My phone has been quiet all day. There are two I’d hoped I might but didn’t expect to hear from, but those are long stories of which I don’t know even most of the details so I’m doing my best to pretend I’m not disappointed. The calls will eventually come, for other reasons, and they’ll make excuses that they’ll pretend are true and valid and I’ll pretend to accept those excuses at face value.
As predicted, Amethyst wished me a happy Father’s Day. I told her that while I appreciate the thought it’s a day that means either nothing or a slap in the face to me, depending upon my mood at the time, so I’d rather just ignore it. What’s family to me? Family is what we call those whom we allow to take advantage of us in ways we would never allow others. She said, “Hey, I’m family!’. My response: No, you’re my Amethyst.
I can’t get even half way to adequately explaining what that means. She was my high school sweetheart and remains to this day the only woman I’ve ever truly loved — the rest were just going through the motions or even less meaningful than that. The loss of her all those years ago stands out as the greatest psychic pain I’ve ever known and the closest to suicidal I’ve ever been. I went for years, about 24 of them, trying to convince myself that it was all just first love, a thing that can only happen when you’re quite young, inexperienced, pumped on hormones, fueled by fantasy, and all of that other stuff that makes being a late teenager so interesting and confusing and wonderful and fucked up. But something deep inside always countered with that wee small voice that said, “No, man, you know better than that”. We were all of those things, surely, except fueled by fantasy. We knew and clearly saw each others foibles, faults, and imperfections even then, but they did not matter. We’ve both still got all of the same foibles, faults, and imperfections, and some newer ones besides, but they still do not matter. They’re what make us who we are, what make us compatible, what bring the symmetry and symbiosis to our relationship. And that’s what makes all the difference in the world.
If it were just first love the intensity would surely have quickly gone out of it when we reunited at 40/41 years of age, both of us battered and bruised by life in the years we spent apart. We were both, truth be told, cynical as hell and if not for each other happy with the prospect of finishing out our lives without significant romantic relationships. If it worked, it worked, and if it didn’t, it didn’t. It actually started out as plans for a visit and nothing more, but over the course of many all night telephone conversations it became clear that we just couldn’t get enough of each other and I told her, “You know, once you get here you’re never leaving again”, and she agreed that it was very unlikely. She wasn’t here very long at all when I told her that if she wanted to go she was free to leave, “… but it’s a long walk to the bus station in Grand Junction”. So now “it’s a long walk to Grand Junction” is one of our inside jokes.
That’s why, “You’re my Amethyst” is so much more and better than “you’re my wife” or “you’re my family” or anything else that I could say. She’s the one who changed my life all those years ago and showed me how wonderful it could be, and even if we’d never reestablished communication she’d still be that. If she were to have ended our visit and gone back down the road that brought her, she’d still be that. If she were to tell me two minutes from now that she hates my greasy guts and is leaving, she’d still be the one who changed my life all those years ago. But she’s even more than that now, eleven plus years into our reunion, and I’m certain that she’s not ever going to tell me that she’s leaving, or sticking around despite not liking me so very much any more.
And that’s not even half sufficient an explanation of it.
So no one who calls me Dad sent me a card or rang my phone. They’re in their 30’s, have lives of their own that I’m not all that big a part of, and that’s okay. I’m mildly disappointed, but I know what’s most important in my life of my own that those 30-something kids aren’t all that big a part of, and the one who’s most important to me is just about eight feet away on the other side of my office ceiling. There’s a heater vent above my desk, immediately beyond it is the one next to our bed, and at this time of night I can often just hear her breathing as she sleeps. That’s a hell of a lot better than any ringing telephone could ever be.