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88# Only time heals

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

- STOP !!!

- Oh sorry, didn’t mean to hurt you

- Noooo. Look! Behind you


The ferry left at 12:30. I spend my last minutes with Alicja in silence. We exchanged a goodbye hug and she disappeared among the crowd. Beneath my proud smile, I was shattered. Alicja was my glimmer of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. A light I protected and cherished for a year and a half. Alicja was the one. And just like that, she was gone.

I had but one heartbreak, and it lasted 4 months. Back then I had wrapped myself in a blanket of sadness and stayed alone in a dark room, bitter, chewing on “if only…” thoughts. This time, I couldn’t afford to sit in idleness and hope the pain would disappear. I had to lick my wounds quickly and keep moving forward.

When in pain, we have this need to spill our bile over people we never met. Being vulnerable with strangers is always easier. I walked in the hostel lobby and saw a naked crimson leg hanging out of the hammock. I needed to talk. Her silence screamed please don't. To shut me up she rolled a joint. It helped.

I was actively seeking a way to forget Alicja. The first step was to avoid isolation, so I got to know the cheerful crowd of the hostel. Most were long terms travellers. All were looking for the Holy Grail, for something they hoped to find in their trip, for a cure to their pain. Among them was a charming French gypsy. She had a soothing aura, as if her large almond eyes had absorbed all the negative energy in the room. Her name was Penelope.

In my quest for closure, I stumbled across an interesting exercise from Mark Manson. The idea was to write 3 letters to cleanse my mind. One from me to her, one from her to me, and one from an outsider to the two of us. The result was incredible, a mind-blowing epiphany. Writing from three different perspectives forced compassion. I understood Alicja's struggle and empathized with her pain. It helped.

The beach of Holbox is infinite. I wandered on the white sand for hours, fishing for a conniving look or a familiar face, anything to disrupt my blues. The smell of weed lured me toward a group of locals jamming. I bought beers and shared their space, their music and their weed. A few songs later I blew my blues through the harmonica. A dark slow blues groping for an meaning. They liked my playing. It helped.

Everyone at the hostel was pre warming the evening, making plans for the night. There was alcohol, drugs, music and Penelope. We talked about the place of pain in art, and art in pain. I sensed her frustration, a feeling of injustice boiling through her words. Penelope was in pain, also in Holbox, also looking for the Holy Grail. My blues mellowed her mood. With sour cynicism, we mocked everything we despised.

Euphoric on alcohol, we followed the group to a live concert. I found out Penelope was a dancer. We danced a beautiful salsa, completely absorbed by the rhythm of the bongo. She understood my lead intuitively, as if we had danced together forever. The salsa flowed and the moves grew in extravagance. We forced a circle in the crowd, and danced until our sweat mixed. The sea breeze was calling.

On the white sand, we gave in to the cocktail of whirling emotions. The bonding cynicism, the dancing, the chemistry, her beautiful eyes. All crystallized into a crying expression of sadness. We forgot our pain for a bit. In the middle of it, she urged me to stop and look behind me. I froze.

A huge moon, redder than the sun, was rising from the sea. The contrast with the dark blue sky was too imposing to ignore. Not even photoshop could have given it justice. We watched the red moon rise slowly above the horizon, and one by one, it swallowed the stars.

The next morning was fuzzy, like waking up from a turbulent dream. The following days were similar, each with its creative highlight, each with its pain. The harmonica moaned, the letters bled but the pain shrunk, bit by bit, day after day.

Only time truly heals, but art helps.


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