Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Fester like a sore? And then run.

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over

Like syrupy sweet

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

I was a child that suffered from wanderlust the first time I heard these words. I was eight, staring intently at Mrs. Jeffries, watching her lips enunciate the words of this short poem. The words filtered through my brain like the morning sun filtering through blinds. What does happen to a dream that never comes to fruition? I spent all of my recess trying to decide which burden would be more acceptable, a heavy burden to carry or spending your life with a festering sore. That day, my most important activity, the swings, paled in comparison to my internal turmoil about my dreams. I was stuck and intrigued all at once. Today, I find myself dealing with that same quandary.

What happens when your soulmate dies?

In America, we worship at the altar of love, romantic comedies are our holy grail. We crave a happy ending. We crave it even if the relationship is toxic, even if two people shouldn’t be together, we want them to be forever in love.  Once upon a time, I was forever in love. I had what America would deem a fairytale. But now I wonder about soulmates. What happens to the person that is left behind? Do we as humans have another soulmate? Or do we have to settle for some facsimile of a soulmate?  Or does my love fester like a sore. Do I decide to be alone and never experience the loving, protective embrace of marriage? Marriage isn’t and has never been my reason for my existence, although being in a content marriage for 21 years was a wonderful accomplishment. For the last 7 years my mind had wondered about people’s places in our lives. How many soulmates come into our lives?  Maybe women should keep our boys on the side, maybe our soulmates are our lifelong best female, friends.

It’s not as if I have given up on love, love is a robust, encompassing feeling. A feeling I have felt since Peter died. But since Peter has died, I question everything. Without his unwavering support, I have no one to look to anymore. If he were alive, I would bombard him with questions about love and soulmates, then be comforted by his responses.

For me having a soulmate, a best friend and co-parent meant that I was safe, protected and loved. 

For the past few years I have had to be my own soulmate. I’ve had to be my own protector, my own best friend. Maybe we get 2 soulmates, the love of our life, then ourselves.

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