STAY FOR ME…

I was half-heartedly watching some movie about love and romance the other day. Or was it an episode from a TV series? I suppose at a certain age stories start blurring into one long reel. Anyway, the gentleman protagonist told the lady protagonist that she can’t stay in their particular city for him, she must go where a dream career has been offered…or some stuff…

Twenty years ago I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed postgraduate student with dreams of solving crime and saving lives. This was just before CSI hit my country, thank you kindly. I applied to a large local university for masters studies in forensic science, got accepted and started rehearsing the speaches I’d give when I win the Nobel Prize for super-hero-ish crime solving…

But there was Paul. Blond, blue-eyed, insanely beautiful and loved by everyone who met him, the extroverted sonofabitch. Paul was as far removed from my idea of ‘my cup of tea’ as you’d ever find. I like dark, intense and smouldering…he was like the sun and carried his heart in the palm of his hand. I was shy, even prudish…he made individual physical boundaries seem fluid. I wasn’t always sure where he stopped and I began but he made it feel natural and unintrusive. His kisses were urgent and he was always ‘there’…

You have to go, he said. I felt insanely guilty because I never really considered staying here for Paul. I was always going to go finish my master’s studies. It was my dream.

We drifted apart. I didn’t come home often and I started ignoring his calls. I don’t know why I did that. I didn’t want any reasons to have to come home. He called less and less.

He fell into a coma following a motor vehicle accident a few months after I’d gotten a job as forensic analyst in the city where I’d studied. I was the only person whose voice he responded to. I pleaded with him to open his eyes. But in the fight between love and pulmonary emboli, the latter usually won. He drew his last breath on April 27, 2004, just after 21:00.

About a year later I’d left my job, returned home and pursued a career that has brought me much frustration and happiness. I upgraded to other positions twice after that. More happiness. I know I’ll leave my current job one of these fine days and the interesting tapestry I’ve weaved over the last few decades will gain a few more colorful strands.

But I’m alone. As wonderful as my friends are, Paul is not here to cure me of my incessant over-thinking when the lights go out and the air become quiet. He is not here to teaze me out of my silly obsessions.

I’m not sorry I chased my dreams, I’m really not, and I happily recommend it to all. But I regret not being stupid and courageous and ridiculous and taking him with me. It would have been insane and everyone would have warned us against it, but I should have dragged him with me. If our relationship had failed, my problem-solving skills and his creativity and courage would have led us each to other avenues that might not have been so saturated with remorse and aloneness. And death.

I’ve heard people say that you don’t stay for someone else. You don’t leave for someone else.

Me…I can think of nothing more wonderful to stay for or to leave for…

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