Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Choosing Cherry Blossoms

The party was lovely. After the party and the wine the Artist and I went back to my place and retired; we were both tired and silly after so much wine and amazing food. I’ll tell you about the restaurant we went to some other time. The plan was for a nice quiet lie in. The Irish was still out at the birthday and I didn’t expect him before sunrise. Sadly, our newly formed flatmate status was not sitting well with the One, who went out of her way to stay up and ambush said Irish when he finally came in.

The crazy got out of hand whenat five in the morning—she came knocking on my door to wake me up. I could feel the Artist tense up next to me.

“Can you call him? He’s not answering his phone.”

Yeah, I figured I knew exactly why that was happening and I wanted nothing to do with it. While I had been dancing for a week around being in the middle, it quickly dawned on me that right now, at five a.m. I was being asked to pick a side, and since I was still trying to remain as neutral as Switzerland, I knew exactly where I was I going to end up.

“Go to bed, he’ll be home when he gets home.”

“Call him.”

“I’m not calling him.”

This went on for five minutes and ended with me sending a text message that got no response. I went back to bed and passed out, with the Artist grumbling next to me. We next woke when the Irish did manage to come home and both of us listened to the argument that ensued at the other end of the apartment. When it was over my bed was suddenly full of a drunk Irishman.

“Go to bed.” I said. It seemed to be the catchphrase of the morning. At 6:30 we all went back to bed. Or so I thought. At 7:30 I heard the flatmate crushing recycling next to my door. In the space of two hours I had gone from being in the middle to be firmly on the wrong side of the argument, as far as she was concerned. There was no stopping it. There would be no way to walk back from it. It simply was what it was going to be.

It is never easy to watch two people you care about grow apart, but in reality that had been happening for a much longer time than anyone wanted to admit. It was harder still to have to end up in the middle or on any side, but five in the morning was the worst time to have to make a real decision on it. Even so, I’d chosen wrong by one of them, and it was a choice I’d have to live with.

Eventually the crushing stopped and I got up to make the Artist coffee and breakfast. The Irish, surprisingly hangover free, came out to join us, and eventually the other flatmate joined as well. She sat in silence at us as we talked and eventually announced she was going out to study and left. Everything felt a little bit better at that point. After some talking, a bit more coffee, and some much-needed cuddling on all our parts, we decided to walk downtown and get some lunch someplace.

It was a rather cool-ish mid-morning so the decision was made to walk the mile downtown and enjoy the spring. It was that time of year where the cherry blossoms were out in spades. As we walked across the river we saw light petals dropping down from the tress and littering the ground with their pink cherry snow.

We kept walking downtown and ran into a marathon that was apparently taking place. I had no idea why people were running, but as we stood at the edge of the bell park we saw the last runner, decked out in all his gear, running at a modest pace. He was an older gentleman, definitely someone’s grandfather (or at least that age), and here, around the park, a small number of people were still lined up to cheer him on as he came across the finish line. The gang of us stood there, watching him pull in that race, obviously quite a while after everyone else had finished, and we smiled and laughed and shouted and encouraged him, too. Everyone who is willing to commit to such a feat should have a chance to hear a cheer, even if it is from three unknown foreign strangers who are late to the game. Sometimes you have to celebrate the success of strangers.

The end of the marathon had put us all in a magical mood, and the pink forest of the park only increased that feeling of sublime everything. At first it started with us taking pictures of trees, and then it quickly turned into us climbing into the trees to take pictures. There was a sense of passion for nature, for spring, for rebirth, for beginning. The marathon runner with his commitment to himself to finish that race at all cost, us with our engagement in each other and our reality shifting and changing, making decisions and keeping with them, for better or worse. Being in love with the season, and knowing that the season would pass by quickly and we would have to run just as hard to keep up and finish this race as any before it.

It took us forever to walk through the park, and into downtown to find lunch, and the whole time our smiling, and our laughter, and our freedom just took hold and grew.

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