“If only…”

Taken yesterday on the Charlottesville downtown mall.

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen–the saddest are these– “it might have been.” (John Greenleaf Whittier)

When I was a young man in college I had this habit of sitting on campus at night and looking up at the lit windows of the dorms and wondering about the lives of the kids in those rooms. ¬†All the youth, power, beauty and potential–so restless, resonant and relentless in the black, endless night of this black, endless universe in which we spend our fraction of a nanosecond in eternity. The more I reflected and pondered the more overwhelming and pointless it became. It was a compelling and mysterious waste of time but it seemed like it was a big piece of who I was. It wasn’t just an exercise in dog-eared existential wonderment–it was also a yearning for someone also compelled by the same mystical agenda who wanted to sit with me on my bench in the observing darkness. I found several people over the years who I could share love with but never found anyone who wanted to share my bench in the darkness.

And each night when I had had enough puzzling and wallowing I always got up and walked back to my own dorm feeling hollow and alone and thinking, “If only…”

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