You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not what you’d call a normal woman. Black swaying robes and lifelong spiritual vows are, to me, quite more alluring than millions of dollars or mountains of bicep. I am pulled to those who give away their lives. I am drawn to those who, gently, put their ego on the shelf. I am drawn to the courage of those who simply be. I am drawn to those who know: it’s not always so. It’s maybe.
In the summer of my thirty-second year, the year that began with a conversation with God, I went to Ireland, the holy land of Ireland, to the place where my Zen man lives. I went to Dublin, land of my ancestors on my mother’s side.
I lived with him for three and a half weeks. I became intimately near. We made juice together, ate chocolate, did laundry. I lived in his home, for three and a half weeks.
When I came back to America, we kept in touch, and then for a while we didn’t. I focused on other lovers. The priest had other lovers too. We both travelled. We drifted.
But now I’ve got the Zen bug again. I’m waking up earlier and earlier. I’m doing more sitting these days than my ego (and neck and back!) wants. I’m scheduling more nothings than somethings. Less doing; more being. And the Zen man and I…we’ve reconnected. In him, I’m finding a friend again: finding a calm center, in the warm gaze of my computer screen.
And these past few weeks, I’ve been reminiscing. What is it about him? What did I learn in Ireland last year? What keeps me? I look in my journal. Maybe the answers are there. I look at the words I wrote, two summers ago, as I flew back to America…
I’m in a plane, traveling back to a place I can no longer quite call home. I seem to, suddenly, have nothing: no home, no possessions, no special nook or place, no special tree, no lovers, no husbands, no wives or anything familiar or mine. There are no clocks, now, to keep task. I’m in the clouds. I’m free. I’m fullness itself. I’m being and non-being: this tiny airplane seat. To my left, a young Irish man holding a baby. To my right, an old American woman holding her head in her hands, drunk on bitterness, boredom, and wine.
What has the Zen man given me? What might the priest know that I do not? That last morning in Dublin, the morning after the rainbows—our swirling limbs and hearts growing new as trees—I had wanted tears from him. I had wanted him to moan and cry and say “Don’t go, Anya! I cannot live without you!” But there had been none of that. No drama. There had been, rather, a warm coolness in his kisses. Sweet eye contact, but with no longing. No reaching. Instead, there had been holding my hand in the car, on the way to the airport, and there had been the word “maybe,” so many times, in response to my questions.
Every time he had said “maybe,” something vanished. I don’t know what it was, but it certainly feels better now.