Leaving. Movement. Vagabonding. Wanderlust. Steinbeck called it an "incurable disease" (I've never actually read Steinbeck, but I found this awesome quote. Yay for Google.) and I can't think of a better description. Some of us are born with it, maybe it's hereditary (I know my dad has it, too). It courses through our veins & we can try to fight it, but eventually, we have to give in. For weeks, months, years, on and off, in varying forms, it gets its way.
But then, for some of us-for me, life happens. I fell in & out of love, I had a child, I had to grow up. Because it wasn't just me anymore. Because I need to do the right thing for my son, because he's more important than me. Because children need stability & good influences & moms with careers & money & degrees, who do important things, because they love what they do. And I do love what I do, & I want to finish school, for both of us. We have a life here, & we're doing alright-well on our way to good, even.
But the road still calls. I ignore it, I remind myself of all the reasons I have to stay, that I don't have to stay forever, but for a few more years. I'm really, truly better off here for at least a few more years. A few more years seems like a life sentence right now, but I suppress the urge to leave. I stay for now, for Ben. Maybe for myself. And most of the time, it's not the desperate craving it once was, but merely a dull ache, present, but easily ignored, unlikely to interfere.
Until someone enters my life just long enough to awaken the desperate craving, to remind me of that one last piece of myself that I'd lost for so long, that I can't actually have back yet. He is directly in the middle of a fit of wanderlust, he exudes movement. He leaves the way I did so many years ago. And maybe that's part of the attraction, but I have no intention of having any real feelings for this person who has no intention of staying, who couldn't stay if he tried.
Something about him catches me off guard, though. I trip, & when I stand, I'm experiencing actual emotions. This wasn't supposed to happen. I try to live in the moment, to just enjoy what it is, knowing full well that it could never be more. I know he's going to leave. And he does, without warning. A good memory. A good time. A redemption of myself. A reminder. And I'm grateful for all these things, & I'm glad that he will always be all these things, that he'll never have the chance to be another dumb boy who treats me like shit.
But something opened up for him. It wasn't supposed to, but it did. He was gone within moments, but the opening remained. Just a small space of empty, of wish-you-were-here, and a renewed desire to move once again. And so I remain, a little more empty, but also a little more full, to watch him leave, unable to follow, waiting to hear from him again, and wondering why I care. I wasn't supposed to care.