East Fork Spring. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. The name, that is.
I mean, my name is Spring. And being on the East Fork of the Lewis, the river I so carelessly and completely fell in love with, made me East Fork Spring.
My love for the East Fork was nothing if not true. I adored it and life on its banks consumed me. I worked nonstop to make my home with it.
I wandered next to it and through it. Got lost in its current.
My own epic love story. The girl who fell in love with a river.
Trouble is, epic love stories are only epic once tragedy joins the party.
Many moons ago, my best friend Claire and I went to see The English Patient. As we exited the theater, puffy-eyed and snotty, Claire summed it up most concisely.
"True love sucks," she cried, "everybody dies."
In both a literal sense and a figurative one, Claire nailed it.
The day I left the river, part of me died. How much of me is gone is yet to be determined.
It's been long enough since that day that the pain should have subsided. Instead it has settled heavily in my core, as if maybe it will stay.
A week ago, I let the domain registration of eastforkspring.com lapse. As if maybe I could get myself back from the East Fork's hold. As if, indeed.
Who would I be? Who is East Fork Spring without the East Fork?
The short answer is: I'm me. Always have been. Always will be.
Truth told, I don't feel much like me.
I'm uncomfortable. My heart hurts. I'm lost and I'm sad.
Whatever plate of shit life served up was palatable when I knew in the new day I would be drinking my morning coffee in the most beautiful place on earth.
Now I am painfully aware each morning that I am not.
Occasionally I will wake up hopeful, imagining I've heard it's soft rushing beyond my door. Instead of my river, the sound is nearby traffic and my hope fades to shame. I feel like a fool.
Overcome with longing, I went to see my river today. I thrust my hands and feet into the cold green water and welcomed it's hurt into my joints. I allowed myself the familiar and falsely reassuring embrace of an old lover who, this time, will leave by design.
Leave me with the hollow noise between the thuds of my heart. The echo keeps me awake, but I at least recognize it is my own. It's all I have some days. It's what I am alone.
What's left of me is what's left for me.
After all, wherever you go, there you are.
Love or no love.
River or no river.