“I don’t know what I’m doing,” I said, tears filling up my waterglass eyes.
He replied, “I know exactly what you’re doing,” and touched my face delicately.
I buried my face into his shirt, the scent of morning’s freshness tickling the hairs inside my nose. My eyes were tired, my heart full. I reveled in the feelings of gratitude and despair one experiences when saying goodbye–even if it’s just temporary. I closed my eyes, and nothing else seemed to exist or matter. We embraced and became one unit, impenetrable and unaware of what surrounded us. It felt like something out of a movie–the romantic goodbye, where the camera focuses in on the tragically happy couple, bringing into focus every crinkle of emotion, while the extras swarm around benignly and out of focus.
Yes, it felt like a movie, until I realized we were surrounded by garbage. And that we were in the way.
Apparently, while we were lost in our warm embrace, the garbage men had come to clean out some of Terminal 3’s finest waste receptacles, and they weren’t going to let some emotional, romantic farewell get in the way of their dubious duties. The tension broke, and I burst out laughing–both at the drama I had created in my mind, and the irony of it all.
I’m not sure where my fear began, but I used to be a staunch rule-follower, a believer that everything was difficult and impossible, and that conventionality would guide me down a path to happiness. I fantasized that my life would turn out like a movie–like a lot of us fantasize. I didn’t know where I’d meet “him,” or how I’d get the “dream job,” but I had convinced myself that I’d get a call from “some big CEO” who had discovered my writing, or that “our eyes” would fall upon each other from across a party and that’d be it.
But that isn’t “it.” That hasn’t been “it.” And I’m really glad that won’t be “it.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the past year, it’s that being a slave to conventionality hurts more than succumbing to unconventionality. It’s the pathway to presence of mind, to being in the moment, and to being happy. Welcoming unconventionality, leaning in to your heart’s emotions, and accepting every moment at face value has opened my eyes and filled my heart, allowing the world to love me in the way it wants to–or in the way it needs to.