Four of Tides

four of tides
Durand Eastman Park, Rochester, NY

Dissatisfaction or discontent. Locked in habit or routine. Something taken for granted. A lack of appreciation Emotional detachment or disinterest.”  Steve Luca via Japaridze Tarott

Walking towards her flat, or what was to be called her flat for one more day, Selene came across a painting that struck a deeper chord of melancholy than the story of Freya and Giuseppe. As she walked by a gallery she saw a painting that was reminiscent of of Eric and Ariel in a world above the sea. In the middle of a pond there lay a canoe inhabited by a couple. They sat facing away from each other, back to back. The feminine figure in the painting was barely visible – her head turned away from her spectating viewers. All Selene could see was her long hair and her royal blue dress. Facing the audience, was the male figure. He was wearing a black cloak and his eyes were serenely shut with an expression of disappointment. The canoe was neither heading north nor south – or east or west. In the background of the painting there was a pink sky with a setting sun. In between the setting sun and the diverging couple, a tree deeply rooted in water created an organic arch.

The painting made Selene stop in her tracks – it reminded her of Steven. Selene had met Steven during her senior year as an undergraduate. She had met him at one of her kickboxing classes and had been attracted to the way that he controlled his energy. They instantly connected and cultivated a friendship until the moment prior to Selene taking off to New York – when they began to date. Eventually Steven moved to Brooklyn to be closer to Selene.  The day Selene decided to set jet and leave it all behind, she had forgotten one of the most important relationships in her life: Steven. Her 5’10 film making musician. Steven was adventurous, intelligent, dependable, and magnetic. Yet over the years, Selene had taken his presence for granted.

Salty rivers decorated Selene’s cheeks on the midnight hour. After two years of globetrotting, the grief she had packed away in a darkly lit room of her psyche finally gained enough speed to catch up to her conscious being. When she arrived at her flat, she grabbed her laptop, lit another one of Caer’s cigarettes, and began to write an email:

I know it’s been two years since we last spoke. I’m currently in Nice, France headed to Paris to meet with Nico tomorrow. After that, I’ll be heading to Sri Lanka for some undetermined amount of time. While in Nice, I met an older man by the name of Giuseppe. A recovering world-traveler turned bookstore owner. He shared many adventurous stories, but the most impactful of them all revolved around the loss of his love Freya. They dated, split apart to pursue their individual passions, and fate gave them the opportunity to reunite and build a life  together. However, the dream was cut short. Cervical cancer. Freya passed away. As I walked back to my flat, I came across a painting that made me think of our time together. All of a sudden, years of suppressed grief came to the surface and nearly drowned me. Steven, how did I ever not see your beauty? Why did not I not spend more silly time with you? Why wasn’t I able to relax in your presence? Today I thought about your dark sense of humor, your intelligence, your strength, and the way that you simply ‘understood me’. Not because you were some sort of psychic, but because we were somewhat similar – even with varied interests. If I could only travel back in time to stand beside you and watch you smoke a cigarette. If I could only travel back to sit next to you while you played a video game or read a book. If I could only travel back in time to accompany you to a bookstore. If I could only travel back in time to feel that warmth of your embrace. If I could only travel back in time to join you for a death metal dance party – yes, I mean that.

If I could only, but I can’t. I think some people come into our lives to teach us what goodness sounds like, what it feels like, what it looks like. Your presence in my life inspired me to become grounded. In your presence, I felt strong and capable. Not that I don’t have the same attributes without you  – I do. It’s just that when we were together, they were amplified. How many times did I hurriedly come back from class or practicum, to lay down next to you and assume the next day was a guarantee? How many times could I have slowed down a little, held you a little closer, kissed you a little deeper, heard you with more intent? After we parted ways, I was busy packing, selling, working at a few coffee shops to make this travel dream of mine come true. Today, I’m sitting from a balcony in Nice living my dreams. The one I spoke to you of. And suddenly, it hit me. You’re not here. Caer, Sofia, Dmitri, and Nico left yesterday. I returned to an empty apartment wishing you would have been waiting for me – with a whiskey coffee in hand. I wanted to crawl in bed with you and watch American Horror Story. I didn’t want to yell about the fact that I was bored because I was ‘indoors and not engaging with the world’.  Though I’ve met a lot of people and covered a lot of world, , I still miss you. I seek for you in everyone I meet.

My only hope for you is that you’ve met someone deserving of your attention. Someone that lights up your world and pays attention to the smallest of your details – the rate of your breath, the sound of your beating heart, the scars your skin carry, the tattoos that cover your body and their meanings. I hope they listen to music they can’t stand for the sake of making you happy. I hope they see you as an embodiment of magic – what we all are. I’m not writing this with the expectation of a response. I’m writing this because I’m burning. I’m writing this because I must. I’m writing this because I can. When I boarded that plane at JFK heading straight towards Cartagena, I remember listening to one song endlessly on repeat, while uncontrollably crying – Even Great Things by Elliott Moss:

You can’t have forests without any trees
Can’t have rivers without any water
You can’t smile without any teeth
And now you won’t have me
And now you won’t have me
It’s always hard to say goodbye
But even great things die sometimes

You can’t time without any sand
Can’t build cities without any men
You can’t lock fingers without any hands
I can’t go on, but I hope you can
It’s always hard to say goodbye
But even great things die sometimes
It’s always hard to say goodbye
But even great things die sometimes

Don’t worry, I stayed hydrated – the flight attendant gave me a water bottle, free of charge. Prior to settling back into his seat he mysteriously shared some words with me: ‘Sweetie, we’ve all been there’. Cheers to wherever in the world you may be, Steven.

With Love,

Selene xoxo”

She hit send, closed her laptop, lit another cigarette, and laid on the floor looking at the unusually bright star lit sky.


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