“The heartbreaking gap between the way we were and the way we are…”
Just a book-review excerpt that got me thinking in my post-ending emotions…
Endings and beginnings, and after that and before. The way we were, the way we are, the way we will be. The way I was, the way I am, the way I will be. It’s what I would write about if I were brave enough.
Where in our timeline that gap, those gaps fall… that is what shapes each of our stories. Some look back on the glory days with the most fondness; some cannot even look back, the pain too excruciating. Some realize the missed opportunities; most never do. Regret can infiltrate nostalgia and release its toxins directly into the heart. The way we were, the way we are… sometimes the greatest heartbreak is the lack of gap, when we are static, when we are trapped, when we are still in that situation; it’s what broke me once, realizing decades later, in that inconvenient moment of denial ripped off, raw, it was the same as it always was.
I was trapped for half my life. Of course, no one ever truly is. But we might as well be, for the layers of boulders we submit to, allowing ourselves to be entombed. For me, I ironically stayed for my children, for if we left, I would have to send them back regularly without me. I chose to never let them be without me as their protector. I was aware of the light fading from the start, as I finally gave in to the vows. I saw the single sun ray through the avalanche the whole time. I chose not to move the rocks.
The way we were, the way I was… I look back on her now sometimes. Through windows. The one-way rainy panes of pain. I wish I could reach her. To let her know about today, who we are now. I know she will never lose faith, but oh those years… so many…. Yet, it simply is true: who we are now, we could never be, if we weren’t the way we were then. If I had the power to spare her, I don’t think I would. Well, maybe I would. To think she could have known happiness all those years…
In my late forties now, I have only just begun to become who I am. The way I am… it is the present. I could never be me until now. You never can be, I don’t think, without self-love. And you really have to be free first for that to happen. I honestly never really had the time or energy for myself; all I knew was survival mode. Crisis mode. Selfless mode. Sickness mode. There are always genuine pieces of us intact through that all though, I feel. Our souls that predate our mortal lifespan. The girl in the panes… she doesn’t realize. She just doesn’t. She and I are so different. Yet, we are the same. I feel myself still in her. The soul. The dreams she is loosening her grip on, yet always retaining fierce faith.
Sometimes, we deteriorate from the way we were. We chase what we think is happiness but always open our arms and hands to find nothing there. We keep chasing. We are still empty and our time is up. Or we succumb to the tomb. We had it once and lost it. We will never reach for that ray and remove the first rock. For others like me, all we have known is the rock cell. My story does not begin at birth. My life is just now starting. My future… well, I am confident that I will devote part of it to searching for such self-tombs, removing a rock from each. I think there is a universal rule that one is the limit. The rest must be done from the inside. I think I have found my way though, whispering, singing, and dropping notes faithfully through those single rays. And I wouldn’t know about these tombs without the experiences I’ve had. I visit my own from my past, and release a butterfly within; I feel his hand then slide into mine, and his sunset-silhouetted kiss in what I’ve come to know as love, makes my own flutter up inside. Again.
“We’re going to be more than alright,” I whisper to my past self through the hole. Then we head to his old tomb before heading home. Through the gap, in hand, we see my poem.