Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No man is an island?



I was snooping around, as one does, in the profile of a new internet contact. I discovered that he is a successful artist and graphic designer. No jealousy there. 'Yay him!' I thought to myself and 'How interesting. Must find out more.' Which was when I discovered that he lives in Palma, Spain. Which I had never heard of, so I went, as one does when casually stalking someone, to google maps. And that is when jealousy bit me hard. You see, Palma is on the island of Mallorca, and Mallorca is smack in the middle of the Mediterranean. I always imagined that when I grew up I'd live overseas - somewhere sunny and warm and with access to an ocean. Not much to ask since I'd spent most of my childhood in precisely that kind of situation.

And then fate, with her wry sense of the absurd, intervened. I met and fell in love with a man who, despite being part French and speaking near-fluent French, wanted more than anything else to stay in America. I chose to ignore this, assuming that like a strange virus, it would pass with time and love. Then, when he was deciding what to be when he grew up, he asked me "Should I go to law school or grad school in art history?" To which I said, "Who needs the money and security that a career in law would give you? Go to grad school in art history young man. Follow your bliss, etc." And I thought to myself, 'He's part French. Mais biensure he'll choose French art. We can go to France, live in Paris for a while. Go to Aix where his family has a house which is not far from the coast....' Mais non, mes petits ! Oh la tristesse ! He said he wanted to go into American art "because I wouldn't have to travel or live overseas." This I was less able to ignore, but we were married by then so I was screwed.

Now, twenty-five years later, here I sit in the middle of America, a long long way from any coast, it's 21 degrees outside, and I haven't seen blue sky in God knows how long. So looking at the map of Palma, Spain, then looking out at the frozen tundra of my backyard, I had a weak moment of feeling this was not my plan! THAT was my plan!

Now, I do know that where you live physically is not really that pertinent to how you live emotionally. (And if I didn't know that, Willym would be sure to remind and or bitch slap me!) So I took a last longing look at the Mallorca - dotted with palm trees, surrounded by the shimmering Mediterranean - and closed the computer. Because, truly I know that when I stepped into the stream that was the beginning of my love for K, he became my island, and the life we've built together my coasts and oceans and sunny plazas. I really do know that.

I wonder if he'd be willing to wear a palm tree on his head once in a while?

10 comments:

ayem8y said...

I too have longed to live anywhere but where I live. Usually during the winter and then the spring arrives and the beach is down the street and I think it’s not so bad that I could stay one more year. It’s been 18 years now. A record 12 days in a row of below 30 degree weather. It’s 60 degrees today with a blue sky and sunshine.

I would gladly trade it for Paris or Spain.

sageweb said...

I went to Mallorca in 2000 I loved it. It is a very nice get-away..but living there would not be all that great. It is crowded..especially in the summer. But in the winter it is a very nice place.

Claire M. Johnson said...

I'll donate the grass skirt. And then stand at the ready with a camera!

Sling said...

That was so beautifully written,it made me smile!
..I can feel the love.
My ambitions are less exotic.
I want to go back to Germany,and live in a cabin in the Black Forest.

jason said...

I have a cassette of waves crashing on the Mediterranean (?) shore I can loan you. I know it helps me....that and some cheap red wine.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

how about a nice long vacation there?

a thousand shades of twilight said...

A palm tree on his head once in a while? That's not much to ask! I'm sure he'd do it for you, being the sweetheart that he is.

I longed to get out of Adelaide as a youngster and watched many friends leave. While it's definitely warm here (we've just had another 3 days of about 110 farenheit), the opportunities are limited and there is a bit of a small town mentality. But since meeting M, all that has faded away and I'm just happy to be here and make my home with him.

PS I KNOW M would be more than happy to wear a palm tree on his head once in a while. But that's because he's obsessed with the bloody things...

Elizabeth said...

ayem8y - I know! But at some point you have to admit that you really live in the place you're living in. I'm trying....

sage - I'm jealous! Winter there sounds dreamy...

Claire -It's a deal. And I'll hold him down while we put it on him!

Sling - Why thank you! And may your dream come true, one way or another....

Jason - Ha! If you're drunk enough anyplace seems like the Mediterranean!

granny - Nah, I'm good. Honest. But maybe I'll do Myrtle Beach this summer!

1000 shades - I'll tell him you said so and I'm sure he'll be happy to oblige. I'll take a pic of him, you take a pic of M, and I'll start a flickr group called "Men with palm trees on their heads!" Deal?

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more cowbell said...

oh girl I so hear you. I miss living overseas so badly. Part of my motivation for finally getting that damned sheet of paper, and for learning another language (again), is to get a shot at working somewhere else, someplace warm, where capitalism doesn't reign supreme.