Thursday, December 10, 2009
Before I met MathMan, I was in love with a tall, handsome and driven guy. We met, quickly fell in love, and lived together briefly until he left to go to another school. Eventually, our immaturity and the physical distance rubbed the luster away from the relationship and we were left with something not so nice. He chose to pursue his dreams and I was no longer a part of them.
He was far more driven than I was. He believed in himself and his talents while I was still just treading water, unsure about my future and quite convinced that there was nothing special about me. He'd know for much of his life what he wanted to be and he did, eventually become that. No, that's not right. He always was that. His gift is part of who he is.
I'd forgotten until recently, that he'd also encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I didn't believe that I had any talent so the notion that I could actually follow a career into writing seemed like so much fluff. It was pie, sky, not something this girl could do.
When he left to go to art school, he gave me a journal covered in red fabric. It's one of my life's treasures like the kid's newborn hospital bracelets and the shattered remains of the glass MathMan stomped to the joyous cries of Mazel Tov at the end of our wedding. On the first page, he wrote me a message that ended with this postscript: Remember - all good writers keep journals, too! Even as he moved on to follow his destiny, he was nudging me toward mine.
It only took me twenty-four years to figure out what he was telling me. Write - you want to be a writer - so write.
So that's my friend. I still love him. It's not the desperate, clutching, crazy love of a twenty year old, but it's the love you have for old friends who shared special times with you. He was key in my discovery of that world outside my little Midwestern existence. Over time, we lost touch. Life got busy and his first ex-wife didn't like me and who knows what else makes friendships fade into the background. Last year, we reconnected and have developed a zany kinship that provides us with the chance to enjoy each others company without all the sexual tension and angst of youth.
As life would have it, things did not turn out so well for him in his marriages and he is now is a state of flux. While he waits out his particular situation, he's discovered that he had some unfulfilled needs. I'm not sure why - having been burned twice or because I'm off the market - he doesn't seem to desire a long term relationship, but he'd like some help polishing his apple. When he first shared with me the length of his sexual drought, I refrained from teasing him too much and instead dove head first into a discussion about procuring some professional help for his needs.
What began as a joke eventually became a reality. I think he was afraid to tell me at first. He wrote me to tell me that his drought was over and I responded with the appropriate level of hells yeah!!!! Was it good? because I'm pretty much a guy when it comes to things like this. I stopped short of asking for details. We do have some barriers, no matter how weak they are.
After he got over the fact that I wasn't going to mock him for having used the services of a professional, he suggested that I help him seek out his next carnal encounter. Because neither of us know when to stop the joke, this led to me looking at escort sites last night as my children slept and MathMan watched the beginning of Orson Welle's The Third Man. Can I just tell you that is quite the experience to go shopping for a date? Sure, sure, I know some of you are wondering how I could take part in the selling of the flesh, but let's not debate that here. I could tell you that not one of those presumably educated women appeared to be under any duress to do what they do for a living.
Before I went to work on my search for just the right woman to make my friend's weekend a little less, um, lonely, I did have a phone conversation with him to learn how things went with his first date. No, I didn't ask for or receive details about sex acts performed, but I did inquire about the process. What I learned was rather sweet with just the hint of piquant commercialism. The outcome was, after all, a given. As my friend noted "None of what I did really mattered, I was going to get laid anyway."
True enough, but at least both adults involved went to the trouble of behaving as if this were a date instead of a financial transaction. First he described how he directed his "date" to his location, where he lives alone. The rest of the conversation went like this:
Him: I even vacuumed the apartment and changed the sheets.
Me: Well, that's saying something!
Him: I know, right? It's more than I do for myself.
Me: Okay, then what?
Him: Well, I went out and bought three different kinds of champagne.
Me: Very nice!
Me: Anything else?
Him: Yes. I put out a cheese plate.
Me: A cheese plate?
Him: Yes, I offered her a variety of cheeses.
A variety of cheeses? Dear lord, he prepped for his "date" just like my mother prepares to host a Home Ec Club meeting.
I finally stopped laughing long enough to take notes. You never know when you're going to need story material, you know?