On every flight, as the engines roar their assault on quiet skies, I lean my head back in the stick straight seat and let something go. I take my chance while I’m being moved, far faster than in my real-time days. This burst into thinner air feels easy to leave what weighs me behind on the tarmac, already forgetting the shade of flighted wings.

A few days ago I felt what was coming before I knew how to let it go. It caught me, held the gravity of what I knew I could not go back to, spun in the ending of it, wheels lifting before I could orient myself to the tears on my wind tired face.

I had come to the ending I had fought to delay, and I could feel the round shape of being misunderstood stretching behind me, clung to the earth, unbending and tight. I would remain unknown in so many ways, the place I held in the hierarchy of things a bent arm shield, cold and shining in my gathering aloneness. The work I was doing felt unsustainable, unrelenting and unforgiving.

I would not miss this, being alone, but I would miss them.

If I stayed I could avoid the mirrored knowing of fallen things. If I stayed I could keep trying, not giving in to all those who agreed in my leaving, their vindication an echo of all the small weary ways I let them down.

If I left I could do again what I have done before, start the clock over, try a different padded jacket to protect from the cold of someone else’s brief shouldered goodbye.

If I left I would miss out on the kind hand held sisterhood in that restaurant served so well by a waitress I’ll never meet again, who called out my childhood name behind me, three times, to her friend working beside her. An odd name my parents called just me. The uniqueness of it turning my head and dissolving the last of the barricade holding the woolen melancholy of these years.

I moved to a new town all those years ago to continue school in the rose gold evening mountains of Utah. It turns out I didn’t leave the last place~ I arrived at the new one. And what I found there was what I found at that table last night. I didn’t know when I brought that word with me how it would continue to chase me until I finally accepted it from the heart of others by telling the truth from mine. That in the very connection I would feel the grace of it, as we sat around that table, the ghost of the goodbyes we have grieved knitting us together.


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