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A flirtation with somebody else’s life

There was a whooshing in my ears.  There was a similar sound when I swung on that swing in that park that night.  It is the kind of noise that overwhelms you.  You can’t think of anything but how stunning it would feel to fly in that moment.

I find that I write about flying often, or at least make reference to it.  I’ve only ever done it once.  Flying.  Not in an airplane.  Actual flight, where my body was in between space and earth and I wasn’t falling. I was in Nepal.  They told me to run off a cliff.  I could not jump off the edge.  They told me to just continue running until there was no longer any land to stand on.  Trust they said.  And I did trust and I flew.  I saw the backs of soaring hawks and watched the people below fishing and the hills became quilts covering the land. And so trust allowed me to fly. 

I was not on a swing in the moment I am writing about with the whooshing. I was in my car with my windows rolled down.  The 22 West was empty.  I was going 80 and the radio had turned into background noise to the whooshing rather than to my thoughts.  Tears were rolling down my face. I was anticipating the end of something.  Ends are always difficult, even if they shouldn’t be.  This end was the beginning to everything else. 

The whooshing on a swing was in a park.  It was midnight and I swung with my eyes closed.  The whooshing made my heart race.  I wore a floral dress that fluttered in the swing breeze.  It was a dress that buttoned down the front.  I bought it at a flee market.  I didn’t haggle because I am too shy.  I opened my eyes and the streaks of my surroundings made my stomach flip flop so I focused on my legs.  They were tan from the beach and my morning jogs next to the beach.  That sentence is misleading, because I am not that Californian.  But I am leading the life of one.  When in Rome…  That kind of thing.   

The man, who is the end as I drive on the 22 West is the beginning as I swing at midnight.  He climbs a tree behind me.  I wonder if he watches.  But I am too high from the kissing before and the whooshing now to think too much about his eyes. After I am tired of swinging and he is tired of climbing we kiss more and wrap our limbs around each other in the intensity of new flirtations. After kissing we talked.  We talked for weeks. We talked about our futures and were in denial of the lack of each other in them.  Getting lost in his future with him was a welcome distraction at a time of hard decisions and the urgency of opportunity.  He allowed me in and we sailed around the idea of something more than flirtation.

And then the anticipation of an ending on the 22 West, turned into an actual ending.  The first emotion was melancholy, on a late afternoon with dark clouds scattered across the sky. More tears welled despite my knowing of this end.  After sadness then anger.  I was angry at him, teasing me with his future and then taking it away.  Taking the ease of following somebody else’s path rather than creating my own.  Because there are days when life feels small and brilliance is all you want.  After anger came relief.  I would create my own. Small or large.  Bold or ordinary.  It would be mine.  Just breath and run off a cliff until your feet have nothing else to land on and then you’ll fly.     

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