It’s Sunday morning, but no rain is falling. Outside, a rooster insistently crows – if he is not the state bird already, he should be, because there are plenty of his kind roaming about. Through the opened glass shutters, I can see the wind playing with the leaves and palm fronds, and above and beyond the rooftops, the swaying fields of cane. The breeze enters the room occasionally, but never quite reaches where I sit behind the desk. Yellow mid-morning light shines through – the sun could be hot today, it certainly looks to be, but I haven’t yet stepped foot outside, caged as I am in this office, my muscles restless and longing to run, run, run.
Run away, again.
But I make myself sit, make myself type out these words and read the words of others. I content myself – or try to – with the knowledge that this sitting still won’t last forever. That someday soon, I’ll be on the move again. This town has become too small, too full of memories already – has it really only been seven months? – and I can feel the unknown calling.
But is it fear of the familiar that keeps this restlessness ever-present? Fear of attachment? Fearful because with attachment, there could be grief and loss?
The problem is, you’re too well versed in head-intelligence, and not well versed enough in heart-intelligence. You don’t feel enough.
Your words felt like a spear through me, that day, and my automatic response was defensiveness. That’s not true. I feel a lot – too much, too deeply, actually.
You laughed and shook your head. That’s not what I meant. I mean that you keep everything bottled up. You don’t let anyone in, and because of that, you don’t understand anyone. You can’t empathize with anyone. All your relationships are superficial.
I could feel my cheeks grow hot, and I looked down and tried to think of a clever response, but none was forthcoming. How accurately you were able to read me filled me with frustration, because you were right. I didn’t let anyone in, didn’t want anyone in, because that would lead to attachment, which would lead to loss. How I had gotten this idea into my head and heart, I didn’t know – couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment I stopped trusting the world with what lay in my depths.
Got you. Your eyes sparkled with humor, but also understanding. I could feel my cheeks grow hot again. You, who’d only known me a few months – suddenly guessing at all I kept secret. A stranger who knew my soul better than those who’d known me my whole life.
I’m thinking of that day now, as I sit in this office watching the dance of light outside and feeling the longing to go, go anywhere – anywhere but here, this chair in this office in this box in this town. Even just to the other side of the island would provide enough respite, enough unknown, to quell, for a time, my addiction to running away.
I walked outside for a moment – just a moment, just long enough to feel the sun on my skin and the perfection of the wind, and suddenly I was transported to all the other places I had felt that same wind. Memories swirled around me and I grasped helplessly at the present, at the future – at whatever could be used to erase that nostalgia.
Still, after all you said, I can’t let go of the hope that my relationships aren’t superficial – they certainly don’t feel superficial. But then I think of all the times I needed a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to and feel truly understood – and I think of the way I never called any of my friends because I didn’t want to bother them with my little troubles, didn’t want to bring their days down with my sadness. So I dealt with it all on my own instead, and let the grief sit in my stomach until I was distracted enough to not feel the choking heartbreak anymore.
So perhaps I don’t have much heart-intelligence, because my addiction to running away, to non-attachment, have blocked me from being open enough to let others in. And I sit here in this box, trying to think of ways to remedy this restlessness. Try to find ways to feel a depth in all my friendships, in all my relationships, that I hadn’t let exist before.
Try to find a way to not run away.
Have you had trouble in the past opening your heart and soul up to others? How did you remedy it?