I haven't thought of a single word that can begin to contain everything I mean. There are no words for the unexpected spiral into grief I should have seen coming from ten months out but still managed to hit me like a freight train when church bells woke me that morning. There are no words to convey the soaring relief bestowed on me like a blessing at the foot of the mountain a week later, relief I had prepared myself to never find, but was stubborn enough to go searching for anyway. Instead, every word has no meaning, has two meanings.
And, too, I couldn't help but think of Maura. Like her, I headed north without telling my family. Very few people knew of my plans. Coincidentally, my destination that first night was a friend's house in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Like Maura, my trip was spur of the moment, poorly planned, and more than likely ill-advised. Like Maura, I'd received a series of emotional shocks in the days leading up to my journey that had actually spurred it into action. (Also like Maura, these emotional shocks caused me to drive stupidly and get into a relatively minor accident at one point that weekend.) Some of this is conjecture; we don't know why Maura left or where she was ultimately headed. So early Friday morning as I drove north on I-93 into New Hampshire, rattled and upset to the point of tears, I couldn't help but think, this is the part where it all goes wrong. This is the part where they never see you again. This is the part where you can't come home.
My story ended differently. I will never know why. I will never be able to understand the reasons behind why I was met at the end of my drive with more love and mercy and forgiveness than I knew what to do with. More, certainly, than I deserved. More than I have words to describe, and more than it would be prudent to speak of. It could have been so much worse. Actually, I was expecting it to be much worse, and I don't understand why Maura's path ends where it does--with a blank on the map--and mine continues forward with the people who loved me, who love me still, despite everything that could have gone wrong and every mistake we'd already made. I only know that, even though I didn't deserve it any more than she did, doors and arms were opened to me, and I was allowed to see my home again.
|Where your darkness hits the light, in the space where you stand against the tide