a destination, a question
He spreads out a map between them on the table of the diner, then smooths it with a flat palm. He hovers his pointer finger of the map, moving it around in circles, the gestural equivalent of a filler word. Finally, he presses his finger onto the paper. A destination. He raises an eyebrow. A question.
Staring at his eyes rather than the map, she sips her black coffee, just as bitter as she is inside.
Where on this map was he a year ago, a month ago, a week ago? He was with her yesterday, but even then, his mind was far away.
His eyes intensify. The question has remained unanswered for too long.
She drops her gaze and looks at the paper for the first time. At the tip of his nail is a tiny town a few hours’ trek away, just off the highway–a place she had never once considered going.
She has never been much of a follower, and she’s never been much of a risk-taker either, preferring to forge her own path exactly where she is. The oxymoron of that has never been lost on her, but she likes it that way. He was always a wrench in that oxymoron, one that was usually at a far enough distance that she could ignore it.
But not right now. Not while he is right here.
He is going to that destination at the end of his pointer finger no matter what she does. She knows that. Among all the choices she has, making him stay is not one of them. She’ll have to choose something else, make a compromise that she doesn’t want to make.
She raises her head so that her eyes meet his again as she gives a forced smile and nods.
Photo by Negative Space from Pexels
As a child I believed that the continents floated above the ocean, like gigantic earthy boats on the surface of the water. I thought that if you swam far enough out into the ocean, you would eventually arrive at a dramatic drop off where the continental plate ended and you could find the water beneath. More than that, I thought that with a lot of effort, I could be the first human to swim all the way underneath the USA from the east coast to the west coast.
I am older and wiser now. I know that the US is not just floating on water, ready to be swum under. I also know that the tectonic plates are on top of a liquid, just not one that humans can breaststroke through. There is still a magic and an insight to my original understanding, even if it was ultimately wrong.
My world didn’t change dramatically when I learned about the layers of Earth. I didn’t lose my child-like wonder in that moment. If anything, I just had new things to wonder about.
What does the area where it shifts from mantle to crust look like? Will we ever be able to dig down to the core? How do we know about all of these layers if we can’t dissect the earth the way it’s depicted in the graphics that show these layers?
The world is a never-ending stream of questions, of misunderstandings, and of corrections.
I grew up hearing the old wive’s tale that peonies require ants to open their flowers. Until yesterday, I didn’t realize that this was a wive’s tale; I had assumed that it was a scientific fact that peonies require ants to nibble away at their buds in order to bloom. I am constantly being proven wrong. I am constantly learning and growing.
Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels