language I couldn't even pretend to speak, but I was shaking because I was about to turn on my phone and I thought hm this might be a very important moment. I was going to read your letter back, and it already had so much weight, it caught me unawares.
I had an inkling there was weight because, a day before, when the plane lifted off from Phoenix, I was thinking about my father, and my daughter, and this Heather. And when the wheels lifted, my lip started trembling and I was surprised that I was crying so hard. The father and the daughter are easy to understand because they are the pull on my body to stay in one place, and the other was impossible to understand because I didn't know why because I think it was because I thought I was in love already and that didn't take any time at all, but of course time doesn't exist.
The day before was the day that felt so heavy and light all at once. I told Steve about Heather and it sounded charming and sweet but my father was already so heavy and I needed to see my daughter one time before I left, and my father walked into my house, he hasn't seen my house in a long long time and he told me to keep traveling like his uncle Leonard and to have fun. Oh and the night before, Sue told me to write where the fear is. Lots of advice from elders.
And then there was that coffee with that Heather, a moment which has been covered extensively already, but worth going back to because time does not exist and that's when I learned that for the third time in my life maybe. And all I want to say about that is that she had these blue eyes and she had this black dress, and she still has the eyes but the dress changes, sometimes three times in an afternoon. You have to change clothes a lot when you are covering so much ground. And becoming so many people at once.
And in an afternoon when I hadn't scheduled any time for anything momentous, I accidentally fell into: a place that smells like home; a whirlpool that doesn't hold me back but pushes me forward; a burning ring of fire; nothing less than a perfect love story, one that I had recently decided was not for me any more, one that I more recently decided was the one that was chasing me as hard as I had been chasing after it.
And we can move forward from there, six weeks later maybe, and the three I had in my head on the plane were together in my parents' living room, and I wouldn't believe it if you'd told me that an hour later this Heather would be touching my father's feet. And a week after that we would all be together when my father was shaking in that chair, an hour before he was taken to the place where he would die. And two days later we would be there right after he had died.
In between a coffee and a death there are a thousand adventures I can't tell because they belong only to us. And between a death and a moment like this, there are a thousand more. I won't tell the details of the hundred times you can fall in love with someone over and over, sometimes there are rivers and priests making blessings and sometimes there are conversations that are full of shooting stars and mad faeries and sometimes there are cold trembles and sometimes there are those soft embraces after just two days apart and sometimes it's so much like the best love stories in movies and books and plays that it seems impossible to be living inside of it and not watching it from somewhere else.
And if I was younger, I might have thought that I couldn't live with two things at once, my biggest grief and the kind of love story that most people don't get every lifetime. But I'm not younger, and I'm not torn in a thousand pieces, and I know It can happen, because it's happening to me. And my soul is wide open, even though there are moments I want to hide somewhere else, but I haven't wanted to be in another body in a very long time. If three months is a long time.
It's just long enough to be turned all kinds of inside out, and put back together so I can see myself as the perfect half of a perfect constellation, completely in love and completely and utterly loved from the inside out. It's just long enough to learn that grief comes from love for another human being, and love comes with a sweet grief for an identity that doesn't fit any more, and these things, these mysteries, have to be worked out inside skin, skin filled with stars and goddesses and ghosts, bodies of water that contain more than even heaven would allow.
This is a love story. And that's how my favorite love story starts.