So, having told that story, I can move forward to the latest to tell the real story. My friends and a few others close to me know that my life has been rather...turbulent lately. (When the nickname you receive from a group of strangers is Rouge Wave, perhaps turbulent is an understatement.) Anyway, the two journeys have been, in the grand (or foolish) romantic tradition, over a woman.
Originally, she was supposed to be leaving for Philadelphia, which was one of the main reasons that I signed on to do The Elephant Man, enabling me to visit. Well, that didn't happen, and in my infinite wisdom, (sarcastically so) I fell for her hard. She loves someone else though, and she wants to be friends. That was and to some extent is still really hard for me, and I wasn't sure if it was going to be even possible for me to handle. So, more or less on a whim, I headed to New York to do a job, and seek some perspective.
I found what I was looking for in the middle of a park, about 174th street. As I was sitting there, trying to figure things out, a little old woman, about half of my size sat down next to me. Wanting to be friendly, as I truly don't know many people in the city, I said hello, and we began talking.
She asked me why I was there, and I suppose she could sense my hesitation, as she told me in her heavily accented English.
"Don't worry. It's almost anonymous here, I just met you, you just met me, we can talk about anything, and then we both go our separate ways. Tell me what is bothering you, and I can tell you what I would do," she added with a twinkle in her eye. "I have a lot of life experience."
Not having a thing to lose, I told her exactly why, that I was looking to get a sense of perspective from being away from the woman I was in love with. I told her that she loved someone else, and I was being left out in the cold.
She listen to me thoughtfully, and after a long pause said "I see. Were you married to her?"
"No." I replied.
"Did you have children with her?"
"No..." I responded again, slightly puzzled.
"Lived with her?"
"I never had the chance" I rejoined, thoroughly confused.
She then floored me with her response. "Then move on. You are a young man, your wings aren't broken. If you were smaller I would put you over my knee right now. This is nothing, it is a bee sting. You have your whole life ahead of you. Yes, you love her. But move on."
After that, we sat in thoughtful silence, and shared an apple. She then shared her story, which was fascinating in it's own right. Growing up under Communism behind the Iron Curtain, traveling broke through Italy, and having her name changed at Ellis Island, the woman has seen most of the twentieth century. Then she added something which added a lot of perspective for me.
"I'm at the end of my journey now. When elephants go to die, they go to the elephant graveyard where all of the other elephants died, to die among the bones of their ancestors. I have to make that choice now. Do I want to go back to Croatia, and die there, where I grew up or do I want to stay here, and found a new graveyard for my ancestors?"
At this point, my phone, which had been mercifully silent the entire time, suddenly rang, startling us both. I was being summoned to deal with yet another problem on set. She saw the concern on my face as I took the call. I hung up, and before I could say anything, she affectionately dismissed me to go work:
"You are at the beginning of your journey. Be careful, and know that now I will be missing you. Good luck on the next part of the trip, and remember to move on."
With that, I thanked her, and left, with simultaneously a lot on my mind, and without a lot of weight, as I realized that I had somehow miraculously managed to find what I had sought, and that the perspective I was looking for came from the last place that I was looking. I guess when answers are needed, you just need to ask.
Until next time,