Richard from Texas left today. Flew back to Austin. I took the drive with him to the airport, and we were both sad. We stood for a long time on the sidewalk before he went inside.
"What am I gonna do when I don't have Liz Gilbert to kick around anymore?" He sighed. Then he said, "You've had a good experience at the Ashram, haven't you? You look all different from a few months back, like maybe you chucked out some of that sorrow you been hauling around."
"I'm feeling really happy these days, Richard."
"Well, just remember--all your misery will be waiting for you at the door upon your exit, should you care to pick it up again when you leave."
"I won't pick it up again." "Good girl."
"You've helped me a lot," I told him. "I think of you as an angel with hairy hands and cruddy toenails."
"Yeah, my toenails never really did recover from Vietnam, poor things." "It could've been worse."
"It was worse for a lot of guys. At least I got to keep my legs. Nope, I got a pretty cushy incarnation in this lifetime, kiddo. So did you--never forget that. Next lifetime you might come back as one of those poor Indian women busting up rocks by the side of the road, find out life ain't so much fun. So appreciate what you got now, OK? Keep cultivating gratitude. You'll live longer. And, Groceries? Do me a favor? Move ahead with your life, will ya?"
"What I mean is--find somebody new to love someday. Take the time you need to heal, but don't forget to eventually share your heart with someone. Don't make your life a monument to David or to your ex-husband."
"I won't," I said. And I knew suddenly that it was true--I wouldn't. I could feel all this old pain of lost love and past mistakes attenuating before my eyes, diminishing at last through the famous healing powers of time, patience and the grace of God.
And then Richard spoke again, snapping my thoughts back quickly to the world's more basic realities: "After all, baby, remember what they say--sometimes the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else."
I laughed. "OK, Richard, that'll do. Now you can go back to Texas."
"Might as well," he said, casting a gaze around this desolate Indian airport parking lot. "Cuz I ain't gettin' any prettier just standing around here."