The wellReading this post, I was struck by the thought that the saddest thing in my life is that when I was happiest, I had no one with me to share it with.
Yet it may be that it is a good thing that I was able to feel it without needing someone else to validate it.
I was happiest drinking coffee on a cold morning in the main square at Shimla. I had left behind the aggressive whiny child I had been in my twenties and discovered myself, a flawed but real human being. I was doing something I would never have believed I was capable of, travelling on my own without the fear of strangers that made me unable to ring a pizza place a few years earlier.
I was thin, handsome and confident--not overweening, simply convinced that I was as good as the next person, that when I walked into a room, I would find people who wanted to know me, women who would be into me, men who would find what I had to say valuable. And of course these things are true for all of us; you don't need anyone else to point out for you why it's true--you can find it if you go looking for it.
I found it by surrendering, by giving into the truth that I should be measured by what I am, not by what I'm not. I think that it's easy if you have a belief that people are fundamentally good to believe that you too are good, so long as you allow yourself to believe that you too are human. And I do do that: I think about what people are, not what they promise to be, not what they lack, but what they have. Mrs Zen sometimes would say to me that I was dissatisfied with her because she wasn't an intellectual like me.
But I never was. I loved her for what she offered, and never thought less of her for what she was not. We are capable of inspiring each other and showing each other beauty; we just don't know it. As I stood in the square in Shimla in the cold, I was warmed by knowing that I had been able to win her back simply by offering myself, not a scrambled version of me.
The second happiest time in my life I did share. We sat and drank coffee and Mrs Zen told me the doctor had confirmed her pregnancy. I suppose you would think that Zenella's birth was as happy a time, but I don't think it is the right word. I felt fulfilled. That may be even a richer feeling than happiness, I don't know. I have been so far from fulfilment since then that it seems a strange, foreign place I think I once visited but truly never saw.