It’s the middle of the night. My brain is a warzone. In just two short days, my Beloved will be on a plane yet again, heading back through the clouds to his home country—more than three thousand miles away from me. I groan, turning over in bed. Right now I wish so many things. I wish I could go back to sleep. I wish artificial and archaic things like borders didn’t exist. I wish we had more money. I wish we had conventional careers—like the ones that look good on immigration paperwork. I peek out from under my sleep mask to see if there’s daylight. No. I bring my hand to my chest and notice a slight wheeze. My asthma is flaring up again.
Since our instant connection four years ago, the intensity and razor-sharp lightning of our love has left us both confused. What to do with this these giant feelings? How to withstand the mirror of our love? Sometimes, we have buckled under the pressure and ran away. (The revelations too heavy.) Other times we’ve sworn undying devotion and spent last dollars on a plane ticket. Sometimes five hours will go by, speaking on Skype, and it will seem like five minutes. Sometimes we haven’t spoken for months.
The silver engagement ring I feel on my finger now does nothing to cheer me, as I toss and turn in bed this morning. I am pissed. What a relentless, heart-harrowing situation! Other couples don’t know how good they have it. To just live in the same city—let alone the same country—is a privilege we’ve never had. What terrible luck.
My back feels both cold and sweaty. My pale pink sheets twist around my limbs, as I struggle to find a comfortable position. My heart feels exhausted.
A few minutes before my alarm goes off, I suddenly hear a very clear message. The words seems to be my own voice, yet they’re not. It’s something else. There’s a tinge of the angelic to it, a certain flash of light. Wings. Shimmer.
Open your heart.
By the time my alarm goes off, I’m already doing much better, having breathed deeply into my heart. I feel less shaky now. As my eyes adjust to the soft morning light, I embrace the coming day. I smile and think of all the things I’m grateful for. I’m teaching yoga to a group of wonderful students today; I’ve got a refrigerator full of healthy, nourishing food; I have a circle of loving, supportive friends. So many things to be grateful for.
Open your heart, Anya, Open your heart…I shower and prepare my morning tea…Open your heart Anya, Open your heart.
I climb into my pale gold, two-door Honda Civic. My yoga class just went beautifully. There was a distinct eye-shine for a few of them, as they rolled up their mat. What joy; what blessed work. I pull out onto the road and sigh. Just a half-hour drive and then I’ll be back in my Beloved’s arms again. I look forward to telling him about the class. Maybe later we’ll jog out in nature together, or maybe we’ll just spend the afternoon snuggling in bed. I’m both grateful and impatient to get home to him.
Normally, I turn left out of the studio parking lot. But today, for some odd reason, I’m curious about the other direction. There’s a highway not too far away…maybe there’s a different route? I love variety in my drives. I turn right and flip on my GPS, allowing the computer to guide me into unknown territory.
My plan seems to backfire, though. The monotone voice doesn’t lead me toward the highway but rather down some random-seeming side streets, into a quiet residential area. This is clearly not an expedient route! I notice some tightness in my shoulders now. Damn. Only mere hours left before the dreadful flight and I’m wasting it by driving around in circles. I feel a bit of my morning anxiety return.
Within a few minutes, though, I’m back out onto a main road. Oh, good. My body relaxes somewhat. I look up at the bright blue autumn sky. A few wispy white clouds here and there. Lovely. The autumn trees, boasting their red leaves. I’m driving on narrow, two-lane road. Barely any traffic. I settle back into my seat. I’m coming home to you, I’m coming home to you. I feel both grateful and impatient. If I could snap my fingers and be back there in his arms, I would.
I’m driving westbound, and a black car coming eastbound suddenly veers directly in front of my car. There’s no time to think—I slam on my brakes and scream. As our cars collide, a thought flashes through my mind: I’m about to die. After an unidentified space of time, I open my eyes. There are almonds scattered around my feet. Items that were in the back seat are now in my front seat: a purple folder, a bag of candles. Everything’s blurry. There’s a woman standing next to my car in a hooded sweatshirt. I roll down my window, fumbling with the buttons like a clumsy infant. “I’m so sorry” she says. “I swear, I didn’t even see your car.” I slowly unbuckle my safety belt and stand up, asphalt like jello under my feet. “My name is Michelle,” she says. I offer her a hug and hold her in my arms. There’s blood on her forehead and I am suddenly aware of pain in my neck and back.
Maybe three lifetimes pass before the police arrive. First one car, and then another. There seems to be confusion because our accident happened on the border between two cities: whose jurisdiction? I call my Beloved on the phone and he reminds me to exhale. Michelle’s friend (who must live nearby?) suddenly arrives. She holds Michelle’s hand and buys me some filtered water from a nearby shop. I slip off my socks and stand on a patch of green, praying to Gaia for help and trying to shake off the trauma like I’ve seen the birds do. I gaze at the damage to my car in total awe. Somehow, only my right headlight is busted and the hood’s a bit bent. How? I look up at the sky. I remember to exhale. Michelle comes to my side. “It’s just one bad thing after another,” she cries, anger in her voice. Her eyes stare at the ground. “My husband was shot and killed six weeks ago. It was all over the news. September fifth. I’ll never see him again.” Her hands are trembling as she smokes a cigarette. I gaze at her, heart-pounding. There’s an audible click. Something is happening here. Something important.
Two days later, my Beloved Ben and I sit by the river, our favorite bench. A loving willow tree to our left, its dangling branches curl over our heads like a protective mother. A heron waits for her breakfast: she’s so still that she’s become the water. We notice that the leaves are falling down in the gentle wind: red, yellow, bursts of bright orange amidst the lingering green. “I love feeling the seasons with you,” he says, and my eyes blur with tears. Last moments before the plane…so precious, so precious.
I look inside my heart. I search. Where is the typical, pre-airplane panic? Where is the doom I felt two mornings ago, as I tossed and turned in bed? I search, but can find only a soft melancholy. It’s almost sweet. This moment is happening in slow motion and I am savoring all of it. The white in his beard. The creak of the swing under our bodies. The still-warm wind, dipping under my scarf and reminding me of love. His body will be gone soon, yes—but we still have prayer. We still have meditation and phone and Skype and song. What luck; what beauty. Michelle will never see her husband again. His face will never hover over the bed; his hands will never offer her steaming coffee.
I will see Ben again, in three months. Snow will be on the ground. Our story is not over, not even close. In fact, the miracle is this: at middle age, we have just found each other, have just begun our journey together. Some people call this a Soulmate or Twin Flame relationship. Others might call us Tantric Consorts or Abler Souls. There are many, many names for what we are. And yet, in this particular moment, all possible names dissolve. I know what we are and words aren’t needed.
I search my heart again, breathing deeply. In a little over an hour, his feet shall carry him from my body and toward an airplane. But…this time…it doesn’t feel like a tragedy. This goodbye is different. Something has been healed.
As we work together, deepening and strengthening our sacred bond, Ben and I prepare ourselves for the ultimate departure. The day when we release these faces…the way things have been…these blessed hands that have touched…these yearning, ecstatic lips that have kissed. We will move into the wild unknown. Who can say what it is, but death comes to us all. What good practice we are getting.
We kiss and kiss, smiling and tears. “See you soon! Have a safe flight!” My hands touch his cheeks and the skin is infinite.