The email is sitting in my inbox. Unassuming. I can’t stop bringing it up and reading the words for the 14th time tonight:
Flight: One-Way Ticket
A smile begins to grow on my face, stretching–almost painfully–from ear to ear. But, this. This. This is the sort of pain I can tolerate. The sort of pain I have been looking for; searching for in ship wrecks and hidden coves and unexplored locations until–finally!–I’ve found it: A treasure chest of possibilities and promises as if it has been waiting here all along, glittering patiently, for me to discover it. To discover you.
Tue, Sep 1, 2009
Halifax International Airport, (YHZ) to Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX)
It wasn’t quite real until today. My heart is thumping. For so long we have been waiting and holding our breath for an undetermined point in the future. All I had was a couple of old pictures and a voice. That voice. But, just a voice nonetheless. More than anything you existed in my mind and in my heart. You found your way–almost frighteningly easily–past my defences, took up lodging next to that mother of organs and have been there, at home under my skin, ever since. I went about my business. I had my adventures. I met an uncomfortable amount of eligible men. And yet, it was you. Always you, humming in the back of my head. I struggled madly with the question: Can you be physically available if you are emotionally unavailable? Is this crazy? It had to be crazy– I knew you only through words. Delicious, never-ending, beautifully heartbreaking and heart-mending words… but, in the end, still, just words. It has to be crazy. But, I learn a little more each day how much insanity is relative. Though, I’ve been arguing that all along.
Where are we now? Moving, suddenly, at the speed of light. In the span of a day I have been given a physical manifestation, a letter to end all letters, and a plane ticket. Damn. So, I guess you’re real after all. I have to keep saying it. I mutter it aloud under my breath (crazy?) because I can’t quite believe it to be true. With my luck, really?
I once won a contest. The only time I’d ever won anything (nary a bingo game or a foot race or a carnival game) before. I was young–probably about 11. Driving home from the community pool with a friend and her mother. We had picked up 7ups from the lobby’s machine and were quickly gulping them down on the car ride, unsure if my mother would approve… pop? Really? Right before bed, Lindsay? I noticed on the label another one of those check-under-the-cap contests and with a sense of weathered fatalism dug my thumb nail between the plastics. Fully expecting to see my old friend ¨Sorry, try again¨ (Thanks, I will. You can’t keep a good dog down, fate.) I was strangely calm when squinting I made out the word ¨poncho¨. Sweet, I told my friend, I totally just won a poncho. But, you don’t wear ponchos, she argued. Whatever, I’ll start, I said. Can’t beat a free poncho. I tucked the prized bit of round plastic into my pocket and stared hopefully out the window as we neared my house. Looks like rain, I thought. Climbing the stairs of my front porch I gave one last wave and prepared myself to deliver the news. Stomping noisily through the door I dumped my stuff and pranced victoriously through the living room. Guess who won a pon-cho! I sing-songed self-satisfied to my Mom. I fished the evidence out of my pocket and deposited it into my mother’s disbelieving hand and then started to make my way upstairs.
¨Wait a second… Oh my God! Lindsay! You didn’t win a poncho you won a trip for 4 to Machu Picchu!¨
It wasn’t until after the embarrassing celebratory jig and the looking up of where Machu Picchu actually was that we realized the contest had expired a week before. Phone calls were made, many a customer service representative was berated by my furious mother. Me? I had expected as much, that’s just my luck, after all.
I’ve been living so long under fate’s shadow. Content to live my life to my own rules, instead. I have been happily oblivious–all this time– to the addictive touch of Lady Luck. And now, after I have grown accustomed to loss; made friends with disappointment; and embraced the inevitability of heartbreak, she has returned: Lady Luck with that damned disinterested Fate in tow. The temptation is great. To open the door. To let my expectations soar. I have kept them carefully caged for so long; I wonder if they can still fly. I watch your interview again. I read your letters–more than I have ever received from one person before. I hold you in my mind; hand to cheek, tilting up. I want to believe they will fly, clipped wings be damned. Something tells me they will. Something tells me they already do.