Leaving the restaurant, he reached back for my hand. A waiter with an entre plate didn’t see me, so I made my way around another table. Still, while reaching my arm forward, the pocket from my sweater got caught on a chair and held me back; I was stuck. I unhooked my sweater and reached out again, almost braising his fingers. But our hands never met. He lowered his hand as I stretched mine to meet his. He started walking faster –almost as if to erase any self-doubt. I raced to catch up, but he was already down the stairs. There was so much I wanted to say. My heart raced and I felt like my lips were glued together. I wanted to tell him to wait; I wanted to tell him that I did want to hold his hand. I finally managed to say his name as I skipped over stairs and hooked my arm under his. I looked up at him and saw his face light up as he looked at me. It made me smile, until I looked deeper. His face was bright, but it was just a blanket over the doubt that remained hidden underneath that white smile. Something was off: our hands, our hearts, our minds didn’t touch. But, I wanted to hold his hand and he didn’t know the truth. When I had wrapped both of my arms around his arm, it was already too late. It wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to admit it, so I kissed him when we got in the car. Can he feel it? There was so much to be said. His eyes said it all, and I couldn’t help but read him.
There has been many times in my life that I’ve experienced my intuition in a powerful way. A knowing. A truth. A change. An outcome. An insight. A parallel. Recognition. A voice. Intuition means many different things to me: it is my worst nightmare –my fears announced, my honest lover, my most intimate self, my doctor, never my therapist, but always my guide. I am an empath: connected to the energy of others and sometimes have a knowing sense of things that haven’t yet transpired. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this, it is to appreciate the present exactly as is.
I knew what I felt in those moments would foreshadow events to come. Sometimes I’ll be able to pinpoint when the “knowing feeling” interjects. It could be a whisper, but she always grabs my attention, as if I were specifically designed just to tune in:
It was a Spanish style restaurant, with vines that covered the façade. There were small square windows up near the celling that let in natural light. The waiter lit a candle and placed it on our table. It was twilight outside and I started smiling. He sat across from me and asked me why I smiled so big just then. I told him this moment right now was my favorite part of the day. I said the word, “twilight.” A smile crawled across his face too. I knew he was thinking back to our earlier conversation, before all the events of the day unfolded. That afternoon, in his driveway, we were looking up at a tree that he once pointed out to me from his bedroom window. I stood in the driveway reflecting back, telling him how I remembered when the leaves were still green, and then when they started to turn, and how they were almost all brown now. As I was saying this, I noticed his facial expression grow puzzled when I seemingly changed the subject and added: “Twilight is my favorite time of day, at morning and night too. That purple color, I love that color. When the seasons start to turn it’s like experiencing the twilight between seasons. It never lasts long; I think that’s probably what makes it so beautiful. It’s also symbolic: the ending has ended and the new beginning starts.” He smiled warmly when he saw the connection I made, and agreed.
Back at the table, he changed the subject. “Sara, when I was home, remember how I told you I met with a senator? He’s going to help me with my legal career back in Alaska. I find out if I pass the bar on Halloween, and if I do I’m going to go back home to work for him.” I was happy for him, but my heart sank. I couldn’t swallow. “That’s so awesome.” His eyes looked starry, they were piercing and suddenly I felt vulnerable. We both knew he was moving. We both knew I wasn’t leaving California, even though he sometimes talked like I was. Like he was going to whisk me away, but we both knew it wasn’t true. With the future looming, it was hard to be present.
I intensified the subject, but I didn’t mean to. I had a lighthearted intention, but I knew the moment I said what I did, it made it worse. “Maybe this can be our twilight. Maybe this can be our moment between seasons, that time before the change. We can just enjoy the next couple weeks together.” I saw his eyes glaze over and suddenly I knew we were on different pages. He wanted to be there with me, but he couldn’t. It hurt him too much and I saw the pain in his breathing. I saw it all over his face, and in the way he looked at me –like he was looking at something he was already saying goodbye to; right there in that moment I became the past in the present. It broke my heart more and I felt desperate for another moment. But it was dark out; somewhere in that conversation twilight had ended, and I knew it was over: the change, it had already turned. Twilight lasted for only a moment that night, I was part of it, but a witness and suddenly I felt helpless. The check came, and just like that we left.
Earlier that day we went on a bike ride together. It was beautiful, sunny and the air was crisp yet warm. That day I had an accident: I fell off my bike and hurt my wrist. Two days had gone by since: I was sitting in my desk chair blindly staring at an empty glass of water, while mindlessly unbuckling and re-buckling the Velcro on my wrist guard. My wrist was in pain, but hearing that Velcro sound was a distraction from the hurt in my heart –as long as I didn’t look down. Each time I looked down at my wrist, I saw him. I would go back to that moment I fell, the moment he raced over to me griping my wrist like it was the most precious thing on the planet. His blue eyes blended with the sky, I was so shaken. They tour into mine with such concern, but it was a gentle inspection. Now I have Velcro around my wrist and not his hands, and I have to forget about his eyes and what I saw in them.
Thinking back to that afternoon leaves me wondering if intuition can be accessed symbolically. Maybe there is more symbolism in the world than we actually see, because we don’t look for it enough. The day I fell, we waited in the waiting room at the medical center in PB. On the wall behind the reception counter, there was a painted picture hanging. It was of two women that looked like sisters: one was looking forward, the other looking back. He said he thought it was symbolic of time- one looking ahead to the future, the other looking back on the past. I never said it, but I wondered where the third sister was. The one who lives in the present wasn’t there. Maybe it was that picture that framed our evening at dinner. In my opinion, all art has three viewers: the creator, the interpreter, and the one who looks but does not see. What a symbolic painting we came across that day. I didn’t know why I felt uneasy when he said that, but I was also distracted because just then a voice interrupted, “We’re ready to take your x-rays now, Sara.”
Early the next morning after my accident, my Mom offered to bring me medicine, but also brought fancy ice in a compress thing and a string bracelet she saw at the pharmacy that she said reminded her of me. She handed me the ice, but I reached for the bracelet. It was a green thread with a Saint on the tiny medal pendant. The bracelet was hugging a piece of paper and on it, it read, “Breathe.” I gave it a closer look, read the paper over, and realized that the bracelet was meant to be symbolic of remembering to breathe. You look down at your wrist to remember to breathe when “life hands you lemons” sorta-thing. My Mom had my bandaged wrist in mind when she bought the bracelet. I had a feeling my new bracelet would come in handy that day for a few reasons, so I immediately put it on. It was only a few hours later that he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He didn’t want to keep seeing each other despite the fact that it was going to end anyways. He couldn’t be here now, with me, so he had to let me go. He said it was too hard.
On one hand my new bracelet, the other the splint. With one sister looking forward, the other looking back. How do you live in a present when our lives are constantly attracted to the past or lured into the future? How do you live in the present when your intuition hints you forward, but your heart tugs you back?
Telling a girlfriend the story, she interrupted me:
But Sara, I don’t get it. Why would you want to keep seeing him if it would just hurt more in the end? If you knew you weren’t going to end up together why did you want to keep it going? The sooner it ends, the faster you get over it.
True, but avoiding pain isn’t any way to live, in my opinion. I knew he was moving, he knew he was moving, yet we liked each other’s company, so why not enjoy what time you have left? You wouldn’t tell a terminally ill person to stop breathing so their family could get over the inevitable loss faster. We all have numbered days. What better way to be in and appreciate the present than knowing it all will end? Life is a twilight moment, which is what makes it so beautiful. And when I look back, I want to have had a spectrum of experiences. I want to know that my choices were made for memories and that I didn’t always play it safe. I want to leave this place feeling I could lean into pain, fear and discomfort –so that I could fully experience and have gratitude for all the joy and happiness we are capable of feeling too. You can’t experience one without knowing the other. In this experience, he gave me both –and that was the best part! He is no longer in my present, but I can feel more because he is a part of my past.
I recently started questioning what it is that makes a person fearless. I have come to think that it’s not that they don’t have fears –they do, but they become friends with their fears: they sit on the dark edge of the cliff getting to know the enemies they fear. They question their fears, wondering why they exist instead of wondering how they can run. Life gives us an abundance of opportunities to make friends with our fears. Taking those opportunities is the best part.
My intuition has –over and over –taught me the importance of being here now while experiencing and accepting everything as it happens, no matter what it is. Sometimes that knowing feeling leaves us understanding that there are two routes we can take: one response is to go with our heads, the other is to lead with our hearts. For me now, despite the fact that I knew it would end, I also knew I was being guided to know the space of my own heart. My intuition seems to guide me most often now in the direction that allows for my heart to open more, even if my head had threatened me not to fall. My heart and intuition both told me I would be okay, and I am: with a greater vision, more to give and more to feel. What a gift!