Art: Alex Alemany
Honesty allows us to live with not knowing. We do not know the full story, we do not know where we are in the story; we do not know who is at fault or who will carry the blame in the end. Honesty is not a weapon to keep loss and heartbreak at bay, honesty is the outer diagnostic of our ability to come to ground in reality, the hardest attainable ground of all, the place where we actually dwell, the living, breathing frontier where there is no realistic choice between gain or loss.”
― David Whyte
I knew her from the time she was four years old. I was friends with her older brother, who liked to tease and frighten her. For example, he would whisper “Watch this” and then jump up and scream that a tornado was coming. She never failed to do her part by howling and running for the storm cellar. Even then it seemed cruel to me, but it also seemed strange that she never caught on, that the predicted tornado never came.
A decade later she began to morph into a beauty and I began to forget she was my friend’s pesky little sister. She had a lively wit, she was full of play, really good on the piano, and sexy to boot. I was six years older, but I was smitten. Our twenty year on-and-off-again affair started.
My mother criticized her always slightly parted full mouth. My parents were always good Puritans. In those years I kept leaving the country and coming back, and each time she seemed more southern, more Texan. I hadn’t noticed it before, but monocultural Americans became increasingly hard for me to relate to. I still had a lot of affection and even admiration for her, but our paths diverged.
As the years went on she began to look more and more like a small town girl, but in the beginning I imagined a bright future for her. After all, her father had departed our village for Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. Her mother was an accomplished musician. Maybe she had some of that genius.
I didn’t know then that I was on my way out of Texas America. Even though our paths kept crossing and we kept disappointing each other, eventually we outgrew the attraction. She wed a preacher and I happened across the love of my life about the same time, as fate would have it, someone I was willing to fight for through thick and thin.
It’s not easy to become grounded and consistent, or at least it wasn’t for me. I live for possibilities I can imagine more than practical, real world opportunities the world is offering. I throw myself at grand impossibilities, as much as I hate to admit it.
Why else would I be an artist, a writer? The beautiful, fanciful creative life, that’s what I admire. I regret that you don’t stand much of a chance to get rich that way, but nothing’s perfect, as they say. Giving up the artist’s life to punch a clock was never in the cards for me. There were compromises I wasn’t willing to make.
I admire folks who forge ahead somehow, with a passion for something, in spite of obstacles, regardless of the sacrifices.
Sometimes the timing is wrong, sometimes we miscalculate our real needs, we don’t even know our true direction in life, but we gather what forces we can and create something good. Our destiny takes shape from the decisions we make or refuse to make. We aren’t given the full picture, especially when we are young, but we still have to choose our options.
I forgive and I hope to be forgiven for immature judgements and actions as I stumbled along my path. There’s no denying I was an idiot more often than I’d like to admit.
May we all forgive each other for our imperfect understanding of life.
- Anima Fire is my publication