Plunging Into The Unknown

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”

~Patrick Overton

There was little left for me to accomplish as my visa counted down its final week. I hitched South to Port Douglas for a few days; camped on the beach, passed the time reading, swimming, and peering into a strata of folks to which I was utterly external.

Wealthy, old, white people everywhere. Frown wearers roaming the sidewalks buzzing along with a slight presumptive arrogance. They drank overpriced coffee in taupe-walled cafe’s. They ate over-sized meals in novelty restaurants. They dunked their spawn in chlorinated pools beside the ocean. They are upper-middle class vacationers.

‘Far from poor, but not quite rich,’ Keeram said sardonically, ‘And now they have to make sure everyone else sees just how far from one, and how close to the other.’

‘It’s not like that at all. These are the people who played by the rules, followed the law, the encouragement of their parents, the insistence of culture. Even now, when they wear luxury brand clothing, and rent opulent street side condos, they’re still just following a script. Pity them. Don’t scorn them.’

‘Yeah, but why do they have to act like such bitter dickheads?’

‘Dude! You slept in the same town as them, watched the same sun rise over the same beach. But you did it for free. And you did it in your twenties. I can understand why they’d harbor resentment for the fringe.’

People like that seem like they’ve traded a precious share of life for a second prize fortune.

And there I was seeing them trying to buy something of commensurate worth. They were duped, of course. There’s no two-for-one deal in the world that compares to a night of youth. There’s no luxury package that can make you feel as vibrant. There’s no spa treatment that can make you feel as lithe. There’s no thrill for sale that can substitute the potential and opportunity the young possess.

Somewhere beneath the impulse to flop them over on the sidewalk, I feel sorry for them. Their lives were swept up by a culture that prioritized economic ends over human satisfaction. Some of them suspect that their prescribed route to success and happiness has delivered them to a farcical paradise. But their egos, and their lives’ inertia, block them from ever admitting it. So instead they drag along a dissatisfaction with the world. One that carves a rut of misanthropy and cynicism.

I observed, hypothesized, and drew a conclusion. Then I hitchhiked to Cairns one more time to meet an old love, and to fly into the unknown.

We met for a walk along the esplanade. I found myself infatuated with her excited gestures, her casual posture, her coy smile, her hot sparks of enthusiasm. An eternity had passed since we’d met, but what made me fall long ago hadn’t disappeared. So I tagged along worshiping the shadow of a past love.

Since then she’d worked hard to build a life. I wanted for her to keep growing, and overcome the obstacles that we all have versions of. And to be happy.

We walked to her place. She gifted me Kevlar wicks, and I gifted her a red Ukulele. I didn’t tell her how much it meant to me seeing her, as I had two years prior, on my final day in Australia. I didn’t tell her how I still felt. I shook her boyfriend’s hand, looked him in the eye, when she introduced us. I couldn’t let her know. I didn’t.

We hugged, smiled, and my heart cracked. But with a joyful WHOOP! I walked away. Her laughter was the last sound I heard as her house shrunk behind me. My pack felt light, and the night was cool, and I walked towards a foreign country. With no plans, and no expectations, I plunged once more into the unknown.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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