Some three weeks later here I sit at the end of my journey, my “quadrangle of awesomeness” at a close. As I wrote previously, this particular story is better measured in anything other than weeks or miles. I do not propose that the story I am telling is in fact what happened, only that in truth it did happen. I do not pretend there is no melancholy left in me even though this story’s chapter comes to a seeming close. And I do not promise you, the reader, that this is a story with a quote unquote happy ending. But make no mistake, it is my story.
It began many years ago when I drowned in Seattle rainwater poured over the clink of cocktail glasses and dimmed lights. I sat across from her obliquely, she a patchwork of shadows indecipherable making, at first, the sound of noisy static. The hurly-burly snapped cleanly in half and with it the static cleared, as if she in her own unintentional way had hurkily jerked a radio onto the only station in that vast dead sea we call cocktail conversation; it was then that I knew I was just along for the ride. I heard her, she growing rapidly louder until only a deafening quiet remained. I sat in the eye of a storm and knew I had but two choices: remain here and remain deaf, or else go back into the storm to her Siren call. I was drowned and wantonly so I drank the waters that poured over my head. Only later did I see past her as indecipherable shadows to be as goddess Cybele in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, dousing me in rainstorms to drown and return me to the sea; I “though born in hard and rugged mountains … now live in calm and gentle waters.” And if not as Cybele, she herself a Whitman prodigy, notes she is to be found down under our bootsoles. And if that is so then she as sea yields to became fertile soil, vibrant and lush. She eventually left the rain-soaked Seattle soil for the more fertile sands of Lebanon and now Dubai. And I in pieces by and by went off to find her. I eventually found her and heard her words. I let go of what was what. I let be what needed to be. Years then passed folded between the stilled falling leaves that came and then went. I saw my own marriage and subsequent divorce went, too, as it were. Sans me as the world’s longest long-shot, I thought there were no more second chances left to be gambled on me. But somewhere out of nowhere she appeared again. First as a simple, pixelated missive on my phone on the morning after the world stopped turning. And then she arrived, albeit briefly, in Seattle to visit all the places she left behind so many years ago. I sat with her one evening in my cafe. I sat in the shadow of her shadow and knew I was drowning all over again. Cybele she was not only. She, too, is my Muse. I sucked in the scent of her breath deep and deeply into the desiccated remains of Memory: I exploded. Only then did I begin rolling down the map toward Dubai, at first believing I was coming for her. But I was not. I was coming for myself. I came to find my Heart that sits along a boulevard cafe waiting to catch a glimpse of her in the Dubai sun, it more often that not spending its days watching the sun set over those waters where her own heart rests. I came to find my Heart and bring it home with me. I came to Dubai to give myself the gift of a second chance. And I have done that. As for the rest, as they say, is history.