No Reply No Reply

August 16, 2018

33. The Anchorite

Let me recall passages of a recent narrative I recently came across:

“More tea?” she asked. Her voice was maternal and thick with experience in life.“
Ah, please!” was the quick and automatic reply from a young voice.

I turned the page.
“So when will Benjamin return?” the maternal voice asked.
“God if I know. That man may never return to our home and I may never miss a day of his absence,” bitterness seethed from her teeth as the younger spoke of her betrothed.

The story ended here and continued some time later. I looked up and noticed a man and woman, a couple clearly in love and entwined in a pause of time.

“Excuse me. Sorry to bother, truly, but I noticed you bought tickets to the ferry. Where are you two going?”
“Tomorrow I leave for Dresden.”
“And you?”
“I will stay here in Seoul.”
“For good?”
“Yes, I live here… was born here.”
“And you live in Germany?”
“Yes. I travel here for several weeks at a time and she travels to Germany for several weeks and we spend a great deal of our lives together but in different countries.”
“So you are lovers—more than friends?”
“Yes,” in unison.
“Do you have plans to marry or will you always travel like this?”
“We have a wedding planned next year!”
“Yes, but several more visits between now and then. Mostly planning for the wedding.”

After some small talk I bid them farewell and good luck on their future together. I hoped for the best their parallel lives would eventually intersect into one, forever. I went back to the pages, reading:

The maternal voice broke the silence, “Well come on. Come forward.”
And so he stepped into the drawing room and presented myself as returned, prodigal. The young woman gasped at her now returned husband, ashamed of her words.
“I am sorry to have been gone so long,” he said meekly. “I was away to make a home for us and was caught in poor conditions on the sea. My time away was beyond my control but I see now it does not matter the explanation.”
“Here is the fate of the sneak and the eavesdropper,” the maternal voice said. “And here is the fate of the unforgiving and presumptuous soul.”

I looked up again from the heavy words and saw another couple. This time they seemed distant from each other. Only vague proximity as they walked along kept their togetherness tied. As is my tendency I protruded, “Excuse me, can I bother you for a question: where are you going?”