This afternoon I went to the airport to return a rental car. On my way to catch a cab back to work I somehow found myself at the international terminal departure gate. And then I remembered.
Four years ago exactly today. That was the day I stood in front of you at this very gate. We said goodbye, I turned around and walked away without looking back. I never saw you again. You went back to Bologna, back to your prestigious work at the world’s oldest university, and irrevocably out of my life. Over the years I received your messages, but they went into a void where they disintegrated as meteors entering the atmosphere, not because I held any grudges, but because you had ceased to exist as I had imagined you, as I had built you in my mind, created you, invented you. And speaking with the dead is a thankless task best left to psychics and quacks.
Melancholy can be sweet and so I let myself linger there for a little longer, eating bad airport food as I thought of all the women I had wronged, my disastrous decisions, my obliviousness, vowing feebly to myself that, if not to ever crash and burn spectacularly again, at least I would find newer, different mistakes to make. To make friends with the lies, especially that most insidious of lies which is the lie that needs not be told. Fail better, as Beckett kept admonishing. But can you really trust an Irishman who wrote in French?
I know for a fact that the same repeated mistake can result in completely different outcomes. It’s the outcome that matters. And with this final thought I realized the futility of examining my motives, my actions. There was nothing to be learned here, only cheap self-gratification, about the same measure of enlightenment one can get from drinking a sugary carbonated beverage. And so I got up and walked out of the terminal, back to my very non-illustrious job, into the foggy California sunshine.