Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Somewhere In Between

Our last day in Hawaii was spent lounging on the sand and swimming in the pale turquoise waters of Waikiki. After a spectacular sunset, a meal of laulau and poi and a bus ride back to the hotel, we closed our eyes and said goodbye to this beautiful place where we had spent the last three weeks. As we boarded the plane the next morning, I could feel that something inside of me had changed, a slight and barely perceptible shift of the way in which I had regarded and remembered this tiny piece of paradise on the other side of the world. I didn't want to go back; no, not this time. I peered out the window and felt my heart surge in protest, my eyes fill with tears. I closed them tightly and leaned back into my chair, biting my tongue to keep a cry of protest from escaping my lips.

Thirty hours, ten thousand miles, two books, countless naps, and a few silent tears later, I am back here once again, back in that place between two places, to my home between two homes, somewhere between happiness and utter despair.

"I didn't want to go back. Not the first time, I didn't think my heart could stand it. But the airplane is a wonderful thing. You are still in one place when you arrive at the other. The airplane is faster than the heart. You arrive quickly and you leave quickly. You don't grieve too much. And there is something else about the airplane. You can go back many times to the same place. And something strange happens if you go back often enough. You stop grieving for the past. You see that the past is something in your mind alone, that it doesn't exist in real life. You trample on the past, you crush it. In the beginning it is like trampling on a garden. In the end you are just walking on ground. That is the way we have to learn to live now. The past is here." He touched his heart. "It isn't there." And he pointed at the dusty road.

- A Bend In The River;
V.S. Naipaul

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