My Penguin Wasn’t My Penguin
By Dolly M
Each one of use vibrates at a certain frequency so we tend to attract what we are. I’m always trying to resonate positivity, so that I can create enough space for it to come into my life. My belief is simple: our happiness and joy lie within us.
For the purposes of this story we’re going to skip my childhood years, my sexually confused, self-loathing, depressing on-the-verge-of-suicide adolescence and my nine year platonic relationship with my bi-curious best friend who loves me (but not in the let’s-get-married-and-have-babies kind of way) and come full circle to the 5th of May 2012.
I was boarding a plane at Barbados Grantley Adams International Airport. I was leaving my hometown, I was leaving her, I was leaving the oppression, I was leaving every trace of negativity behind and I was flying forward towards my dreams. I was letting go of everything I knew in order to move to a foreign city in pursuit of happiness. I was almost a quarter of a century old and it was about time I figured myself out.
I arrived in beautiful Buenos Aires. I was mesmerized by the buildings, the empanadas, the wine, the streets, the tango, and the buses… bullshit! I was in Argentina! You know what that means? I was in the marriage equality capital of South America! Openly gay people! Lesbians who dressed however they felt like and dyed their hair according to their whims! Gay bars! Gay parades! I was free! I remembered being 15, repressed, and having to change clothes before I got home in case I looked “too gay”.
I felt like I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. And I did. After six months of bliss, I figured out who Dolly really was. Since I was a free woman in her element, guess what I was ready to do?
That’s right. I was single and ready to mingle.
I hit up the gay bars. It wasn’t as I had imagined it to be. Granted, I imagined a secret garden overflowing with beautiful and divine creatures, goddesses working as bartenders and yours truly being the life of the party.
I usually ended up in a corner drinking the worst cocktail while watching all the happy lesbian couples making out and passing me by. I went home alone all the time.
I was shattered until I had an epiphany; the woman that I was supposed to be with wouldn’t be in places like this. I had to go out and pursue my passions in order to find her. So I did. I went to spoken word events, open mic nights, comedy nights, the movies, the Argentine version of “Broadway”, the mall (food court mostly), the park, the concerts, the planetarium, I even went to meditation centers! Still nothing. Every girl that caught my eye was either straight or taken. On the bright side I did, however, get invited in on a threesome, a trip to Uruguay, a bus tour to Mendoza and a creepy “come back to my place to check out my Star Wars collection” offer.
Needless to say I had lost a little faith in my fantasy. The idea of finding “my penguin” and living happily ever after seemed to fade away with every disappointing encounter.
A couple of weeks later I searched: “lesbians Buenos Aires” and that’s where I found it an online dating site dedicated to lesbians living in Argentina. In the week that passed I decided to let go of the feeling of being a loser that came with my anxieties about joining the site.
My ego would tell me: You don’t belong there. Look at you. These sites are for people who have to hide behind profile picture of an actress. You can attract a girl in person! So don’t do this!”
Needless to say I went ahead and created my profile. My beliefs still applied here so I was as honest and purposeful as possible. I made sure to put up what I was all about and I got started. Since I had traveled half-way across the globe to find Ms. Right I was not willing to simply sit back and wait for her.
Most of the people who saw my profile picture just wanted a ‘casual encounter’ (like we don’t all know what that means). I was just about ready to take my profile down when I got a message: “Where are you from?” it said. She was the first person to ask me that question so before responding I did the proper thing and stalked her.
She was from Colombia, she was a ‘hottie’ and she had a thought provoking comment in her bio; basically I had to respond. I told her I was from Barbados to teach English. She was a Philosophy student who was moving to Argentina next year to study. She asked me what my real name was and when I told her she questioned its meaning and origins. She told me she was fascinated by Hinduism. I was fascinated by her. She also shared that she believed that connecting with and exchanging cultures with people from different backgrounds to us was important. She had a point. It’s at that point sometime that we moved from instant messaging and explored other video chatting.
People usually laugh in my face when I say this but when I first saw her, I just knew. I felt it down in the core of my being; she was different and could be special to me. Isn’t it scary?
In record time she told me she loved me, I thought it was a fluke. She repeated it again. Since I was dying to scream it back to her, I what any self-respecting woman would do and said ‘thank-you’. Ok, I’ll admit I lied right there, I actually told her that I loved her too and I meant it.
In human terms, we had just met but in soul terms, I had finally found her. I already knew her, well at least I felt so. I knew her essence, including the person she was and could be. I grew old next to her in the blink of an eye.
She moved to Buenos Aires to live with me. I will never forget the moment I met her in person at the airport it was our first physical contact with each other. It was one of the best hugs I’ve ever had in my entire life. While I listened to my heartbeat, felt her rhythm and the safety her embrace brought me the noise around me disappeared. I had found my home and she hers.
The whole drive home was an exploration. It was a rush. I realized then that people often take the little things for granted.
We were amazing together and friends of mine would ask me to tell them our secrets to love. She taught me about her culture just as I taught her about mine and our time together was spent weaving delicate tapestries on intimacy and aspirations. We made love.
Then I get a call and told her that I had to head back home for a while but promised to return. She did not believe me. Things were said. Damage was done. We crashed and the resentment set in. There was no coming back from there. A few days later, I left, said goodbye to my Penguin and wished her well. “Namaste” was the last thing I said to her.
A few days later she sent me this note:
One day, I met someone. Someone who taught me a lot of things about life, about nature, about the world and all the creatures. It was a miracle. I think that’s the most appropriate word to explain what it was. A miracle. This person was my guru, I used to call her my guru. She was a wise, kind and extraordinary person who taught me a lot of things about the Ego and I think that this human being knows me very well, even more than I or anyone I know could ever know me. It’s incredible. Because now I realize that everything this guru taught me and shared with me is what I needed to understand who I am and what I have to offer and to share with the world. You are my world. You’re the love of my life. I want to share everything with you.”
The problem with modern society is that we’re accustomed to throwing things away once they’re broken because we have convinced ourselves that all things are replaceable. This is not true and I learned that the hard way.
I fought the inevitable for a while and finally I let her go body, mind and soul. All I know is… My penguin wasn’t my penguin. She was more of a cat. Still I wrote something just in case I found her:
My whole life has been a series of events that has led me here. To you.
I knew that I couldn’t meet you not a minute too late or a minute too soon.
It had to be now.
It had to be here.
I want you to know that I love you.
Just take my hand and we’ll figure out the rest as we go along .
I’ve got you and that’s all that matters.
We don’t have to make promises to each other because we know they will come true.
Come a little closer, get comfortable by my side,
And let me tell you the 1,001 reasons that I want to spend forever with you.
First published on Interrupt Magazine for the HOLAA edition.
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