July 5, 2022

It Dawned on me that I was Running Away.


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You’d think living on an island living is an exotic, ecstatic experience.

Not in the spring of 2022. Not on the island of Crete.

Actually, locals tell me with a grumpy grimace that it’s been the coldest spring they’ve seen in half a century. They feel robbed; this is their time on their island! Spending it indoors doesn’t come close to the Greek version of joie de vivre.

Although I can empathize (this is my first extensive visit to an island—a decision made with images of sunny skies and warm ocean waters in mind) the cold kinda grew on me. It feels like home, just a bit warmer. Added bonus, the taverna around the corner is open outside of tourist season and a well-layered gyro warms a girl’s stomach like nothing else. Best of all, I had deserted beaches all to myself and my fluffy monster, Kona. The solitude, the silence, and the salty air suited me.

But as some may say, all good things must come to an end. So when a friend of a friend invited me to watch her daughter perform in the Cretan philharmonic and meet her athletic, talented, single violin teacher, I told myself, “If I’m ever going to leave my hermit hole, then Bach is one mighty reason to do so!”

It was. Not because of this particular interpretation of Bach. And not because of the rough in all the right ways, master of strings professor.

You see, this was the first time in over two years I was in a crowd. It was like an out-of-body experience. As I stood in my corner of choice, in the inner garden of Heraklion’s recently-opened cultural center, admiring the mastery of Greek gesticulation, their loud voices blending into their own concerto, I felt like I was fading away.

It dawned on me that I was not on this island because of the aforementioned enchanting experience; I was here because I was running away. From heartbreak. From him. From a world in which he existed.

I exiled myself to an island, performing my good-girl act of quietude.

Had I finally managed to make myself disappear?

And if I disappeared
Would you care?
Would my memory ever pop up
While you spend mornings in your comfy armchair
Reading one of those mainstream, non-fiction books,
Slowly seeping green tea out of your AWE-SOME mug?
Would you honor the urge to reach out?
Is there such a thing as a final goodbye for the two of us?!

And if I disappeared
Would you wonder after a while?
Would you make up a story about me
That I am out there
Living the best life?
That letting me go was right
Your gut telling you
There’s no future for you and I?
How’s that self-prophecy working out?!

And if I disappeared
Would you feel
The remains of a once lustful kiss
The first time on the south side
Your hands trembling around my neck,
Holding me in place
The chills of you and I?
It is becoming such a distant, fuzzy spark…
Did I make that up?!

And if I disappeared
Is that the works of time?
Or was it you nonchalantly pressing delete on my portrait,
Removing me from the back of your mind?
Or was it I who finally gave up?
Who stopped one day
Knocking on your phone’s screen
Trying hard to keep the flame of my flickery existence alive
In the labyrinth of your heart?

And I disappeared…


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