Thursday, November 20, 2008

Marriage, Death, Kids and Family

1. Twenty years ago today, I got married. Not to the English actor; this was to the California country boy who I met in a bar in the foothills of the Sierras. We didn't meet cute or neat or however Hollywood calls it. I was in the bar with friends; he was there for a beer after work. I can't say I was bowled over, but I kinda thought I knew him from somewhere. So we talked, and he thought so too, and I gave him my number. He called that same night. We went out the next weekend. I still wasn't bowled over. There wasn't that instant chemistry that I knew from other relationships. There was just something about him that I couldn't stay away from. It wasn't sexual. I didn't understand it then; I just went along with it. Three years later, we were married. Now, twenty years later, we're not. I am better off for not being with him now, for all sorts of reasons. But that something about him that drew me to him then? It still exists. I don't know why. I still don't know what it means. I guess I just have to live with it.

2. This summer my cousin got married. He and his wife were expecting a baby in the new year. Last Sunday, they were having a meal in a restaurant. My cousin got up to pay the bill, turned around to look at his wife and watched the life leave her eyes. They couldn't save the baby either.

3. Today I had a conversation with a young woman I love who has two children. First, much talk about the cousin and his wife. Then much talk about the young woman I love and her pregnancy. Then I sang Happy Birthday to Son #1 and listened to Son #2 babble to me. Then the young woman asked how I was, and I started to tell her. She is one of the few people in my family who hears me. But #1 and #2 were hungry and cranky and wanted their mom's attention. So before I really got into anything important to me, she had to get off the phone. The feeling I was left with was not unlike what happens when you've been making out with a guy, he comes, and then says I gotta go, finish yourself. I know the young woman I love didn't mean for me to feel that way, but I did.

4. This afternoon I went shopping for light bulbs at the hardware store. I love hardware stores, but today, today it made me miss my dad. He kept me furnished in tools and up-to-speed on how to use them. I still have the love of all the gadgetry, but without him, I'm not sure what to buy. He was another of the few people in my family who could hear me. And my mom. As I wandered around the lumber department, I thought of how my parents had spoiled me. Not with gifts or money or any of those things. They liked me and they wanted to know what I was doing and thinking and wanting and knowing. So they spoiled me for this time when there really aren't very many people around who feel that way.

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