To this day when I inhale a light scent of Wrangler—its sweet sharpness—or the stronger, darker scent of Musk, I return to those hours and it ceases to be just cologne that I take in but the very scent of age, of youth at its most beautiful peak. It bears the memory of possibility, of unknown forests, unchartered territories and a heart light and skipping, hell-bent as the captain of any of the three ships, determined at all costs to prevail to the new world. Turning back was no option. Whatever the gales, whatever the emaciation, whatever the casualty to self, onward I kept my course. My heart felt the magnetism of its own compass guiding me on—its direction constant and sure. There was no other way through. I feel it again as once it had been, before it was broken-in; its strength and resolute ardency. The years of solitude were nothing compared to what lay ahead. In sailing for the horizon that part of my life had been sealed up, a gentle eddy, a trough of gentle waves diminishing further, receding away. Whatever loneliness andpain went with the years between the ages of 14 and 20, was closed, irretrievable—I was already cast in form and direction in a certain course.When I open the little bottle of eau de toilette five hundred different days unfold within me, conversations so strained, breaking slowly, so painstakingly, to a comfortable place. A place so warm and inviting after the years of silence and introspect, of hiding. A place in the sun that would burn me alive before I let it cast a shadow on me. Until that time I had not known, I had not been conscious of my loneliness. Yes, I had been taciturn in school, alone, I had set myself apart when others tried to engage. But though I was alone, I had not felt the pangs of loneliness. It had not burdened or tormented as such when I first felt the clear tang of its opposite in the form of another’s company. Of Regn’s company. We came, each in our own way, in our own need—listening, wanting, tentatively, as though we came upon each other from the side in spite of having seen each other head on for two years. It was a gradual advance, much again like a vessel waiting for its sails to catch wind, grasping hold of the ropes and learning much too quickly, all at once, how to move in a certain direction. There was no practicing. It was everything and all—for the first and last time. Everything had to be right, whether it was or not. The waters were beautiful, the work harder than anything in my life, but the very glimpse of any tempest of defeat was never in my line of vision. I’d never failed at anything. And though this may sound quite an exaggeration, I tell you earnestly, it is true. Everything to this point I’d ever set my mind to, I’d achieved. But this wasn’t about conquering some land, nor had any of my other desires ever been about proving something. It just had to be—I could not break, could not turn or retract once I’d committed myself to my course. You cannot force a clock to run backwards when it is made to persevere always and ever, forward. Had I not been so young I’d never have had the courage to love her.
Wheston Chancellor Grove