It is almost that time when people celebrate New Year’s Eve, when the calendar begins again. Not for me though. My year has been a comma out of place in my life, a pause from the continuous motion. And when I stop, I realize that it has been almost as long since things were okay.
With all my health problems, I suppose it is easy enough to think that that is what erodes my happiness and sense of satisfaction. It isn’t. Don’t get me wrong: it has not been a fun year of illness and surgeries and infirmity. What matters to me is not life itself, which I admit feels strange to write, though I must make clear that I quite prefer being alive at the moment and have no desire for that to change. That said, it is what gives life meaning that matters most to me. There are many things that make life meaningful, ipseic desires no doubt, but, for me, it is not a thing that is missing but rather a who. A she. A her.
She is not the beginning, nor the end, if it is an end. But I have measured this year not by calendar nor surgery nor breaths but by words left unspoken to someone I care about, will always care about, hoping all the while that somewhere the tongue should regain for a second the ability to speak my heart. What worth is a tongue muted to the words we have for those we care about most?
Then, what worth if the words are directed to another country? What if the one we care about is not within steps but miles, across oceans and mountains and far from interest in awaiting the shores for a shipwreck of sound? Can we reclaim the voice heard but not listened to?
When New Year’s Eve has passed, and my own nears, I shall not step forth with joy, with raucous hollers and elated cheers. Perhaps it shall be mourning, perhaps mere melancholy. But certainly not hope. Not for this. Not for her.
Where do we stop though? When do we stop? When do we end an arduous journey fraught with emptiness and sorrows, lurking about in the caliginous day as revenants and wights, waiting in ambush, concealed as in night though not of shadow but sun? At the destination is the answer, and no doubt such a sentiment prods my heart onward towards specterless night, but the question becomes about the destination. What is the destination? What would designate consummation of the steps, of an end reached? And what of the destination that changes or continues to proceed ever in front of you but never in reach?
Am I Sisyphus or Tantalus? Perhaps both.But they suffered for rock and fruit. She is neither. She is worth immeasurably more to me than all save God. Let the mockers mock, the gossips gossip, and jesters jest, but they mock what they will never know, gossip about what they will never have, jest about what they will never believe in.
Past Possibility. Past Hope. To the face of Despair and well past his shadow. To Death. Nothing, nothing, will ever make me stop. Not in my heart.