I awake—the diminutive weight of her delicate frame rocking me gently as she perches lightly on the edge of the bed—and I know she has come to say goodbye.
I summon as much energy as these pre-dawn moments will allow; sometimes, barely enough to draw my weary eyelids open; at others, with a vivacity that startles even me.
Every morning, before natural light creeps across our slumbering bodies, she rises, showers and—like a lonely swallow—wanders into the wide world alone. I do not ask where she will go or what she will do. I do not try to entice her back into the sanctuary of warm blankets and loving embraces because I know these things will not serve her. And the morning breeze will take her soul before she can snatch it back.
She must be alone. And I love her.
She feels guilt in her absence. Always departing before I muster my day’s motivation; never a morning shared in the utter devotion that consumes us for the rest of our day. But the guilt is mine.
Just once, I wish my lethargy would abate, allowing me to rise before her to offer her warm chai and an open hand; leading her into her day in compassion and gentleness. But hers is a different schedule, shedding the coma of sleep even before her dawn alarm awakens her.
She has been cocooned all night long, in my arms and in our bed, asphyxiated by these imaginary constraints, and now I know she must spread her wings and fly.
I do not need to know the actions in the twilight of the morning. I do not need to go with her or share in these times. Infinitely more intrinsic than her love of tahini or her desire to travel beyond the compass, I know that these sunrise sojourns are bred of desperate necessity; a breath held the night long that must return for her survival. And I trust implicitly.
Begrudgement, resentment; these things could never enter my heart. My love for her grows in the rumpled sheets and vacant spaces she leaves behind. I want for her freedom as much as she, and never am I lonely or sad; instead returning to the darkened meanderings of sleep with her love still embracing me, with dreams of the day’s reunion or future adventures drifting through my mind and nourishing my heart.
She has not left me behind. She has gone to find herself and I know that if she were to be denied these moments, she would be incomplete until the following daybreak allows her to once more retrieve the pieces of her soul.
She wanders, in heart and mind and body, across every footprint of her life’s journey. I have read ‘Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels’ and—through faltering breath and raindrop eyes—have recognised the truth in those words; I have seen in my beautiful guardian angel the similarities that beg me to set her free.
I have not fallen in love, because that is to imply an end to the falling. Every time my eyes glance across her form—from cheek to finger to breast to leg—I see her for the first time once again and I fall a little further. Every thought that creeps into my mind pushes me over another cliff, plunging me deeper still.
She in solitude is as much the girl I love as the vibrant She, scattering kisses across my face, curling into my arms through candlelit moments, reflecting to me all the emotions and devotions I feel for her.
She could never be caged; she will never be mine. I pray we will be unified forever in us and to do so, I know I must let her go.
Her morning yearnings and global wanderings are as much her as the iridescent pools of her eyes that I have plunged into and swam in so many times; as necessary as every beat of her hummingbird heart. It bruises my soul thinking that one foot will always be pointed away from me, that she has lists on the walls of her mind of destinations and explorations. But to deny her these integral traits would be to wish the death of the girl I love; the subservient, ever-present reincarnation of herself a poor substitute, a hollow shell masquerading as the migratory girl beyond my dreams.
And so I collect these bruises—knowing they will fade, recognising that it is my ego alone that manifests the pain they incur—and embrace them in the knowledge that within the rainbow of emotional blues and purples and greys these bruises form, lies the continuance of all that I live for; all that I adore.
She is torn between her love for me and her desperate need for solitude. Apologies crease her forehead as she reaches her arms out towards me in a begging for forgiveness. But this is to whom I have dedicated my life. I have signed up voluntarily to mornings and weeks and months alone, which I know will cause my heart to crack and my eyes to leak, but without which, the beautiful spirit I have found in her will cease to be. And it is a small price to pay.
So I will throw my arms open, allowing her flight, and will await her return.
I have been to the places she travels to daily: the introverted cravings to find yourself, lost and anonymous. I will find the benefits in my own solitude and wile away the hours and days and weeks until she returns. “Life” is the time that passes between the dreams I share with her.
I will let her go, devoted forever. For wherever she wanders, she carries my heart.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Christina Lorenzo / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo Credit: Flickr/btm