Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meeting at the Cross Roads

This is awkward. I did not expect to meet you here. I was simply taking a walk to get my mind off the events of the previous weeks. It’s a big city after all. What are the odds we’d meet each other and here of all places?

I am referring, of course, to the corner of Churchill and Loveless Avenues. The streetlights have already been lit, little gas flames fluttering against the wanton winds caresses. Here between the bakery, the old church, the small bookseller’s, and the iron fenced park with its paths that all converge on the cemetery at its heart. Why did I have to meet you here?

Its not that I dislike your company. Not at all. Quite the opposite really. But the pain is still too fresh. What should I say? We have both seen each other, both regretted seeing each other, both want to run from the other, and yet even now we both move towards each other both wearing false smiles. I shall simply say good evening. Even though it is neither good anymore, nor evening yet. The sunset still gilds the windows of the bakery with golden light.

We are talking even though we don’t want to. We are both standing awkwardly in the center of the roads. We talk about the upcoming summer. About how wretched May weather can be. We both begin to move towards the bakery, there are small wrought iron seats and tables before it. We both sit. We both talk. We both break a piece of the bread that I bought.

The church bells ring. The stained glass coloring the sidewalk of the Avenue. A flock of sparrows take off from the tower, circle, singing praises of joy and epithalamiums to the heavens. We rise with the birds, and walk across the roads. You pause. You gaze towards the church. I know what you’re thinking. You know I agree. But its too late. The evening has come. The sun had set. It rises every morning, you remind me. I cannot argue against nature. I do not want to.

We are still paused. The booksellers lights go out, the door is locked for the evening. No books will sell this evening. The old, worn tomes of yesterday’s loves, deaths, defeats, victories, and sorrows in all. They sit and gather dust as the readers play with their teardrops on the parchment pages. You break my silent tirade. You ask me what I think. Of what?

I know what. Maybe I do, what do you mean? I am being cruel now. When are we not cruel? I am pushing you away. “I” am pushing you away? We both push and pull at the same door, yet neither of us dare use the keys we have been given. No, you say, I am the only one who has a key, you do not.

Here, in the shade of dusk, the columns of the avenues’ many lamppost, like the altar candles, glow with soft, gold, halos. You stand there, and I stand here. And yet we are both the center of the crossroads. A light behind a tree casts a veil of flecked shadows between us, a screen neither of us can pass. The slow hymns of the Mass begins in sorrowful voices. This is as good a time as any, I decide.

“There is something I must tell you. You will not understand part of it, but part of that part you will actually understand. Yet your mind will not allow you to accept it. I do not come looking for your acceptance anymore. But I do need to ask for something else. Your forgiveness.”

We hear the prayers begin behind us. Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have sinned against them all. I have sinned against you. And I have sinned against the one I met tonight at this crossroads. It has been too long since my last confession.

“I am truly sorry. I cannot tell you all, for my heart cannot bare it. I am sorry that time cannot be turned forward and back. I am sorry that words cannot be swallowed or spoken. I am sorry that the night is black and the sun is bright and the world is full of people. I am sorry that your heart is as it is. I am sorry that mine is as it was. I am sorry that I met you this evening. And I am sorry that the sun has now set.”

You bid farewell. I bid Adue. You walk along the path, down Churchill Avenue, with its trees and bookstores, and bakeries. You walk down the cobblestone streets towards the home waiting for you there. I stand and deliberate. Which way shall I go?

The church bells ring again. The voices have stopped. The windows of all are dark. Only the flames of lamps remain, as stars suspended in ink black night. The road that leads me back where I came from. The road that leads me to the sea. The road that follows you, follows more pain. And the road that goes onward alone.

And then there is the park. The neat clipped park, with neat little paths, and neat little benches, and neat little tombstones. The park without glaring lamppost lights or hard cobblestone streets. The park with soft beds of sweet earth and the heart of the world as my pillow. The church bells ring again. Which way will I go?

Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat,
Et ego auctoritate ipsius te absolvo ab,
Omni vinculo excommunicationis et interdicti,
In quantum possum et tu indiges.
Deinde, ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis,
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

1 comment:

  1. jean this is incredible! definitely one of my favorites... i think the ending is my favorite though - the part about the road, following you, going on alone, etc. amazing!