N writes about the time when he realizes that he loves travel more.
“The wedding had been a roaring success, and the after-party filled the pub with a heady cocktail of merriment and alcohol-fueled celebration. I pulled her close and we danced the night away, this girl I’d known for going on two years now. There’d always been a shared attraction, but that had always been stymied by existing relationships. Now I had none, and hers was naught but a rumor never discussed.
She was kind, good-humored, innocent. A beautiful smile, and a voice like an angel – not to mention a passion for all things food. I was smitten.
The night waned on, and my mood settled into a dream-like state of numbed bliss.
“I’m going to go,” she whispered, and we stepped outside.Standing there in the parking lot – making conversation, dropping hints — we were timid in our shared nervousness. Then I took her hand.
Our bodies seemed to meld, and I pressed my lips against hers. I remember that she stiffened, then relaxed as her lips responded to mine.
The next few weeks were a blur. Whatever this was, it had an expiration date which was only weeks away, as I would be leaving the country to carry on with my travels. We had weeks to indulge our passions, and we indulged them all. It was pure, it was frantic, and it was good.
Then, all too soon, she was dropping me off at the bus stop. We wept as we kissed each other goodbye, but then she whispered something which never should have been allowed to happen.
“I love you.”
Oh God, I thought, this wasn’t supposed to happen! I stammered something incoherent as my mind raced, and then my traitorous heart answered.
“I love you too.”
I meant it, damnit, I really meant it. I still don’t know if I should’ve lied. Would it have been easier? Our affair had always been doomed to end. But I couldn’t deny what I felt, and I couldn’t bring myself to hide it. After all, I did love her.
The next few weeks were hard, but we made it work. Then, she flew to visit me. We packed so much into four days, but despite the bliss we felt, I could tell that something had changed. This time, it felt like goodbye. The time was a celebration of our love, and an acknowledgement of its temporary nature. When I dropped her off at the airport, our last embrace had a note of finality.
What we had withered. Over the next few months, schedules and connectivity issues made regular communication all but impossible, and we both agreed to end things.
I learned something from that love affair — a bitter truth. I think I love traveling more than I love the women I give my heart to. Perhaps that’s not the best way to put it, but the fact remains that travel is a vital part of me – one I can’t deny. It isn’t in my nature to linger, and now I know that I need a lover possessed with a similar restlessness.
Perhaps it could’ve worked between us. I would’ve followed her anywhere, but she only wanted me to stay.”
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