One year ago today I met Gaby, the love of my life. We went to see the amazing film Orlando then walked clear across Manhattan talking, getting to know each other. As fates had it, we took the subway to the exact same stop. She went south and I north, but not before I quickly suggested we see each other again that coming Friday — immediately canceling plans that I already had. She quickly agreed.
And nearly ever since whenever she is not around, I deeply wish she was. At every new taste, scent, sight, and experience I find on my travels I want to share them with her. Not through photos, not though stories, not though computers, but actually have her near me, next to me, finding the new together. I wake up and fall asleep to thoughts of her, even when I slept next to her. At many times on my trip, I have even spoken to her, as if she is next to me, hoping that the winds were kind enough to sweep my voice across the ocean to her.
She, like me, has made the leap from living in the states. She moved to Brazil shortly after leaving me in India. Unbeknownst to her, I had planned to fly to Brazil today to see her, to celebrate her, to present her with every ounce of love I have to give, to rekindle my love that burned with such fabulous fury. And if it burned brighter than anything I had ever experienced before, which I assumed it would, I planned to ask her to marry me.
I began making these plans just a bit more than two months ago. I was going to ask a mutual friend to invite her out and surprise her. In my mind it would be this perfect rendezvous. Even better than when she walked out of the doors of the Mumbai airport and into my arms, where the air was charged with so much electricity that I nearly fell over moving as quickly as I could towards her. She told me our embrace brought many others waiting for their friends or family to a stop, either in awe or envy. I did not notice them, I was far too enveloped by her presence.
But… A few nights before I was to head to the Brazilian embassy to get my visa she slayed my heart. She told me she did not love me as I loved her. She was not in love with me. And had not been for quite some time. I sank faster than an anvil in the dark moonless night, sinking in the mighty Pacific Ocean which separated us.
Rather than go to the embassy, I did what I do when my world collapses. I got sick. A nasty sinus infection floored me and just like so many times before, my body began to fail me. I just could not make sense of this. How could it be that I fell so thoroughly hard for someone and she was not able to fall back? It was/is a total gut punch. One that has left my entrails all over the ground from Phnom Phen to Chiang Mai.
My heart aches. So much.
I know this will sound silly to some, but I have never loved a human this much before. I have never loved someone even remotely like this. Never. The only time I have ever experienced this sort of emotion before a feline was involved. And while I love cats more that anything on earth, only really special cats like Nico and Helter.
Part of me, a huge portion really, wants nothing more to get on a plane and try and resuscitate what clearly has died in Gaby’s heart. But that part of me, the foolish, romantic part of me was over ruled by the one that truly understands that this is the end. One from which I somehow have to figure out how to walk again.
So I look towards something else. Anything else. But I keep only seeing that hazy fuzz that everything turns into, disappears, when you stare at one object for too long. And unlike anytime in my life before this, I am choosing to try and see this as an opening rather than the walls all falling in around me that it feels like.
The new positive me wants to burst forth from a gestating phoenix’s egg, but the shadow of me that has kept me company for 36 years does not know how to do this. It keeps trying to pull me back into the digestive hole of utter despair.
Ever since my first foray into the hyperbaric chamber where my health so unexpectedly started to improve and I saw myself with a future outside the limits given to me by western medicine, I began to hope and plan for a life in Brazil. Mind you, I never wanted to live in Brazil before this. Visit sure, but not live there. But Gaby could have convinced me to live beneath an active volcano as long as she was there with me. I began to write my future in Portuguese.
Mind you, I know next to no Portuguese, but I was more than willing to learn.
The irony of so much of how we grew apart is nearly enough to kill me. When I had to return to NYC completely unexpectedly to deal with a problem with my Indian visa, is when my love for Gaby grew in leaps and bounds. Yes, before I left I knew I loved her, but not quite like it felt when I returned. It blossomed far more than I ever thought would ever be possible. I swelled, as if filled with all the helium in the world, when she opened the door to her apartment after I flew all night, hardly sleeping, full of the pins and needles of anticipation. She had to rush off to work, but all I could think of, while wearing her pink winter hat that so did not suit me in the slightest (remember I had given away all my winter clothes), was how ecstatic I was to be in the presence of the one I truly and unconditionally loved. Nothing else mattered. And when my visa mix up continued and turned my unanticipated three and half day NYC adventure into three weeks, I was secretly greatful. I got extra time with her and nothing, nothing, could make that anything less than divine.
But I have come to find out that is when she realized that she did not burn with the same passion for me. So as I basked in her amazing presence, she began moving on, setting forth her future in Brazil. Sadly, one I am not a part of other than as a dearly loved friend.
Gaby is also the only person I have ever dated that I so clearly saw a future with over five years. Prior to her entering my life, I never was able to get past the five year plateau with anyone else. What is the five year plateau you ask? Well, with everyone else I could always see me with them tomorrow, clear as day. But as I imagined us further and further in the future their presence kept getting cloudier & cloudier or was absent all together. No one ever made it to five years from now, even as I quite wanted a few of them too. With Gaby, while I did not see us at 80 together — I just do not think I will live that long — she breached the previous uncrossed five year event horizon, at no less than warp speed. I could easily see us in five, ten, fifteen years. Not only that, but I could easily see my love for her continue to grow each day. I never doubted it for a moment.
I wish I could capture just how amazing she is in words. Only, mere words can not meet this challenge. Either that or I am just not that apt a wordsmith. I really wish I could communicate to her how amazing I think she is. I have tried and failed to do this so many times. I am incapable. This saddens me greatly.
But all of this is of course sickeningly painful, as up till five/six months ago five years was really all the time I thought I had as a normally mobile person. I often wonder if it is because my future is so precarious that I was so open to fall in love so hard with someone, that for the first time ever, I finally understood the appeal of marriage. Did I need someone to challenge me to find a path where if I did not get better at least I would stall my kidney failure.
I can not lie, when I heard the amazing words from the Oracle of MUNI, it was Gaby that forced me to listen and not haphazardly ignore them. I discovered the clinic in Chennai only because I was so desperate for something, anything to work, to fix me, so I could be able to share any extra years it would give me with her. I was already committed to exploring Ayurvedic medicine while I was in India (which failed miserably), but listening to a blind soothsayer on a MUNI bus, well I am pretty sure I would not have been so open to listening to her words, dismissed her as a crazy person, had I not had someone I wanted to cling to. It kills me more than I can say that I discovered this clinic and began to plan my trip around it just as she was realizing I was not “the one.”
Again, I am forced to think that the universe enjoys laughing at me.
The worst part of all this: I feel that I am not being the person I need to be to support her now. I have had to withdraw from our normal communication patterns as I can not deal with this much concentrated sadness. See, when she left me in India I decided that no matter what happened (and I even told her to move on without me, that I was nothing more than an anchor whose health issues would weigh her down) I would spend the rest of my life ensuring her happiness and enabling her potential to grow beyond the bounds of her imagination.
And well in the weeks since I have failed at this. Miserably. And that just guts me all over again.
A few friends have asked me why I do not seem mad at her. And this just confuses me. Why would I be angry at someone who is following their heart. Sure I am disappointed that the path her heart is taking her on does not lead to me, but anger has no place here. I can only hope that she continues to move towards happiness and fulfillment and finds someone that she loves that loves her even half as much as I do. I gave her ever ounce of me to fall in love with. In ways I never imagined I would with anyone. I squeezed myself till I was dry as a factory filled with Melba Toast. And if it was not enough to capture her heart, well… I am just not the person she is meant to fall in love with. As much as that sucks, as much as it continues to fillet me to my core, it is what it is.
The question for me now is whatever do I do now? I am no longer bound by this five year mentality due to hyperbaric chambers and the wonders of Tibetan medicine. And as I have had an amazingly good run in Asia, I am opting to stay. France does not call me near as much as it did a year ago. So I am currently trying to find a teaching job that pays me enough to bank a considerable about of cash, so that I can travel more unencumbered by financial pressure/reality and then return to Mcleod Ganj and volunteer to teach Tibetan refugees English. Other than Brooklyn, it is the only place I have ever felt at home.
As for today, what ever could I do to make up for the idea that I totally expected to be on a plane and have that amazing rendezvous… well I treated myself all day to things. A massage. An expensive dinner. Even a beer. I also bathed in the absolute melancholia of the broken hearted love songs from my Magnetic Fields collection. Today was about mourning, something I had tried to stall, hoping it was all just a bump in the road, a horrible dream, a mistake. I doubt I will ever be able to love Gaby less than I do currently, but I have to move on. I have to find a beacon within myself that I can use to want to get better. I have to get to a place where I can be all I want to be for Gaby, without being dashed into pieces against the sharp and jagged rocks.
Clearly I am not there yet, but maybe I’ll be closer to that place tomorrow. I hope so.
And Gaby, please remember that I love you in every possible way. For eternity. You are my favorite human being. I wish things were different, but I accept this, I am moving on. It is so hard, but it is only because you are such an amazingly, awesome person.