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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Letting Go

Two of my life’s most important chapters are coming to an end. One was an epic narrative. The other, just a short story, a fairy tale (well…OK...delusional fantasy, mostly). Funny, the first spanned decades, the second only months, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you which one had, or will continue to have, the greater impact. Both chapters end with me a changed man.

Time offers the only foolproof way to understand the importance of any relationship. I’m not talking about the length of the relationship itself (that's not a valid indicator, no, not at all). I’m talking about the time it takes to finally let go.

Twice in my life, this Lithuanian man sacrificed all for an Irish woman (I find that disconcertingly strange, somehow). In both cases, the relationship was relatively brief, but absolutely devastating. It took me years to recover from the first. I have NO idea how long it will take for me to recover (if ever) from the second.

* * *

I distinctly, absolutely vividly, remember the night I finally let go of my dreams and desires for my first Irish lass. I’d guess about four or five years had elapsed since I saw or spoke to her last. I had long lost count of the sleepless nights, the yearnings, the tears…the questions. She haunted me practically every waking moment.

Then, one night (a night no different from any other night), I was lying in bed simply staring into darkness. I was thinking of her. I was indulging in melancholy reveries when the chains suddenly broke, when my chest finally, unexpectedly, relaxed and my unrequited desires rode my breath’s exhalations into black oblivion. It was an unmistakable physical release. The kind that makes it obvious that something momentous and life changing had just happened.

It was such a decisive, climactic change of state that I roused myself from bed, turned on the lights, and wrote a poem about the experience. The poem sucked (I mean, it REALLY sucked). Sigh. I never could find the right words.

“A hollow bell rang out
Your name in good-bye notes
That disappeared forever”

Still, I remember that night. I remember the feeling. I realised that emotional ties may simply come to erode and fray with time and, finally (unexpectedly), snap one day. I discovered that hearts may (in fact, may even need to)…someday…simply let go.

* * *

I mentioned that I had yearned for my first lass for many years. Here is a poem from that era:

These Sheets

These sheets
Tear stained, whispering stories
Have changed so much
From times I’ve lain
Surrounded by her presence
Colder now

Those nights
I fiercely trace
The outline of her hip
(Vainly painting phantoms)
Leave me hopeless
Never ending sorrow

These sheets
Bear the memories
Washed and smoothed so many times
Still they breathe her beauty
If she would rest here once again
She’d know

* * *

As I sit here, lost in thought, I wonder if the fearsome ache I feel so deep in my guts is a yearning to let go? Or is it fear that I someday might?


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