I had to get to the campus early this morning. I walked through the parking lot, weaving through the cars and making sure that frantic drivers hoping to snag a spot noticed me. I fiddled with my iPod and looked up to see a familiar, sloping walk coming down in the other direction from the lot.
We never came within 50 yards within one another and I don’t think that he saw me. The first feeling that I got when I recognized all the pieces and pulled it together to something so dear, yet something so hideously painful, was a dull wash of tightness in the pit of my stomach. For a split second, it cascaded to the area barely beneath my ribs and swung back down and was gone. The small reaction surprised me.
It wasn’t a wretched loss of breath. It wasn’t a surreal moment. It was a flush of warmth, a remembrance, and it was gone. I passed behind an SUV, still hoping that he would continue to not see me, yet kept him in my vision, staring as he walked. As he lifted a limp hand to help shrug his backpack strap higher onto his shoulder, a clear thought floated in, “Maybe this was all meant to be. Maybe this is how it was supposed to be.”
He passed from my peripheral vision and was gone.
This was the first day that I really had an idea of how to process a looming cognitive dissonance I’ve held for over a year now. That unshakeable belief that you had done something very, very wrong and there was no meaning.
It leads me back to what my Mom told me after I reflected, through sobs, that I had done things that would be etched forever on my soul as regret. It was the first time I can really recall her empathizing with any of my heart breaks, nevermind that it was me breaking my own heart, she told me, “You did what you thought was right at the time. You did what you had to do. And no matter what outcomes follow, you did what was right for yourself at the time. You might have hurt yourself, and who knows in the long run, your subconscious knew what was right for you then. Maybe, somehow, you protected yourself.”
The idea of your subconscious molding the future range of your active free will is unsettling. But today, for the first time, I had a thought of thinking that, even if the means to the end were atrocious, maybe something had gone right for both of us.