Monday, October 6, 2008

angkor wat (part 4)

i left the doctor's office with an unsettling fear that my life would be suddenly defined by the outcome of my visit. by three letters. and it was the last thing i wanted. because while to most it would boil down to those three letters, to me it really be about how it happened. no one ever asks how. so i resolved to bury it. to push it so far away, i would never have to think about it or the night that lead to it. the night i'd vowed to forget almost exactly one year before. i immediately pulled out the brochures and charts and graphs that now defined my insides. and i crumpled them up and tossed them into the first trash can i came across. what i thought should have been empowering, only made me feel emptier on the inside. i put my headphones on, walked the 2 miles home and drank a bottle of wine. i laid, dizzy, on my bed and stared at the ceiling. i thought of the old new orleans apartment, where we used to lay beside each other and watch the ceiling fan's blades spin slowly above us. hand to hand, bodies curled together, looking up. and i couldn't help but think that had we been able to work things out, had i been better, i wouldn't have moved to portland. and if i hadn't moved to portland then that awful night would never have happened. and now... now i wouldn't be this shell of a person, trying so hard to hide from the pain. trying so hard to be numb. now i wouldn't have hiv.

it had been a dream of mine to see angkor wat for years. and now, now i was standing in its shadow. we'd been anticipating this very moment throughout the entire trip. and here we were. we were awestruck and inspired. it was the most magical place i'd ever been. it commanded thoughts of my journey to that very moment. i quietly got lost in its hallways and corridors, in its labrynthine history. i quietly got lost in my own. in all the things i'd been burying for so long. it was a peaceful sadness i still can't appropriately articulate. it was the juxtaposition of the manifestation of a years-long dream and the release of years of plight i'd refused to allow myself to feel. it was so rewarding and so sad, so all at once.

there were quick and cutting rain storms, brief views of sunshine, and so much silence there. there is something to be said for being in a such a humongous, historical, beautiful and yet so isolated place. a place filled with so much grief and pain, but still stands so tall and undeniable. it's my favourite place. hands down. you really find yourself there. whether you want to or not.

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