Have you ever run from a fight only to get sucker-punched right on the turn of the curved path to your home?
I cannot seem to escape trouble. One way or another it finds me.
I make my way through hills and valleys
Rocks and caves
I tread light, I move gingerly
I go at night, I go stealthily.
But I feel it all the time-
The chill on the back of my neck.
The cold eyes of a sinister fate.
Those long wiry legs
Those silent feet
They keep step
To the candence of my march
Always one step behind me
Always keeping me within the reach
Of those stone- cold paws.
The first time I was propositioned, I was ten years old. Ten sheltered, protected years of being fawned over and having my hair tousled endlessly. To my mother, I was the perfect child. I made the mistake of learning to read early and having an insatiable appetite for books and the secret worlds they held between their covers. She also loved books, so it was our thing. We would talk about what we had read- what had made us laugh, what had made us cry. From then on, no school could be good enough for her little Einstein. I was home schooled for the better part of elementary school. That and maybe because I was naturally quiet, non-confrontational and relatively obedient- as much as my inquisitive and curious side permitted.
Imagine the shock on my innocent face, when a “grown up girl” had told me that she liked me a lot and would really love for me to like her back. I was still as confused as I was at the start of the conversation, when she pressed her soft, plump, full, pink lips to mine. It caught me off guard. I don’t know what was more shocking, her audacity or the fact that I actually liked the feeling of her lips on mine… Eeew! I was completely paralyzed in mind and body when she slipped her tongue past my inexperienced lips.
I am yet to recover from the shock perhaps.
That was the opening act of what would become an elaborate play, stretching all the way through six years of boarding school, another six years of university/ medical school and the few odd years since then. I have been running since.
Running away from love
More mothers have asked me to offer some form or another of commitment to their daughters than I care to remember. More women have stalked and baited, cajoled and hoodwinked their way into what they presumed to be my good graces. I had actually forgotten about most of this- obviously, there are so many important drugs, dosages, interactions, side effects, pathophysiological and pharmacological mechanisms, taxonomical classifications and epidemiological analyses to keep the poor old brain busy for a lifetime. But my brother is visiting and as we have not seen each other in such a long time, while catching up we lapsed into talking about old memories from our childhood. He it was who started reminding me of some of the things I had clean forgot.
What is perhaps even more intriguing about this whole affair is that on the few occasions where I have been interested in a girl and worked up the courage to attempt a pursuit, success has only greeted me rarely.
I met her two years ago. I had known her far longer- since I was a child and she was an infant. Perhaps I should say that I had known about her. I do not remember any syllable of conversation between us prior to this meeting, well into our adulthood. Again, I was running. Away from what, I do not know. But luckily for the both of us, she wasn’t about to take no for an answer and so at her insistence we exchanged contacts and started talking. It turns out there really was a lot to talk about, because to this day, she is someone with whom conversation does not appear forced or rote or routine- despite the fact that we have been talking almost non-stop for the 2 years that we have known each other. We quickly warmed up to each other and built a friendship that at least until yesterday, I thought was impervious to the chaffing and grating of time, distance and other people.
This morning, I received an email… Now there is no way to know what could have been.
Death casts her long shadow on everything. On everyone. Adios to a beautiful soul!