So what came out of Pandora’s box once I opened it? A bit of guild for being selfish, for betraying a man rather than betraying myself; for taking a revenge; desire of being loved and wanted, actually seen, known and accepted; being loved... unconditionally.
I fell in love with a pilgrim. Someone who left behind his profession, lifestyle and belongings. Just like me, he was trying to fix something in his life.
One evening watching the sunset from a cliff I saw you, and I know you saw me.
It was before I fell in love, before I really thought of making love with him. We saw each other without the surface and context. We had a conversation during which I felt completely naked in front of someone I knew for a couple of weeks. It struck me how he could know so much about me. Finally, I could let all the walls I constructed around me fall down. The scaffolding of appearances and defenses that made me feel so oppressed and stopped me from growing.
(Today, showing myself is still an every day fight, but I try to remember how deeply unhappy it made me to hide behind the walls.)
The problem was that we fell in love without knowing anything about each other’s live and it made it extremely difficult to put up with the surfaces, as well as insecurities we had left at home. So when we decided on this common project and as consequence ended up in a foreign country where the cultural differences struck and put each of us under different pressures we turned into enemies. Sad and definitely I would expect more from myself. But then I didn’t know something I would learn soon.
When you see someone you have just met, what do you see? A face, a smile. What do you ask him or her? What are you interested in? What do you expect to find behind the surface, do you even bother to look there? Well, if you are reading this blog probably you do. Before you really see someone, you need to dismiss the surface, this spiderweb of information about someone: profession, hobbies, origin, made of their car... and thousands of objects, facts and people that surround this person. And just then you can look into her/his eyes and see.
That was the way I saw my grandma in December. We went to the hospital and there she was, coming to our encounter, a bright smile lightening her face, her blond hair plaited on both sides, the light in her eyes... I saw the young girl she always was in spite of life because life never broke her... Of course her heart was seriously damaged, betrayed, hurt by so many wounds but always warm and generous. She was full of energy. It struck me how was it possible that this woman may die during the surgery planned within days.
I knew her all my life but until that moment I haven't seen her...
The tree of us, my grandma, my mother and me in a hospital room we shared something that winter evening. I didn’t understood it there and then, it came to me later, after coming back to Brighton, after the surgery went well and she was recovering. This was my Christmas present, she made it and it didn’t matter we were far away, she was with me, while I was alone, surrounded by strangeness, far from home, with no job and my heart broken again.
What the three of us shared there, was the unconditional love a mother can offer, and all the things we have done or said in the past, when we hurt each other, now where gone. That is what unconditional means: “whatever happens I’ll be there for you, no matter who you turn out to be when you grow up, I love you" (this also goes for a special woman who is growing up and becoming wiser).
When I understood this simple meaning of love - love that can get you out of hell, and I’d like to think it can also repair a damaged heart- I realised that being loved in that way, made me feel special and made me strong enough to make it out there in the uneven world. I was not scared of the strangeness, not scared of being alone and without any security about my future.
Was I wrong to expect that kind of love from a man, a partner?