In April 2016 I was invited to attend a leadership workshop in California-Los Angeles. After attending this four days intense workshop I decide to feed the wanderlust in me and explore California all by myself. San Francisco was my first stop on the way to many places that were on my list. I had read a quote by Rudyard Kippling ‘San Francisco has only one drawback- it’s hard to leave’ With this flowery thought I left Los Angeles to San Francisco.
While I was painting the thoughts of the city known for its Bay area, Fog, Hills, Piers; I grabbed my seat in Virgin American plane. As usual I was setting up my gadgets before the take off to get lost in the melodious tunes on my iPod that I noticed a woman walking in and occupying the seat next to me. Somehow I am always curious about my co-passengers when I travel as this is the best opportunity to connect and learn from another fellow being. She gave me a big smile but as she sat next to me I noticed her eyes were telling a different story. I thought to myself, She looks happy but is she? Soon the plane took off and I opened a conversation after many secret glances I had already passed on her. She was Mexican living in Guadalupe city in the state of Nuevo Leon who was flying to meet her sweetheart whom she never heard from in the last ten years but kept a silent track.
She was 15 when she met her and the friendship grew to more affectionate relationship in no time. Five years of blissful association soon started to worry her as she got caught in the social mirrors. She was feared if society would let her marry another woman. This not only tensed the relationship but also made her quietly part with her with little realization how this is going to tear her soul and leave her with that silent brewing pain in her heart which may not be seen but felt every day. Everything will be alright, may not be today but eventually, she surrendered herself to time to heal. Time did not heal anything but she learnt how to live with the pain. Pretending to be happy she started to act strong. She was now a senior executive in a big company surrounded by a loving family and a well achieved status in the society. Ten years did not wipe off those memories and the love rekindled. Its said time heals wounds, she found no truth in that, the wounds remained, in time the mind covered them with tissues and the pain lessened but it was never gone. She finally decided to stop playing others songs as she realized she was dancing alone. She was back with a new mindset, a new soul, new courage and brave wings. She who once cared way too much about everyone and everything no longer cared at all. She never let her heart settle in a cage, it was her flame that was willing to burn everything for that one thing she had loved. Leaving the world behind, She was now on the way to meet her, she who also waited for 15 years.
Tears were rolling with an assured solace in our eyes. I was flooded with questions in my mind. Was this the first time we met? What made her open up to me? Why did she share her deep secret with me?
I was speechless and processing all that I had just heard.
I nurture such encounters more than the place while I travel. I often forget the places I visit but such stories give me all the more reason to travel. The plane touched down, I had reached San Francisco. It was not about the happy ending, it was about the story. I wished her wings to fly and with a deep breath I let her go to find her love while I left to quench the wanderlust in me.