I have Shakespeare and Chaucer to thank for the quotes that ran through my mind as I drove out of Ottawa on Sunday night. “Parting is such sweet sorrow” seemed especially cruel and the oxymoron the statement is. As the miles passed beneath my wheels I added “All good things must come to an end.” Neither of these helped and a whole box of Kleenex wasn’t enough to make it to Sudbury as I took the northern route west. Another 48 hours with Dragosani was a small drop of happiness in the ocean of my pain.
As I drove I remembered how frantic we were to capture as much of each other as we could so we could keep it with us forever. We had turned the clocks to the wall in an attempt to deny the inevitable, but it found us anyway. On Sunday evening, as I once again drove him back to his parent’s we had tried for some humor to sweep away the clouds of agony that had settled on us. I laughed when he told me his mother and father were five and six years older than me. We tried to imagine what they might think but Dragosani had said it perfectly. He just didn’t care. On my part, I didn’t know them, and it wasn’t them I was interested in anyway.
Our parting was nothing less than heartbreaking. Never in my entire life had anyone treated me so kindly or with such adoration and sweet love. We vowed to stay in touch by e-mail and the phone, but the years left until his graduation stretched like a gaping black hole in my mind. Even then, his degree would probably take him to a city where the future of computer technology was the core of all existence. I knew it wasn’t in the small prairie town where I lived and loved my big blue barn. We clung to each other in our final moments together, and when he finally drew away and I felt his fingertips touch mine one last time, I let out a small gasp as the coldness crept back in.
When I reached Sudbury I toured around the entire city visiting all my old haunts. I had even stopped at Lake Nipissing to see the changes that had been made to the tourist resort we had owned there. Braving the gray day I took a swim as well, knowing it was the last time I would ever do that again in this lake. I sat for a long time against a tree and thought about the past and all my dreams I had here leaning up against this same tree. None of them had come true so far and I wondered if they ever would. The changes to the resort tore at my heart and I wondered who had coined the cliché ‘you can never go home again’. With my camera in hand I wandered the grounds and took some pictures to show to the rest of the family. I didn’t know if it was a good idea, but I felt it was something we needed to see.
Staying any longer would just compound my sadness and I headed off to visit a friend I had made at 6 years of age. We had met in front of my house as she passed on her way to school. We were in the same grade and in the same class and we have remained friends.
That visit cheered me up and I headed west from there, crossing at ‘The Soo’ and carrying on again across the northern states. I called Ayns on my way by to let him know I had met Dragosani. He was happy for us, but could tell I was upset at leaving D behind. It was too early to know if a long-distance relationship would work and we both knew it.
When I was still two days from home, I called Alcide. His soft, warm voice flowed into my ear and melted me into a puddle of tears. My friend had missed me.