Clarity & Joy of Sake
My friend described hers as a “thud”---the way a boat sways into the padded edges of its slip. She knew she was over him because the pain no longer stung, instead she felt a dull thud that mirrored the heavy tiredness on his face. She was finally too exhausted to care.
A couple of months ago, I honestly thought that I was ready for my version of my friend’s thud. For awhile I second-guessed myself for walking away, but once I realized my worth in his eyes I was able to uproot the deep feelings I had for the man, though it didn’t happen instantly nor easily---like last week when I chose cilantro over Swiss chard.
My friend’s Love gave me a plantbox of Swiss chard. Though I’m very grateful, leafy greens are like banana hammocks, they just don’t do anything for me. He gave me permission to pull them out and plant cilantro instead. I knelt down in front of the box and started to pull at the leaves. My hands could feel the fiber slowly lifting out and I could hear them tear away from the dirt. I laid the uprooted plants on the ground like wounded soldiers. And it made me sad and guilty for not letting them grow. Despite how good the chard were for me I just knew it could never satisfy, but even with knowing this, I didn’t have the heart to pull out the entire box, and so I left half.
Maybe this was where I was a couple of months ago when I thought I was ready but realized I hadn't completely pulled away. The feelings, despite being diluted, woke up from hibernation when I saw him with a “friend”. And it hurt. It wasn’t a “thud”. It felt heavier like a demolition ball striking the side of an abandoned
building, and I felt myself shake from the inside. And out.
I questioned myself for days. How could I be so wrong about my own feelings? How can I trust myself---the feelings I have for not just him, but for other people?
I went to the over-hyped over Joy of Sake the other day and ran into a bunch of the man’s colleagues and friends. I realized he’d be around the corner any time. In between painful sips of cough-syrup that is umeshu, the corner of my eye caught the awkward old-Love. I observed him, making sure that I was aware of my emotions. My gaze followed him as he, hunched over like an old man to fit under the tent, clumsily maneuvered toward his “friend”---two little sake cups looked like toys in his hands.
I kept waiting for the demolition ball---but something else hit me. I was happy for him. On the surface and I hope deeper, they looked like a great fit---he no longer looked like he was dating a high school senior. She was about the same age. I recognized her and know that she matched his resume---though his probably exceeded hers because that way he was undeniably amazing. I was that momentary departure from his usual checklist but I was finally ok with that because I like who I am and I like my resume… or personal data sheet.
I’ve doubted before if I prematurely walked away from him. As I caught his attention, I had a moment of clarity. His friend continued to walk away. We exchanged brief awkward hellos. It was awkward, but there was no gut wrenching sensation. The feeling I had was a fleeting sadness that paced with the passing glance into his eyes.
I still love the shades of blue. They used to crinkle at the corners and tug at my heart. The wrinkles used to remind me of the time and experiences that shaped this man to be who he was and why I loved him so. But I was sad because that night, that moment, I saw for the first time the lines on his face for what they were--- just
wrinkles. And as simple as that --- I was finally free of him.