So dad said, “You are so beautiful, I just can’t believe you couldn’t find someone in Vancouver, or Canada for that matter”. And I said, “‘Cause, no one in Vancouver ever really saw me, and besides, I wasn’t looking”.
So, you were really sending a message – a stay-away message, he said. I said, yup and it’s this: I ain’t interested in anyone, but if you want this, you’d better be prepared to work for it, ‘cause there is nothing easy about me. At least, not anymore.
Well, as it turned out, the only guy in 15 years who has wanted to work on it at all, lives on another continent. I’m going to see how real it is.
He’s just an ordinary guy on the face of it…. If you were to tick off just the basics, he might be said to be an electrician, a regular working guy who has kids, a house and the other investments. You would say he is a biker at heart, but riding a Harley is an addiction that gets exercised only rarely now. You might notice his tattoos, so bold and absolutely storied. Those stories are histories of deep and mythical experiences and they embody his beliefs.
Dad would want me with a certain kind of look, a certain type of being… This electrician isn’t it – on the face of it.
It’s not even the tattoos, dad hasn’t seen those yet. It’s the beard. The big, bushy, hairy beard – and the hair – long hair that is tied back in a low pony tail.
“Do you think he’d ever clean that up a bit”?
“Yes, dad, he would, and if I want to, I could do whatever I want with it, but maybe I won’t want to. Maybe that is what I want too”.
I saw those things that way too, at first. I knew it was definitely a different look than what I’d normally gawk at twice, but there was something else. There was a light, a spark of recognition. I already knew he believed in things the way I did. I knew I was going to be able to talk and talk about what matters – and we did. Thank you, geniuses, for Skype.
I already knew he believed like me mostly, because he’s also a writer whose gifted work I’d been a fan of for a long time. He wears his heart out on his sleeve – just like you, dad. I read all the words where he poured his soul onto the public landscape, a place where you have to be ready to absorb the shock of disdain or hold out hope for any word of praise and encouragement. So, he’s brave too. Like any of us who put ourselves out there. Go ahead… write even a letter to the editor of your local paper and see what it feels like to have it published or ignored.
He’s also funny as hell. I first saw it in his words when I could break out laughing at any line in his columns – that is, when he didn’t have me close to dripping in tears. He’s had me thinking deeply about issues I hadn’t given as much thought to as cursory sympathy over the years, and he’d got me incensed at the stupidity, selfishness, and just plain cruelty of humans.
He knew me too, in the same fashion. He read all my work and learned the same basic facts about my world, but also some of my greatest concerns, desires, and fears. He learned about my health issue(s), and the main reasons I have avoided relationships for all these several years.
Those points notwithstanding, what also led up to those years of solitude were the last two relationships of horrific standing. I did a terrible job, back to back, of picking out someone I thought would know me, see me, love me and cherish me. The long story short is, they didn’t, and I have the scarred terrain to prove it.
Hey Dad –
You may have forgotten something quite obvious within the concern about my finding someone halfway around the world….
There is no way either of us can just run and shack up within months of meeting each other.
There is no way he can divest himself of his children, job and holdings overnight and run to Canada any more than I would be able to leave my child, dump my house, my health professionals, my entire life to run to said other continent.
I look at it as a pretty major built-in safety factor that none of my other relationships afforded me. We have nothing but space and time to get to know each other.
I would think that would give you some comfort until, and if, the day he turns up for a proper chat with you.
I know what you were saying and why and I love you for it, but if I don’t get to meet him at some point, how will I know if all the conversations we’ve had to date are meaningful or not.
Love you too,
Yes, dad, I understand fully why you worry. I don’t blame you, and whoever heard of meeting someone like this?
Who says it’s possible to fall in love with the work of another writer, then sort of bear down on that writer, then bare yourself even more personally to that writer, then think falling in love that way could be possible? How could any of this be reality of any genuine consequence?
But, in months and months of conversation, even from two separate continents, what we learned together was the depths of what we each believe in and care for. We are able to articulate clearly what we want, need, and what we will not settle for less than, thanks to all those years of endured and survived diminished relationships.
Neither of us have any delusions of grandeur that our current days of wine and song are equal to the old days of youthful sass and sauce. The days now are too short to play with coyness.
We’ve agreed upon what is important and we’ve learned how to navigate through each other’s fears and pains. Anyone want to comment on how easy that little part of any relationship is? So, believe me when I say, distance doesn’t make it any easier.
He has worked his ass off climbing over my mountains of insecurities, and I have struggled with clearing years of darkness from his eyes. We see each other. He likes to say we speak each other.
Yes, dad, I will make sure you have my full itinerary, all contact numbers, and yes, I have registered with the embassy.
No matter the results long term, we certainly couldn’t regret the long highway of loveliness we’ve created between us. We certainly wouldn’t forget all the stretches of angst it took to get here. We couldn’t say it was all for nothing, because what we’ve shared so far couldn’t be called nothing by any stretch of the imagination – or fear.
Because, in the end, no matter what happens, whether it’s in the days leading up to our meeting or after, if we’re not meant to be, that’s all it is. The real work will really begin if it turns out that we really are meant to be. Holy crap – we will have some sorting out to do to get ourselves together, won’t we?
My life, our lives, are only ever a story in progress, we’ll just have to see what kind of chapter this will turn out to be. No matter the outcome in that long run, I will always know I have had a taste of being genuinely cared for and cherished. I have finally felt a devotion never given me before. That knowledge will never leave my heart, even if he does.
And dad, I will always know you were the first man to cherish me, but just maybe, I have found another. Just maybe I have found what you wished for me yourself for so many years. I am going to see.