Saturday, October 20, 2001

Today, assuming I take an actuarial perspective, may be the day in the center of my personal timeline. Barring unforeseen calamity or an overwhelming self-destructive personal crisis, my life will likely extend as far out ahead of me as it, today, stretches behind me.

If today is a mirror, each day in my future has a reflection in my past, each equidistant from today. Today with yesterday, tomorrow with the day before, these brother days will reflect as much contrast or sameness as my uncertain memory permits, some of the contrast valued, some not.

Today I’m lucky; my today was like yesterday, almost exactly. I took the train to the city, worked hard enough to feel valuable, made an excuse to leave early, and saw ML.

Tonight we were alone for over an hour, LG was at home in the loving care of his grandmother and we made good use of the time. We watched the sun set over the Hudson, held each other close, kissed like teens in Paris, and talked through some of the fears and complexity of our current state. It was a good hour, yesterday my heart was heavy with the weight of an uncertain future; today it feels like a heart should.

I wish that life were easy, that decisions were always without ambiguity, and that when we looked over the transoms of our lives we would see only people glad to be in our wakes, glad to have been in our lives.

Decisions, big or small, are the bifurcations in the paths of our lives, where the path taken extends to the next branch; the path untaken fades into maybe. They mold our tomorrows and make our yesterday’s (born out of yesterday's point of view, seen now through today's) seem unfamiliar; they are today’s cause, tomorrow’s effect.

They sometimes also beget the necessity of new decisions; not all paths lead on indefinitely. Sometimes, after putting it off as long as is reasonable, you have to choose either the rock or the hard place, at least for a little while.

Join the Navy, marry young (too young), leave her standing in the rain, say something stupid for the thousandth time, buy the house instead of moving into the city, keep the house after I was alone, take the startup job as the bubble bursts, send a note card to ML after her parent’s divorce, kiss ML that first time. These decisions and many others have shaped my life, none more than the last; and it is shaping hers too.

In four years, I will be forty and ML will have chosen either the rock or the hard place. If, as I hope, it is the latter, I think by then the hard place will have softened to a place of warmth, love and dreams fulfilled, and the contrast with my life four years ago at 32 will be a happy difference. Two children, ML, and a home full of love reflected against the crumbling marriage and the bitter tears and ship-adrift-in-the-storm feeling that were its side buoys.

Later, when I am fifty, I expect to find my days happily similar with their brother days at twenty-two, because at twenty-two my first marriage still had happiness, hope for the future, and the joy of togetherness, all of which I am sure will still be present in abundance some 14 years from now.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Thursday’s come and gone and our visit was all too brief, but I can smile while I remember it because I’ll see her again today. I’m also smiling because it was funny.

Out of logistical necessity, and because I haven’t seen him in a while, she brought the little guy (LG) with her yesterday. He’s still tiny, but the size 10 hat on the size six body (on the size three legs!) is an adorable sight. He’s got this stocky old man look that makes you want to call him Bruiser out of respect even though he’s too little to worry about any more; until he smiles, then he’s just an adorable little guy that you want to hug.

Children change rapidly (especially at this age?) and the most noticeable change in him, other than the smile, is his new found alertness. No longer content to while away the day napping, he is now endowed with a wide-awake curiosity whose power more than outstrips the mobility-producing capacity of his legs to satisfy it. Pick him up and you get to see his eyes riveted to the nearest item of interest, put him down and his legs start kicking in locomotion-inducing futility, and then the crying starts.

In those brief interludes between tears and noise, my love (ML) and I hold each other, kiss the way lovers separated too long kiss, tell each other all of the things we’ve been longing to tell each other, and simply relish each other’s presence.

When LG simply will not be ignored for another minute I pick him up and carry him around to see what he can see. Suddenly he is quiet, his breathing settles into a rhythm, and his eyes focus (you could say, without exaggeration, that he is transfixed) on the large Liechtenstein print hanging on the living room wall. Whether by the colorful dots that form the composition, or the subject matter of one beautiful lesbian rubbing the other one’s back that attracts his unwavering interest I don’t know, but he’s quiet.

ML sits down on the chair in front of us and I reach down with one hand to caress her cheek, she places hers under my shirt on my stomach and kisses my leg. LG notices none of this; the allure of the lesbians is too strong. For ten minutes I rock back and forth while LG takes it in, enthralled; ML presses against me and repeatedly loses herself in our touch only to come back to the reality of her son only two feet away staring at lesbians (or dots). The situation is just too funny (and too weird) to focus on being lovers, so we do what parents everywhere do when their kid is wide awake and needs stimulation, we put him in the stroller and go for a walk.

Sunday, October 14, 2001

It’s Sunday night and I’m reflecting. The chores are done (at least those that will get done), I’ve poured myself a drink, and put on some music. Like a horse finding his way home in the dark, my MP3 player starts up with the Sarah McLachlan song that was playing that first time we kissed; and I relive the whole evening in my mind as well as the events that led up to it.

Those were months of subtle words, seemingly random touches, and a burning in my chest that I knew wouldn’t go away on its own.


Do you remember the cold walk to the train station when I squeezed your hand? I don’t know what came over me. Or the way we always ended up side by side at meals? Do you know that I will never forget the feel of your cold fingers brushing across my face after you came in out of the December wind, or the look in your eyes when you first told me of your parent’s divorce, or waiting with you at the drycleaner when you dropped off you’re tailoring as well as a gift of cookies for the owner.

Of course you don’t remember that I was glad of your absence from the party that I attended with a date, but I do. Even though it couldn’t possibly matter, I didn’t want you to see me with her. And I remember when I noticed that you stopped offering to set me up with your friends. I cared even then that you not see me with anyone else, and I was glad too when I saw that you were becoming selfish of me.

At what point did we transit from the safe place of submerged interest to the less tenable terrain of subtly acknowledged desire? The place where we exchanged gifts, went out on dinners between colleagues that weren’t dates, and slipped out for coffee without inviting the others? Our growing desire for each other’s company known but not discussed, like a private joke between friends.

Three months later…

I fell in love with a woman. I meant no harm. It was as natural as the sun.

Her spirit, her raven black her, her beauty of soul, her heart and body captured me, enveloped me, and left me no escape or recourse. My strength gone, my will erased, I fell in love with her.

I fell for the quickness of her mind, her mischievous joy, her full beauty and her burgeoning motherhood. I fell hard. What else could I do?

I sometimes shed tears, like now. Tears whose source is the guilt my parents were raised to raise me to feel. But I don't really feel it, it is not mine, I am not its subject.

Those tears streaming down my face are a nod to convention, a salute to tradition, because I am supposed to cry and because I have a heart.

But how can I be sad when I am in love with a woman, such a woman, and she loves me?

I am in love with a woman and she loves me. A raven-haired full-lipped beautiful woman whose eyes I can stare into for hours, whose mind teaches me, whose heart beats with mine and I am happy.

The feeling in my heart is the feeling that defines a life. That makes one life worth living when another is empty. It is life and it makes me so glad for mine.

It is risk. It is softness with a hard edge. It is danger. It is joy tinged with the sadness of mortality and the complexity of decisions. But it is also taking, fighting, struggling, and dreaming all rolled into one.

I fell in love with a woman. I am alive. I am in love with you.


Fast forward back to tonight. It’s Sunday night and I will see her on Thursday. Four days during which I’ll be busy with work to speed the time between our calls; but not busy enough not to miss her with an intensity that still surprises me.

I will fill the empty moments with thoughts of her; both of our future together and those highlight reel moments of the last year that make me smile (usually in amazement) at every recollection…