Spiritual Explorer: A Shooting Star Over Hikkadua
“It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.”
On a warm clear Saturday on the beach in Hikkadua, Sri Lanka, a brief flickering light shot across the sky. I saw it, I know that it was there, but just as surely as the image of this light is emblazoned in my mind, I know that it is gone now. You said that you might feel at home among the stars. More at home then here, on an Earth that had become unbearable. I cannot say I know where you have gone, but I know that you, too, are now gone.
Until this past week, I could say without pause nor doubt that my time in Sri Lanka has been a happy time. Although I’ve questioned many aspects of life pertaining to my being here, I confess that not much had led me to doubt that this was period that I would always look back on with fond memories. I could try to count them, but would quickly find myself swimming among a many and myriad of fragmented moments that have left an indelibly positive imprint on my life.
Now I struggle to find the words to express my emotions. I find fault with them all: they are pithy and incomparable to the tide that swells my eyes to tears, and tugs my heart with a heavy dread. My steps are weighted, chin tilted to the sun, and heart quieted to a murmur. How can I put with pen what I can hardly begin to understand? It is with difficulty have I even risen to eat, drink, and maintain some level of conscious awareness of my surroundings and responsibilities.
But two days after that brilliant light had streaked across my sight, I stood on the same beach, in the same spot and wept bitterly that I had lost a friend. The circumstances being difficult to ascertain in fullness, but the outcome quite evident: Sunday afternoon near Payagala, Sri Lanka, having left the company of me and friends, a good friend lost her life. It was a very quick and, hopefully, painless death, but the aftermath has been all-consuming in these days since.
I was unsure if I should write of her in the immediacy of her passing, but since she was the only person with whom I shared the last article of this series prior to its publishing, as she sat next to me on a sofa as I finished it, I thought she would not mind this being dedicated to her. She was a brilliant painter, and we spoke at length of our talents and what to do with them. Painting, drawing, and her unique method of self-expression through visual mediums where how she best understood herself and the world around her.
She told me once, a short while ago as we conversed long into an evening in Kandy, that she would like to be remembered most for her heart. She felt it were the most important of her gifts, and I think that she showed it in a way that I have so far only known her to. Death itself did not scare her, whether that be a tragedy or triumph I cannot say but she would have met with the afterlife with a slight smile and a twinkling eye.
I admit to anger, and confusion, grief, frustrated silences and the kind of emotional babbling borne from an attempt to grasp for reason in this most unexpected of circumstances. We had promised each other to meet February 22nd 2016, on the Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris. Her studies would have taken her there for the next year, in the month I had spent in France last year I’d never visited Paris. We agreed it would be perfect.
On the night before her death, as the night swirled around us to the feverish pitch of music, and dancing in the warm sand she asked me, “Do you remember the date?”
“What date?” I remembered, but didn’t let on.
“For Paris, remember? When we are supposed to meet?” The tone of her voiced expressed a mild shocked incredulity.
“Yea, February 22nd, right? Will you be there?” With her it was difficult to tell.
“I will be if you will be.” She danced off in the sand looking for something.
I’m not sure if she found what she was looking for, but I promised her I’d go, and I know I will at least try; if there is anything I’ve come to trust fully in this life is nothing is for certain. Perhaps we are all in way like those fleeting bursts of light in the night. Brilliant, and gone too soon. She was that, but will be remembered long after she has passed my way.