The full moon is glowing brightly tonight, like my mind’s eye illuminating the thoughts and scenes of my yesterday. I can see it peering down through the new spring leaves that have recently sprouted from the branches of the maple tree outside my bedroom window.
A car’s headlights have blinked on in the parking lot across the field and I can hear the crush of gravel as its tires grip the ground, spitting rocks, as it exits the gate.
A lighthouse beacon is blinking on and off in the distance; a warning to passing ships of the outcropping of land at the end of the bay. It’s beyond dusk now, nearing the very edge of night as the earth’s shadow falls heavily across the land and ocean.
My thoughts have recently been centered on two areas of my life. One is a tall, dark and handsome man who I have recently met and two is the obscure direction of my career which I am in the painful process of trying to change, but don’t know how to.
In regards to the first of the two, yesterday I spent the evening with him; the tall, dark and handsome man who I have met a few times over the last two and a half months. This was our fourth meeting.
We nestled into a tan leather couch adorned with animal print cushions. Pretty fitting considering we were at the colonial-designed Bengal Lounge situated inside the fancy Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria and that a large Bengal tiger hide hung on the wall above the wood-paneled fireplace across from us.
The tiger’s once-solid limbs were now spread-eagled flat against the wall and its menacing toothy jaws gaped just a few inches below the fireplace mantle at eye level. It was definitely the most prominent feature in the room and one that my eyes were frequently drawn to.
A fire burned inside the spacious brick fireplace surround and the room lights dimmed while the two of us conversed and sipped our cocktails. He had ordered a sophisticated Empress Old Fashioned and after much indecision I settled on a girly Grand Grapefruit Cosmopolitan; an elegant rose-coloured cocktail with three tart crimson cranberries buoyantly adorning the surface. The consistency was smooth on my lips and tongue and a slight tangy flavour infused the fruity sweetness.
The high wood-paneled walls and leather seating around the room captured the ambient glow of the flickering candles and soft lighting as well as the essence of colonial India, a period when Queen Victoria was also named the Empress of India.
Tall, dark and handsome excused himself briefly from our conversation and while I waited I made company of the Bengal tiger above the mantle. Its glass eyes gleamed lifelessly. They were windows to nothing anymore and did little to replace the wild vitality of what once existed. The marble eyes and set facial expression were a facade. It was man’s attempt to capture what he will never be able to contain. It makes me wonder why man even tries.
As I stared into those marble eyes I wondered how the tiger’s final moments may have been before it felt the sharp piercing pain of the hunter’s bullet; it’s life cut short by an unpredictable circumstance. It is a reminder that any one of our lives could change dramatically in an instant and that we should live each day mindfully and with purpose.
Tall, dark and handsome, the Bengal Tiger and the style of this very room are of the same country although he was born in Canada. His handsome dark complexion, deep black eyes and ebony hair reflect his Indian heritage.
Although my visits with him have been limited to one evening every two or three weeks, I have enjoyed his company. He comes to Victoria on business from Vancouver and stays here at the Empress Hotel. When he first sent me his photograph I imagined he would likely be self-centred, but I was wrong. He is thoughtful and inquisitive, also warm and respectful yet at the same time fun and engaging. I like him and have enjoyed his presence, but that also scares me.
We have agreed on a “no strings attached” arrangement which is perfect for me right now and I have been doing my best not to let emotion get in the way. I’m doing a good job of it actually, but I want to keep it that way. Although outwardly we are on the same page and have been very open and honest with each other about the nature of this arrangement, my sense is that things could begin to shift if either one of us isn’t careful.
This bird needs to fly and isn’t ready to come in for the landing yet. She is still trying to find her direction. Her internal compass feels out of whack. The one thing that keeps her striving forward is her restlessness and the thorn that continues to press into her heart every time her mind reverts back to what was comfortable and familiar before her big life changes.
Fear has already sent her back into a clerical role at the university, only this time it’s a temporary perch; just casual work. It has been full-time for the last 9 weeks, but that will end Tuesday. Another assignment has been presented to her and she nearly didn’t take it because it was only 12 hours per week. She wanted to hold out for another full-time assignment.
After mulling it over for a day she agreed to take the part-time assignment. Her restlessness had told her that if she really wants change in her life she needs to do something different. So instead of working full-time in a clerical roll she has decided to supplement the 12 hours with volunteer work, so she can gain skills and experience doing something new.
Immediately, her mind began to ease and somehow even though tall, dark and handsome continues to be present in her thoughts, the fact that he is far away on the other side of the Georgia Straight, eases her mind too…until he arrives again.