The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Journey without an ending

A journey is "the act of traveling from one place to another." This implies a beginning and an end. Moving towards a destination of some sort. Rather than tell you everything I did on my Lenten Hiatus, I will give you a glimpse into my beginning and my end.

One week into Lent:
Sitting in a Houston Church with my brother and his family, I just smiled at those adorable little girls and beamed with pride at the life my brother has made for himself. It was hard to concentrate on the Homily with niece #1 talking about Jesus going to ballet class. Nevertheless, the Priest began with a story that caught my attention. He had performed a funeral earlier and spent some time wandering around the mausoleum. He spoke of this small symbolic "chamber" behind glass that sits in the wall next to each tomb. The family and friends of the deceased put objects in the chamber that signify their loved one's life. One chamber particularly stood out. Unlike the other chambers, this one had no photos of the man as a child nor of his family as an adult, no poems or writings by loved ones, no objects of sentimentality such as a ring or a blanket. In this man's chamber lay cigars, beer and a deck of cards. Anyone could see through this small glass box and know how this man lived his life. More importantly, how his existence was viewed by his family and his friends.

This really got me wondering how the people I love see me. What would people think to put in my chamber when I am gone?

Determined to have this figured out by the end of Lent, I sat down to make myself a list. I was surprised that my objects don't come to mind so easily. I had to dig really deep inside to figure out some things about my existence. My chamber would most likely contain something Washington DC. Not only is it my place of residence, but DC is somewhat symbolic of how far I have come and the hard work it took to get here. Next to my DC something, would sit something Louisiana. Although Louisiana may not be "home" to me anymore, it will certainly always be a part of me and a reminder of where I came from. Likewise, although I am no longer an Architect, tools of that trade would go into my chamber to signify my creative side. And of course, the Scales of Justice would sit in my chamber as a symbol of my upcoming life as a lawyer.

Imagining what would go into my chamber was much more difficult than I anticipated. It was not really hard to narrow down the objects. Rather, the difficult part was contemplating objects that could timelessly capture who I am and what my time on Earth meant. As I pondered what I figured would be in my chamber, I was hit with the jolting reality of how trivial it all is. A city, a state, and two jobs. Is that my life? Is that how people will remember my existence? Most importantly, I ask myself 'is this really what I want?'

One week before the end of Lent:
When he asked me to meet him last night, I hesitated. It has been months since we have spoken. We both know what happens when we do. No matter how hard we try and promise that we will just hang out, no strings attached, just friends...it does not work.

I think about him a lot. For three years now, every time I see a white jeep, I glance at the driver. When I go to certain bars or certain areas of town, I look over my shoulder. For three years now, a part of me has truly thought that one day we would make this work. He has too. We keep trying and circumstances keep taking over to push "us" aside. I never understood how two people could have such a deep connection and have such strong feelings for each other, but could not make a relationship work. Both of us have tried to move on and both of us keep coming back to each other. Neither of us willing or wanting to walk away...as if we were just meant to be together.

My rational side forced me to say no to meeting him for a drink. Exams are coming up, this is not good timing. He understood, but he asked again. After a pep talk from a friend, I decided to meet him. As I headed downstairs, I assured myself that I could do this.

It was really good to see him. We chatted and laughed and caught up on life. His smile faded as he said "so, it looks like I got a job back home in Texas. I think I will be leaving in a few weeks." I was surprised although I shouldn't have been. I knew this is what he has always wanted. I smiled big and congratulated him thinking I was doing a good job hiding my shock. I thought my smile could mask what was going on inside. Not so much. Before I even knew what was happening, my walls crumbled and a tear rolled down my left cheek. I turned away. I had no idea that it would hurt so much. For the longest time, I couldn't look up at him. When I finally did, I noticed his tears matching mine.

He told me that doesn't want to leave me. As I stood in his arms, a part of me just wanted to ask him to stay. But I know that I can't be the only thing keeping him where he doesn't want to be. I also know he wants me to go with him. Maybe not now, but later, and forever. I can't do that either but I am not sure why.

So, is that it? Am I supposed to continue living this "dream" I have worked so hard to put together while I watch this guy that means the world to me walk out of my life? This really hurts.

Years from now - a conversation at my glass chamber:
Friend 1: "Dear sweet Law-Rah. She was always so determined and worked so hard her whole life."
Friend 2: "What was she working so hard for?"
Friend 1: "She never did figure that out."
...a fear realized.