Moving Right Along
It has to happen – and you know it. You prepare yourself for it mentally – building various scenarios for the possibility of that chance encounter. On the streets, in the bars, in a restaurant, or museum, or a coffee shop. You try to prepare yourself for how it will be, how you will behave and what you will say. You will hope that you are the one who initiates the encounter, or is at least the one who is established on the higher ground, morally, ethically, even physically and geographically. That you will be sitting reading Proust and sipping cappuccino in that café, or hanging out with charming friends having loads of fun at that bar, or walking briskly down that street barking orders into your cell phone as you adjust your power tie to sit perfectly on your blue striped suit. Or happen to be sitting in the most intimate corner of that softly lit restaurant, the focus of the adoring gaze of a bewitched Adonis. And they, of course, in stark contrast, limping down the street, clutching a wet umbrella and suppressing a hacking cough, would look up towards you and wretchedly wonder, why! Why they missed out on being with this fabulous, trendy, witty, compassionate and amazing person. How could they’ve been so blind? And that one look of yearning, remorse, guilt and sadness would be your reward for all those hours and days and weeks and months of self-torture and despair you had subjected yourself to.
But of course it doesn’t happen that way. You are probably walking down that street lost in your thoughts, sunny or gloomy, and there they are right upon you, doing their thing, living their life, and all that you can do is take one look at them and all your insecurities and memories come flooding back. You still hold them personally responsible for shattering all the dreams that were carefully crafted in your head regarding the eternal bliss that the two of you were meant to share but now couldn’t. All because their selfish needs came in the way of your perfect dreams.
Any attempt at civility on their part is of course immediately dismissed as condescension; their maintaining a polite distance awaiting your response first, is judged as outright slight; and them quietly moving on about their business is considered a shocking and callous disregard for your feelings.
They can’t win. And you can’t either. And so the two of you go on through life, keeping the distance, protecting the image, shielding the persona and suppressing the pain. You convince yourself that this is good, that this is healthy. This is the way to protect myself from hurt and pain and future folly. And all the time your edges harden and your ego strengthens and your isolation from everything that is not labeled yours deepens and your world narrows into this tiny speck of volatile, turbulent, repressed energy that resists the inevitable flow of life.
And that I suppose is labeled Moving On.