How does one go about remembering how to live? How does one figure out what living is in the first place? Is it in travel? Is it in risking your life? Is it in building a career? Is it in gaining status or fame or fortune?
It’s in love, of course. It’s in finding love. Being loved. And all of those things that come with loving. The building of a life. The intertwining of souls. The meeting.
What happens when the intertwining is not possible? What happens to our souls? What happens to our lives?
Humans are not so much different than other animals. Dogs grieve over their lost companions. Penguins mate for life. Many birds do. Fewer mammals do. Some of us are like birds and some of us are like those monkeys which fornicate with their entire clan in order to make peace. Some of us are like the gorillas, many of us flocking to that one male. Many of us are like primates trying to be birds. Some of us succeed. Some of us never try. Flying is not easy. It’s frightening. There are storms and thunder and lighting. There is the risk of falling. Why take flight at all?
But we can’t think about staying on the ground for too long. We weren’t made for that. We weren’t made not to dream. We weren’t made to be constantly hidden from the sky. We weren’t made to stay in one place. We were made to cross oceans. We were made to climb mountains. Our bodies were made to run across fields, to climb trees, to dive and swim.
I had felt flight before. I had felt that sprint, the climbing, that diving. I had felt what it was to be at the beginning of everything I had felt the magic of that. And now, now I was facing the challenge of finding it again. Of re-discovery. Of learning new windpaths, new landscapes, new waters.
It must be possible to discover more than once. People seem to do it all the time. I knew it was possible. As possible as the first time was. As impossible as it seemed to be. As impossible as the first time ever seemed to be. It seemed as impossible as the second.
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, wondering what was happening. Wondering where my mind was wandering and wondering whether the rest of me was wandering with it. My heart. My small heart in my small chest. Eve once said I had a big heart. She must have just been seeing the reflection of her own. She was not my mirror. I was hers. Did she ever really see herself as I saw her? Do we ever see ourselves as others see us?
When I found myself on the block where the diner sat, I paused. I always paused. I couldn’t help but pause. And look, again. As I had when I first arrived with Eve. As I had when I first returned after Eve. As I had a thousand times since she was gone. This corner that looked out into so much of what my life had been.
Everything can be eclipsed so easily by just one persistent memory. One moment, or one experience, or one person. It becomes all-encompassing. How many things do we forget in a single day? How many things happen to us that drift back to someplace in our minds where it is discarded by the next week, the next morning, the next hour? Where do those things get disposed of? Where do they hide while our minds dwell and dwell and dwell over the same things. The same moments, over and over. The same memories. The same feelings.
The dwelling is seductive.