12 years later he returns.
A boy loves a girl, they travel together on fantastic adventures with the man who was 12 years late. And on one adventure she becomes stuck in a kind of stasis. The boy she loves has become something not quite human. In fact the only thing human of him that might be left is his heart. He sits guarding the machine in which she is in stasis. And he waits.
2000 years he waits.
Throughout humanity's illustrious (and sometimes not so illustrious) history of literary accomplishment, tales have been told of those who wait; Women who wait for their sailors to return, Princesses who wait for the day that their Prince will come, Children who wait for their dead parents to come home. And there are the stories of entire populations waiting for the return of the Gods, a nation that waited for the return of their King, waiting for their salvation.
Commemorated in story through the seeming immortality of print, we commemorate those who wait in architecture. The Victorians devised rooftop platforms, Widow's Walks, for the women who remain on shore awaiting their seafaring husbands & lovers.
We have a romanticized notion of what it means to wait, complete with requisite attire, posture and the obligatory wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. Waiting is tortured, sometimes frenzied with a kind of distorted agitation, but mostly a solitary and somber affair. Waiting is praised as an outward expression of Love's truest of devotions. To wait, in solitary despair with a distant public appearance, is somehow the very picture of devotion and fidelity. To do anything less than wait in black garbed angst is an affront to Love and Memory.
I suppose it is a part of the mystique surrounding the Egyptian Funerary rites and their persnickety habit of forcing the living to die alongside the Pharaoh so that he will lack nothing in his resurrection. The King is Dead so let's kill the Queen or the Queen Consort, the cats and the handmaiden's so he is not alone. The cats have nine lives so, yeah, like it matters to them. But how is it fair for everyone else to surrender their lives because he lost his?
Devotion! Fealty! Love!
It is not how waiting is displayed that matters. It is how the heart feels in its waiting. Confusing the outward appearance for the inward condition is the surest way to misinterpret another. And in the interpretation, damage the one who waits for you. Actions, it is said, speak louder than words. But, more often than not, what is shown to the outside world is a confident facade shrouding the inner turmoil of a wounded and less confident heart. We are humans beings who generally have very little understanding of ourselves and therefore, are woefully inadequate in our interpretations of another's actions.
I don't know where we got the idea that one life lost means that other lives have be to sacrificed in subsequent fashion, If indeed this whole nostalgic rubbish begins with the pharaonic ideal then the Great and Mighty Civilization Builders rather missed the point of their entire mythos. The entire religion would have died in gestation if Isis had "Waited" when Osiris died.
As the story goes, Isis and Osiris lived a good life in service to Ra in a fashion similar to Adam and Eve. When Set becomes jealous he kills Osiris. He doesn't just cave his skull in and leave him to be found and mourned by all of creation. Set hid Osiris in a chest of Lebanese Cedar and set it afloat in the Nile to become bound by the rushes on its banks. Eventually, a King needed Cedars for a great construction project. And the body of Osiris became part of a wondrous temple. And what did Isis do while her husband was missing?
Did she pine for him? Did she seclude herself in her room to bathe in her own tears and sleep in the ashes of her despair? No. She went out and looked for him. She ruled in his place and kept searching for him. She did find him, after a 12 year search and she restored him through her magic. If she had done what the women in gothic novels did there would have been no great mythology of Egypt.
Waiting is death of another kind. The spirit dies when we wait. The spirit becomes dark and contentious when it dwells on what is lost, what had passed and what may not ever be again. It brings a panicked worry. Somehow, I think that the active, pacing worry and waiting, always looking at the horizon and counting sunsets taints the return when the return is favorable. And it kills the spirit when the return is not so favorable. Expecting people to stop living while they wait is inherently selfish. Someone has to mind the store.
The little girl who waited kept living. She developed her own life, hopes and dreams. She developed relationships and continued to mature instead of becoming mired in her sadness, growing physically while stagnating emotionally. She didn't know what happened. She didn't know if he would ever come back. She kept living.
There is another character who kept living in spite of her great sorrow, Jane Eyre. She went away when she knew that the life she had been promised was never going to be hers. She was promised a life based on her own desires, hampered by lies. And those lies came with a great cost. But she went away, she lived a life and she prepared herself for an alternate course. She lived.
I take after Jane. And a little the girl who waited. The girl who waited became a little bitter by the situation. But they kept living. It is a waste of a life to die in body and spirit because one does not get the life that was promised. Living doesn't mean that you have forsaken those who were lost. It doesn't mean that you forget them. Each moment of a lived life is infused with the essence of those who came before. Living and waiting are fused. The outward expression, the public face, doesn't always reflect the inner turmoil and sadness, the endless wondering and the counting of days. I am currently in a holding pattern of waiting and living.
As I write and I think about what it is to wait, I am experiencing the agitation caused by not knowing how my relationship fairs. A busy schedule, the request for zero interruptions while working on school has somehow devolved into a chaotic situation in which I wonder if I even have a boyfriend. He asked for patience and space. And it was given. We are texting people with little patience for the phone. I've been sick for the last 5 weeks. And the weather in the depth of February was horrible for driving so we have not met since Shayne passed. And I have been in the middle of grief for his loss and that of Saba Nimoy. Suddenly everything has changed. There is no communication and the passive aggression on social media is an overwhelming klaxon of doom.
While I waited, I worked my job and paid my bills. I cooked. I wrote. I blogged what all I have been doing. I have been watching Netflix. I have been hanging out with my housemate. I have been on social media making sure that he knows that I am OK. I am actively waiting for the time when we can hang out and I am trying to stay out of his way. I have been talking myself off of ledges that tell me the relationship is doomed. I have been curbing all the old patterns of self destruction that killed troubled relationships in the past. I have resisted the urge to nag, to accuse. I have returned to the things that I enjoy doing that were not getting done while we were always together.
And now suddenly....
Texts don't get answered. Direct questions are ignored. He changed his living situation. He has no answers. And he is posting things that make me question our status.
When I agreed to wait, I was also agreeing to put off having a discussion about the future of our relationship. Somethings had happened that needed to be addressed. They are heavy things that matter more to an Aquarius than to anyone else, matter more to me given my past history than might matter to others, but I am an empath and I refuse to do harm. So I put off my need to have things said because he had to focus on school. It was only going to be for a school term. We kept in contact so that we were not losing each other.
But he is gone.
And now I am left with a nagging question: Is it better to wait as the Centurion or as Jane Eyre? The Centurion is the picture of devotion that we have in our minds as the truest expression of love. Jane is the picture of cool detachment that we all assume leads to spinsterhood. In both cases though, the one who waits is united with the heart's desire. Jane does get Rochester in the end. And he is better off with her continuing to live and becoming a stronger woman as his grandiose situation decayed into a gruesome shadow of itself. The outward expression of waiting is different in both of these cases. Inwardly, the Centurion never wavered in his heart. It always belonged to the girl who waited. Inwardly, Jane never wavered. He heart always belonged to Rochester.
It is not how waiting is displayed that matters. It is how the heart feels in its waiting. Confusing the outward appearance for the inward condition is the surest way to misinterpret another. And in the interpretation, damage the one who waits for you. Actions, it is said, speak louder than words. But, more often than not, what is shown to the outside world is a confident facade shrouding the inner turmoil of a wounded and less confident heart. We are human beings who generally have very little understanding of ourselves and therefore are woefully inadequate in our interpretations of another's actions. We tend to interpret actions through the filter of our own faults and experiences which tends to lead to a skewed understanding of others. In that condition, waiting is construed as indifference. The respect of a boundary looks like uncaring.
In short, waiting sucks. Waiting is only a useful strategy in hunting, fishing and and warfare and finance. When you are put into a situation where you have to wait it might be best to say goodbye and move along. Life, after all, is not a fiction to be manipulated by an author prone to wishful thinking.