Bittersweet

My week was a mix of emotion. I was so excited to see my old roommate. almost irrationally so, since I don’t often get really excited. I cleaned the house and had myself in a state of near hysteria by the time Tuesday rolled around. Of course it had to snow. She was delayed, but eventually made it. We spent a few days catching up, relaxing and just visiting. I remembered all the things I loved about her. We laughed and talked. We settled into a comfortable silence. Just as we had 20 years ago. I don’t often tolerate people being here. I’m weird about company, especially over a period of days.I guess I am so set in my ways and in our schedules. I was perfectly content. I dropped her off at the train and said goodbye. She is off for the far reaches of the globe. I am returning to my life behind the gate with 30 horses.
In the days since she left my mind has been lost in the what ifs, and the what might have beens. Not the best territory to cover. Today was a polo day. My head wasn’t there. It was back 20 years in the past. In the polo and the parties. To the drinking binges and waking up in puke to the graceful brick buildings sitting on the quad donning their ivy. It was a different world. It was everything and then it was nothing. It was a life that crashed and burned when it had barely begun. I was lost in my thoughts. Polo passed by in a haze of missed plays and miss-hit balls. As the last chukkar came to a close I walked my horse off to the far end of the arena alone as the emotions crashed over me. It was a sadness laced with grief and loss. It was all that never was. Polo is one of the last vestiges of that life. It was the only tie left till she came back into my life. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy we have reconnected and even happier she got to see the farm and spend some time here. My reaction to it all is to be expected. Did I ever fully grasp the loss? did I mourn what I left behind? In many ways no because life became about survival, not about keg parties and hockey bars. It was as if someone had ejected me from the life I was living there and I landed somewhere far away. It was immediate and it was terminal. There was no going back. I never had time to consider it. I had to find a way to survive in a new world with a new set of rules, and little if any hope on the horizon. Do you know what it feels like to have the whole world in front of you and all the promise and opportunity it affords only to be nothing but a sick headcase with little hope of a normal life within a 14 day period? I don’t know if the descent could have been more steep or severe if I had tried. or maybe that is the problem. I tried. I tried to walk away from my life. I tried to kill myself. I destroyed any hope of living that amazing life of opportunity. I threw it away. I guess I never knew how much it was worth. I didn’t know what a waste. I had it all. Everything I had ever dreamed of. I had polo. friends. a beautiful woman. Everything. but it meant nothing to me in a head torn by emotion. I didn’t have a chance to hold on. to make it. I didn’t have it. and so I lost it. all of it. What might have been does nothing but tear my heart apart. I guess it is useless to even bother thinking about. To pause and reconsider the life I had. why I had to come undone when there was so much promise and so much to live for. It is just heart wrenching to think of the cruelty of fate and circumstance. Here 20 years later I cannot shake the sorrow when I think of all I left behind. Why did it all work out the way it did? why did I have to get so sick? I just can’t even think about it. I am so fucking sad and shaken by my short voyage back in time. I can picture myself clear as day sitting on a sleek black motorcycle laughing at someone’s bad joke outside the polo arena. I can smell the first hint of spring in the bitter Ithaca air. I can taste the Rolling Rock on tap in the basement lounging after practice. I can feel the rush of thinking I might just get good enough to play varsity. I see a confident cocky complex young woman. I see the lines of my lover laying beside me. I cannot see the suffering. I just don’t understand how it all went so wrong when so much was going right. But there is the rub. What defines the right or wrong? Is my life here somehow less because I never played varsity polo for Cornell and don’t have a degree hanging on my wall? Is that it? or is it all the people who I left in my wake? I don’t know what is worse. What am I mourning? what am I missing? I am not sure I can answer that. All I know is I am hurting and not even sure why.

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