TO STAY

WORDS: MARIANA ROJAS

The Perseids meteor shower peaked overnight. The sky a swelling carpet of fire, each star battling, making a target out of black holes and here we were, Lia and I, siting like a sage brush in the middle of a desert surrounded by salt.

 

What a bazaar place, we contemplated. The day started with a hike to Lake blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The conversation on trail moved from perceptions of beauty to feeling whole and finding soul-connections. I noticed we would leave one another in bewilderment, in this odd state of being that measured each step before this one. We mentioned in passing that the moment we met, as wilderness field guides, we felt an energy and then we were left to search for one another. We did. In our own ways. And we arrived. I told Lia, “I want to take this conversation deeper, I need to share something.” And of course, she asked me to spend the night out and all of me and my tremble said, “let’s go somewhere dark!” We did. Stansbury Island, an odd curve of desert land, floating amidst salt and rock welcomed us. As we drove into this remote sultriness of a land, we only saw a combusting stretch of orange and red and yellow, as though we fell right into a bonfire. We set up camp, pulled out some beers, and it was silent for a while, but not much was needed to be said.

 

I have met someone who interprets my silence, my quietude, and my inarticulate sound as a language. Lia and I spent the night finishing each other’s sentences, looming over each other’s tone as though only person was there, under those stars. As the conversation began to take a more serious tone (and we were both waiting for it) we bathed in love stories of the season—the lovers that walked away fearing our depth, the lovers that sauntered into confusion with our language, the lovers that kissed each layer of our being and still decided to walk away. People walk away from us all the time. The walking away part is messy, unexpected sometimes. People like Lia and I are notorious for finding solitude vital. We are used to people walking away as though we are a sinking ship in the middle of some ocean left behind by the wind that took all our sails. But the question still exists, among all the contemplation and reasoning for the walkers—“why can’t people stay?”

 

Dear Lia, I do not have an answer and I wish I did under this bazaar sky doing what it does, when it needs to, because it is what it is. It is hard to accept the walking away after the most stubborn and wistful kiss another body can offer—a kiss that sacrifices the flesh to see the earthquake veiling in the skin. After another body has nurtured your opening. Know that they asked for our opening because they can. It is hard to accept that walking away is not about you and me, Lia. People are afraid of depth, fearful of enigmatic connection. We must not fault their walking away. I like to believe that balances exist. And that with the strength that something or someone walked away is also the same strength that lives within them to stay. But look at us, still in all our beauty and joy, sitting under a sky for us right now. Know, Lia that those we [love]d are showering under the Perseids magic. Whether they are thinking about us or not, it is not important. We must focus our ceremonious love towards the fact we do love. Some cannot face that they too love. Some are not there with us, but they are somewhere they need to be. What is special about our love, Lia is that it is never ending. Those who we have loved can and may return, the same way those who we will love will arrive. This is because our love is never-ending. We are a forever kind of love. And some people are not looking for forever. But we live a different forever, Lia. We know things and people have a boundary, a cliff somewhere that only takes a jump to finish. But this kind of forever does not escape our flow, our influx of love. This is how we live and comprehend the present, Lia. And it is okay. The present, too, also deserves our attention. Which is where staying may come from. To want someone or something to stay is see our divergence converge. This is scary, but worth it. It is how the land and sea meet (the shoreline moving everyday is the convergence of two domains). It is how the moon never touches the sea, but the tides still move and disturb nothing it does not mean to. It is when two different people meet and feel the flare, they see a light in each other moving so fast that one is bound to fall and mistake it for leaving. It is not a leaving, it is the other telling them, the fall is okay and I am still here.

 

This is what a soul-connection begs for—the freeing from our own constraints. The walking away means you are not done with something else. This walking away returns somewhere. We are walkers, Lia who do not leave a body behind and some connections are still learning how to hold people close, how to indulge in the messages, how to reach out for that hug when their body craves it. We are scary, Lia. And that is okay. We do not change for anyone—we change with—we change towards—we change because—and the ones who claim we do not have something they want will find out later that we have it all right here. Right in this flirtatious present, playing under the meteor shower of the year, we still imagine staying. The staying is not asking anyone to stay. It is not expecting someone to [whole]ly understand you. The staying is confronting that walking away as though everything in this moment surrenders to you. The staying is the clearing of the person we thought we would be forever—is sending that person to continue walking elsewhere while they, too, stay right here. The staying is a communion of distinct paths encountering and unveiling the affair they have with risk. There is hurting because we believe everyone we meet wants to stay, but this may not be true. And if there is something I’ve learned from being that one person who walked away once and again and again, is that I must live now with remembering each stayer in my life as someone with strength. I still find myself building strength out bone and love. We love, Lia. And we want to love. And we do it with every transition, with every fear, with every cup of tea. So let us stay here, passing this ukulele back and forth as we play for this shower.

 

My house is dark right now. The curtains are tucking away light from the plants. My house is full of shadows and my room is a dungeon of fears, storing nights of tender and tangibility. The dark side does this. It brings to light what was hiding. There is light there still. Just different light. A haunting light that disguises in shadows and moonlight. I’ve pulled a tarot card for you. You were sent The Star. Of course you did. I expect nothing else. You will continue to be the searcher you are because that is how you stay and walk away. The Star is a returner of self and contemplation. We are grounded in nature and need to be barefoot to speak. This card tells me that we now understand the convergence of staying and walking away as the medium of knowledge. Later, we will notice people do not walk away alone. We both do. It takes to stay and walk away for this to work. We will see ourselves in a distance, away from that lover and notice that you, too, kept walking and they stayed somewhere else.