The past few years have been a trying time for Elena. I have seen her doubt herself, struggle to see her wonderful qualities but I’ve also seen her be unfairly underappreciated by people in her life. Last Spring she took the opportunity to get away, study abroad in Dublin where ultimately she found herself. Her travels seemed to change her outlook and changed the course of the difficult journey she had been on in recent times. Elena experienced so much while abroad and grabbed every opportunity to explore new things and travel all over Europe.
I ask her to tell me about her time there and she begins anecdote, after anecdote, smile after smile. When the expression of pure joy bursts from her face for the first time in what seems like forever it is difficult to do anything but laugh with her.
As she continues to tell her Irish story we stumble upon the topic of men. Elena fell in love abroad, not just with the country but also with J. She talks about the times they spent strolling along the river, talking for hours into the night, dancing to the point of exhaustion and their first kiss. She seems to escape into her own world reliving the romance and I let her disappear there for a moment.
What comes next is unexpected but not surprising. Her content loving contemplation turns to how much she misses him and she begins to grow sad. The uncertainty of when they will be together again clouds her mind and she gazes blankly into the unknown of whats to come.
She breaks down; covering her face, unwilling to show her true emotion of extreme sadness while she is left incomplete without him. Being back in a place where she mainly has negative memories makes her want to run away and not be here even more than before she left for Ireland. I try to find her face but her arms like a protective shield cover it and she shifts from one hidden position to another.
Finally, Elena looks up straight at the camera and it is clear she is overcome with emotion at being so far away from her love, from happiness and comfort. True sadness is in her eyes as she tells me she can’t think of anyone else she wants to see more right now than J and how leaving Ireland has brought her back to a place of insecurity and darkness.