Thursday, June 4, 2015

On loneliness and traveling alone

It's a good thing sometimes, to be lonely. It's exactly like that scene from Friends, when Phoebe tells Rachel—who thought she was pregnant— that she isn't pregnant. Rachel is shocked, and she cries, pretending to be happy about the disappeared potential of a untimely child. But she is in fact, pregnant. Phoebe tells her "I was just kidding, but now you know how you really feel".

Airports can do that occasionally. Make you know how you really feel. Disconnected from time, friends, lovers you left behind and the sound of your mother's footsteps early in the morning, airports make you think hard about how you really feel. If you have enough battery on any device, you probably won't stray far from the comfort zones of routine, and the voices that you constantly hear over Viber and Skype.

But time zones. And lovers who can't be available at all times. Friends who sleep or party or both during those crucial hours. You end up thinking. 

Or doing your nails to distract yourself from thinking.

But you think anyway.

You think of her, and how she constantly frets. About how the sun and the sand peeled off the many layers of perfume she so carefully applied before coming to you. You tell her she smells lovely, as always. And it's true.  

You think of the time when she kissed your shoulder after rowing the both of you on a kayak. The serenity of that day, and the clearness of the sea. The unexpectedness of her kiss, and how it made you feel. 

You think of all the ways this could possibly go wrong. How your insides lurched when she told you that the flowers she sent you caused someone distress. How you wanted to shout but she gets 4 years and tickets and hotels and most of your fucking time. I don't care whether or not its quality time, it is most of your time. But you didn't, because it felt wrong.

You think of other people too. And other things. Like bills, new shoes, and disco balls. Tom Waits croaking in your ears. Whether or not you will let her read this. The estimated departure of your next flight. Whether or not your patience can endure. How thrilling it all is. How the last night together made you feel.

You most of all think about how you'd feel if things were different, but they aren't. So you think about  whether this is right for you. And like Rachel's pregnancy, having thought it a false positive for a few seconds, you realize that however untimely things are, small precious moments like that kiss on the kayak make you know that you can still hang in there.