by Eliza Ande
She looks in the mirror and is surprised by what she sees… something there that she hadn’t noticed before. There is the evidence of age in the grey wisps at her temples, but she notices something else - a youthful glint and a steely strength; the certainty and hope of the idealistic young combined with the confidence and wisdom that comes with age. The crinkled brow and questioning frown are softer somehow, and less obvious. She sees a self-assured poise. She realizes that she’s seeing a reflection of him – her Twin Flame, her Soul Mate, the yang to her yin, her Masculine Mirror, gazing back at her… and she remembers their last encounter, just over a year ago.
Being mindful and bringing my attention “inward” I notice anxious thoughts, like erratic flies on a dead corpse; my shallow, irregular breath; a buzzing energy throughout my body.
I focus outwards on the sunlight bouncing off the leaves, and the sound of the rush-hour traffic – a few irate commuters are honking off the frustrations of the day as they bustle home to what I imagine to be their humdrum mundane lives.
I attempt to ground and center myself, and eventually give up. I distract myself instead by making “to do” lists.
Then – there. You. Are. And the anxiety dissolves.
We hug briefly. There is a flitter of awkwardness that is as momentary and gentle as the brush of a summer breeze.
And then we are driving and talking and getting lost and going around in circles with no sense of direction, and … it. doesn’t. matter.
You disclose that you feel excited, and I think it’s about the work opportunity, all the possibilities that lie ahead, and you add “and being here, with you”. I feel a “physical rush” flush through my body. I hope that you don’t notice.
A brilliant orange-red-gold sun is sinking into the horizon as we drive over the ridge.
It feels like we have so many words and there is also absolutely no need for words.
But I could listen to the sound of your voice – steady, measured, thoughtful, resonant; sculpting culture and conversation – all night long.
We park, get out of my car, and walk along the beachfront. I want to hold your hand. I don’t mention this. We walk respectfully and appropriately apart – we could be work colleagues. But we’re not.
We pause to enjoy a drink on the pier, and gaze at the city lights reflecting off the sea and the sand.
We talk about white noise, as the waves (literal) rise and fall like sound waves, making their own music. The sky is as rose-tinted as our cheeks which flush with delight, and with the sheer joy and deep intimacy of being honest, being real and sharing deep conversations about things that matter.
Then a phone call that you must make. I watch the dancers on the pavement, their jukebox blaring loudly into the night air as they jiggle, and step, and sway to the rhythm. I sense something sacred about being in time, in tune, in sync.
I wait in the car. You climb back in. I ask how you are, and if you feel guilty. You say No.
What is this? I observe myself from “outside” myself, I’m circling round and round inside my own head – if I were a cartoon, I would have a school of question marks swimming around in my brain, like slippery, uncatchable fish.
We arrive at a little corner café – tucked away. We share chilli chocolate sake, and red wine, and difficult questions. “Let me ask you this (you don’t have to answer): if you were given three months to live, what would you do? What would you do about “this”, about “us”?” Barely a heartbeat, and you reply “I would be with you.”
So, what does that mean? We follow Rilke’s advice to “love and live the questions themselves”; we have no answers.
Lots more conversation.
I appreciate your sincerity and honesty about the lines on my face – you say that they are beautiful, you don’t pretend they’re not there, or that you don’t notice them. My heart swells with joy and I melt with delight at this authenticity.
We explore the masculine and the feminine. Yin and yang. Gender roles. Your view is that we want both; that as a woman, I want the man to protect me, and that as a man, you want to do the protecting. This is true – I do. Only partly true though, I also want us to be equal, to give and take, to have mutual respect, for both our voices to be valid and heard, for both our opinions to count. I want to grow together and to challenge each other. Sometimes I might be the one protecting you.
Sometimes you might be the one nurturing me. Our roles are fluid, like liquid mercury, everchanging, evolving, growing and integrating.
Driving back, we find ourselves lost (again). I wonder if it is it a mirror of you and I? We keep losing our way (and each other) but we always find our way back.
We reach your hotel. I don’t want to leave. The clichéd expression – I don’t want this night to end.
We reveal a duel confession: “I’ve imagined this scene a hundred times, and it’s not platonic”. It would be so easy. But we don’t, and we both know we won’t. It can’t be tainted love. We realize that if we can do it with each other, we can do it to each other. It’s not fair, it’s not honest, it’s not pure, and it’s not who we are.
We explore values and needs. Integrity versus the need for depth and physical intimacy. Could it be that you need to give this a chance in your existing relationship? If you haven’t asked it of the other, how can they know it’s even important to you; how can you know whether they’re able to give it or not?
We embrace. It’s extremely appropriate. We hold hands very briefly and slightly awkwardly. We know it’s time. We don’t want to let go.
You say you love her deeply. I know you do; I know that is true. So much in your relationship “works”, and there is so much that you value – kindness, adoration, pragmatism.
You say that you’re “in love” with me. If I were her, I’d want to know. I’d want you to go. I believe, on some level, I would already “know”. But I’m not her, and it’s not my call.
What now? I don’t know. You don’t know. I say I know for me. The ball is in your court. Only you can make this decision. I know that if you were unattached, I would want to be with you. I know that I love you. Truly Deeply Profoundly.
Would “we” work? I’m not sure. We can’t know that.
I have no doubt that we would challenge each other, that there would be clashes of ego’s, and insecurities, and jealousy. I don’t think it would be as easy or comfortable as what you have. I think there would be more drama, and emotion. I feel there would be more fire. It would be honest. I believe the level of growth, learning, and “enlargement of our souls” would be supreme. I imagine we would have a lot of adventurous fun.
We’ve both evolved and changed in the last decade. We’ve learnt and processed and integrated, and we’re in the process of learning all the time. That too, is profound and magical.
Sitting talking in the car, not wanting to say the final goodbye, the light from the streetlamp falling across your face, you look so handsome! Strong, self-assured, a deep intelligent wisdom in your beautiful, kind brown eyes. All I want to do is reach out and touch your face, trace my fingertips softly over your cheekbones, your chin, your lips. All I want to do is take your face in my hands, and kiss you.
We say goodbye and I watch you walk across the street.