I know this is the right thing for me. I am finally at peace.
I always wondered how I would know. But then, it happened. Seemingly out of nowhere, (but really it had been building all along) I walked away.
I closed a door (for the last time) that has been shut in my face, multiple times, since the day I knocked and looked behind its welcoming exterior. It closed, admittedly, by my own hand time and again. And yet, there was this unbearable need inside me to turn that knob just one more time, to listen to the creek of the tarnished hinges and to peer into the mysterious room that lay behind that door—What secrets still await me? What treasures will I discover? How different will I feel once I’ve crossed this threshold? Always the curious one. How many times I killed that cat.
Still, it happened.
And the it I refer to is not a happening at all, but rather a stillness that rested over me. A quiet and subtle and soothing calm. The clear and keen clarity that this is not the room for me to enter. This is not the shelter I seek, nor the mystery that I am curious about. It will not feed my hunger. It will not quench my thirst.
Closing this door and leaving it locked is merely the method by which I will turn, slowly at first, and then, with one foot in front of the other, my gaze falling along the walls and the corridor stretched before me, I will walk.
And the urge will arise (perhaps again and again) to turn around, to grip the familiar door handle once more, to turn it until the bolt unlatches and the air between where I stand and the shadowed captivity converge. But I will not settle for that common experience. Not even one more time.
The it that emerged is the deep knowing that I am free. I am not bound to repeat the opening and closing of this door. I am not obligated or restricted or required by this conditioned habit. It is merely a habit, you see. I have lost all interest in this self-imposed torment and the silly floundering quest for love—to grasp at what was never mine and to long for that which would never be.
My heart is so much stronger now; much bolder and newly qualified to emerge into the vast expanse of whatever is next. The anticipation sets my skin to tingle. Nothing is known.
I am free. We are free. This is the absolute best outcome (the only outcome really) to have happened. Where everything is new and different and fresh, because it is nothing that I thought it would be. There is only more of this mysterious world, more of myself, more beautiful people and more of love to discover. I was never his to begin with. I was always my own.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant archives