a perfect and necessary darkness
She fled to a research station in Antarctica.
He fleed after her, but took a less direct route. His fledding took him first to the Arctic Circle.
He believed she was in need of a gesture and what could be more gesticular than to bump into her on an ice flow in the middle of nowhere, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, shorts and a pink pair of crocs. “Hey… imagine meeting you here.” Sunglasses, while helping with the glare off the ice, remained optional.
Other than the size of the frigid continent itself, the biggest obstacle in pulling this off was the cold. -71 degrees Fahrenheit on a good day. What was the point of bumping into her if he was wearing a heavy parka and mask that completely obscured his face? Anyone could do that.
It had to be t-shirt, shorts and a pink pair of crocs.
But to pull it off, he’d need some training to endure the bitter cold.
It began with taking cold showers and forgoing a jacket on a chilly evening, but that wasn’t going to get him where he needed to go. So it was off to the Arctic Circle.
As he was about to board the flight up, his friend tried to offer some last-minute advice. “Maybe she just needs some space. Maybe just give it to her. You know what they say, silence is golden.”
“If silence was so golden” he countered, “the expression would have never been uttered in the first place. Right? Plus, there are things a lot more precious than gold.”
So off he fled.
And so he learned.
Learned that the Polar Bare Club is always on the hunt for new members. Before he knew it, he was naked and jumping into water while all around him the snow gently fell and his core body temperature fleded.
Learned that with hypothermia there’s trembling, hurt, numbness and confusion, but eventually it is replaced by a sense of peacefulness.
Learned that recovering from hypothermia is a lot more painful than getting it.
Hypothesized that getting a tattoo is a lot less painful than not being understood.
So eventually his fleeingness took him south and deposited him in Antarctica. Colder, whiter and quieter than he was prepared for. Walking from the plane it hurt just to breath. His t-shirt, shorts and pink crocs in his suitcase. The words ‘If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone’ written across his chest.
He didn’t really know where exactly she was and he certainly didn’t know which ice flow she’d be visiting on any given day, so it didn’t really matter what his final destination was now. The whole bleak and/or barren (it varied ever so slightly) landscape was his final destination.
So he changed and walked out the front door and only made it fifty yards before he was completely at peace.