It is not often that I am at a loss for words as words are usually all that I have. I realised though that the ocean between us has made it difficult to communicate so I thought I should write what I feel. Perhaps you will read this one day or perhaps you are reading it just as I post it. I am not even sure that I will post it or that there will ever be a mailman to carry such a terrible weight of unrequited love and loss. There are places no human can go, not even in the mind. There are places that are better left to the domain of the untouched. There are places where my mind hovers in between disbelief and grief.
Do you remember the beginning ? Neither of us had questioned then the essence of what we shared. The unbearable lightness of your touch that grew into a lingering and then intense shared ecstasy. When I am alone, I revel in the memory of that touch, soothing and intense all at once. When I am alone, I feel your presence again lurking in the corners of my grief-stricken mind. When I am alone, I know that you will always be there if not in body then at least in soul. I know it is only the physical form of you that I have lost but even this weighs upon my heart filling me with a yearning that cannot be placated.
I tread often the winding path of broken memories trying to retrace how we got to this point of no return. I know that you had placed so much faith in my reaching the limits of the known and pushing beyond them to open the gates to the unknown. It was not just an esoteric experience, it was a matter of testing whether we were ready or not for the next stage. I know you placed so much faith in my abilities that you had been testing. So much was in stake and yet, despite all my love for you, I failed you. I remember you telling me that when you love someone you would do anything to be with them. I did everything I possibly could but yet I failed you and you vanished from my life.
There are days when the weather is mild and a soft breeze caresses my face startling me into the thought that you might be back, that if I open my eyes you would be there smiling at me again. Then I commit the mistake of actually opening them into the void of your absence. I sigh but at the same time feel your presence in your absence. It is like your absence negates itself because of the strength of the memories you left and the lingering presence of your soul that remains imprinted upon mine. Then there are days when all I wish for is for the sun to never rise again so that I may close my eyes to never open them again on a world where I can no longer see your smile.
When I think of it, it looked like such an easy test to know oneself and to act upon that knowledge. Little did I know that our human frailty blinds us to our true selves and that even when we think we know ourselves we are never able to really act upon that knowledge to the fullest extent required if our knowledge of ourselves is even slightly incomplete. You were expecting me to spread my wings and fly but I only saw them as a paper thin parchment, a relic of a past glory that would never be resumed. I tried to fly but was weighed down by the extent of my disbelief after a brief instant of taking off. In that fleeting moment of flight, I saw what it was like to be truly free.
Al Ghazali said « Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul which sometimes helps me and sometimes opposes me ». I never knew how right that quote was before my soul got entangled with yours and I was made to test the boundaries of my own limitations while my soul urged me onward, beyond the unthinkable. I never knew that the contentment I once derived from living a simple life would be erased by the smouldering memories of the time we shared together. I never knew that I would live to see a day where I would be without you in my life.
Today, I look upon those moments of our shared hope with the unflinching eye of sobriety. Yet my sobriety hurts me like that of a perpetually drunken sailor would if he were to stop drinking all at once. My withdrawal symptoms are not visible to the world, they are etched in my heart and mind where I shiver alone, shaking with the grief of your loss. I live my life in a fever-clad nightmare tossing and turning in my mind, yearning to relive that shared hope once more. I live my life in the unhappily pregnant moment of realisation that I failed you.
A million gaps compose my essence now making it impossible for me to be whole again. When you were there, you were the matter between my gaps binding me together and allowing me to move around in the world with a sense of purpose. All purpose disappeared when I failed you. I keep repeating to myself that in another life we will be together again but that litany does nothing to thwart the agony of your absence. I move from one paradoxical situation to another not sure whether I should laugh or cry or perhaps do both at once to finally relieve the perpetual tension that my heart relives.
One day, I will have grown strong enough to pass your test. I know now that there is no turning back from that test. Once started, it must be completed. I know that the day will come and even if you are no longer around to watch me do it, I will fly. I have chosen the spot and the time of the year. It will be at the peak of the Mount Kailash and just before the snow starts melting. I will gather my strength, my memories of you and of our time together and I will spread out my wings and fly. The wind will echo through my outstretched wings and the snow will carry my shadow to its destiny.
The next spring, the letter is found by her mother who cries at the thought of the agony her daughter went through without a soul knowing about it. Her daughter had never returned from her trip to the Mount Kailash. Nobody knows what happened as a body was never found. Perhaps she had finally been able to fly away to a better world in her own way. Perhaps one day her body would be found under a heap of snow. Perhaps she had decided to go on a very long trip elsewhere without telling anyone where she was going.
The mother raises the letter to her lips and closes her eyes. Behind her eyelids she can clearly see the image of her daughter flying against the backdrop of the beautiful Mount Kailash. A tear rolls from her cheek and falls on the letter causing the ink to blot. The blot looks like the peak of a snowy mountain. The mother slowly opens her eyes and seeing the blot smiles a wane smile. It is like a message from her daughter telling her that everything is alright and that she is indeed flying, high above the Mount Kailash, her faith in herself and her knowledge of herself at their peak.
« When you come to the edge of all of the light you’ve known and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen. You’ll have something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught to fly » Patrick Overton