For the last year, since the November meteor shower and the awkward exchange with Mr. Wild Card that stunted our friendship, I have been nearly invisible. There was a time when I would return from a hike or an adventure to a new town and my Mom would ask, Who did you meet? What she meant was, What man approached you this time? On occassion I was relieved to tell her about an encounter with a woman so that she didn’t think I was walking around the streets and hills of Marin panting after single men.
My energy was definitely tilting toward the masculine.
There was Mr. Jackpot easing my transition out of my marriage by reintroducing me to the wild west version of Nature, Mr. Triathlete gifting me the courage to become an endurance athlete by launching me out into the bay in a wet suit for the very first time, and Mr. Delicious coaxing me to never let my romantinc side waste away with each sip of wine and bite of edible heaven we shared between San Francisco and Napa. The boy with the severed finger expressing gratitude for my help and planting the seed that I can help others. Which I hope I did over a brief period of time for Mr. Viking as his wound healed. From him I learned discernment. A most necessary lesson. One that makes me feel self-sufficient, independent, safe, less easily upended. I’m forever grateful for the time they spent helping me boulder hop through that tumultous time in my life.
My Mom was right – fascinating encounters bubbled over in the first year post Pocket Call. With the exception of meeting Mr. Viking early on, year two post Pocket Call seems to have been about isolation so I could reflect. So I could regenerate, as the starfish pointed out with all of its arms during the negative tide in Stinson Beach this time last year.
After a weekend full of shooting stars and signs last November, the dudes and I returned to the home we would soon leave, unbeknown to us. I sat at the keys trying to make sense of my feelings. Exactly one year ago today (11/14/13) I wrote:
Am I attracted by the shiny? Experiencing some sort of divorce menopause? Has my inner romanticist run amok? What’s next? Surfing lessons and a 25 year old boyfriend named Beau? Isn’t it just a little Disney?
Seeing hundreds of starfish begged for a look through the animal totem cards. Themes of regeneration and the connection between the earth and sea and the sky made sense. An encounter with a starfish suggested the need for an energy shield. Something in my life may take a year to regenerate, but when it does, it will be better and more abundant.
At the time I thought of Mr. Wild Card. Maybe now it’s not meant to be, but a year from now perhaps. It was hard for me to swallow that pill. I had already been on the first date, had the first kiss, and played out the conversation where I told him that I was not looking for that moving sidewalk style relationship. I’m not courting with a purpose. I’m not even divorced yet! All the while picturing our next date, and our next date, and the one after that…
I craved quiet moments in the car so I could think of him. I glanced at my phone when a text came in and before reading his I was already smiling. We shared the same passions – fishing, sports – extreme and spectator, intellectually stimulating conversations, hidden hamlets, risk-taking adventures, a wry sense of humor. He was confident, a big presence in a room. I was smitten. And certain that there was much to explore between us. But something knocked me off-center at just the point when our baby friendship was about to hit puberty.
At times over the past year, as you well know, I wondered what happened. Why the stilted hellos and dis-ease. Phone conversations ceased, texting dried up, that little drawing game we played came to an end. I thought, One day I’ll ask him what happened.
And then I decided, No. He doesn’t need to shine light on what happened. You have the answer. It lies with being unconscious about the power you have given your Ego. That sent me off on a relevatory expedition where I discovered just how much of a leadership role my Ego had taken in my life. The Ego benching began in July. It’s still a work in progress.
That Ego is one resilient little…sucker.
Along came a day in October, after learning of my Mom’s cancer diagnosis and just before flying home to be with her. I was restless and needed to write somewhere besides the Calmmune. To Stinson I went, knowing that I may encounter him. It didn’t matter – one way or the other. Seeing him wouldn’t alter they way I felt about being in Stinson that day or any other day.
As I recently wrote, we did meet. And not a moment was awkward. For the first time in a year it was two friends who ran into each other. I didn’t need to ask Why? or smooth things over or put him at ease. It was just easy on its own. I got my writing done in between bursts of conversation and we said goodbye. My inner happiness was not altered in any way by the encounter.
It was a great day. Like a lot of other days that didn’t involve an encounter with a great guy – Mr. Wild Card or any another.
I didn’t expect to see him for a few months. That had been the pattern as of late.
But then came November 6th.
The night before, I landed at San Francisco International airport having spent a week back east where I didn’t once feel anxious or negatively impacted by the frenetic energy of the tri-state area. My Mom’s smile, her enthusiasm for life, her wit, the way she plays solitaire while watching football and yet still manages to hold a conversation, all overshadowed her diagnosis. I can’t speak for her, but I didn’t think about cancer while I was with her. I was too busy enjoying her company and consuming copious amounts of chocolate.
Adults say they don’t trick or treat, but it’s basically the same when you buy a 5 pound bag of candy knowing full well that your door bell will ring 10 times at most. Nobody is fooled by that move.
I spent a week full of family love, and even managed to get to the gym twice to burn off some mini Snickers, which if combined would have been the largest Snickers known to man.
Oh, and I had one very memorable adult evening in New York City.
With Mr. Delicious.
Which was totally unexpected.
We hadn’t seen each other in…drum roll…one year. The last time we met we stared at the sky as fighter jets took over the San Francisco Bay. This time we stood in the window of a bar in the Flatiron district and stared up at the Empire State Building while we sipped cocktails with candied ginger and herbs and tequila.
Basically a salad with booze in it. Or booze with a salad in it.
Let’s just say I had a balanced diet that night.
Earlier, we met at The Modern, a restaurant next to the Museum of Modern Art. He was perched on the first seat at the bar, impeccably dressed, and more handsome than last year. Aging will suit him quite well; at 80 he will still smoulder. We embraced and decamped to a table where forks and glasses were passed back and forth and a year of experiences retold. We never lost touch over the last year, but we didn’t make time to see each other. A girl came into his life and every man left mine. While I was isolated in Bolinas he was in the thick of things in the wine country with a frenetic schedule that culminated with an equally frenetic relocation. He had one week’s notice before he packed up and moved to New York City, a place he had hoped to live in all his adult life.
I only came to know he had moved when I sent him a text asking for a restaurant suggestion in San Fransisco for an evening out with my brother’s wife. 4 weeks later we would be sharing tuna tartare and then a cab to the Ace Hotel where we looked out the plate glass window of the bar next door up at that deco masterpiece, the Empire State Building.
No, kittens. We did not get a room. But he did steal a kiss. Well, truth be told I didn’t exaclty have to be mugged for him to get it.
My official first post-divorce kiss, with the papers signed just two days earlier.
It was all I hoped it would be and not at all expected.
And when the evening wrapped, and I got into a hired car my Mom insisted I take instead of the train at that late hour, I didn’t look back or ahead. I just closed my eyes. One thing was clear – that night I kept my energy to myself, even with all the closeness we shared. Which proved to be relaxing for me and apparently alluring for Mr. Delicious.
A few days later I flew home, leaving my Mom with kisses and a wave, my heart not heavy. I refused. After a little conversation with my Ego that lasted through check-in, my emotions took their proper place, which is not in the limelight. My time with her, whatever amount is left because each day we all die a little, will not be spent in mourning the inevitable. It will be spent celebrating life.
A love story awaited me on the plane. One produced by Virgin America. A short film about the perfect rythym of life. A woman and a man met in mid-air. She was engaged. He was taken. By her. They were reading the same book. He couldn’t think of anything but her after they parted ways and took connecting flights to different destinations. He abruptly changed his itinerary and tracked her down. On one of those Virgin planes with the super cool sleeping chambers for international flights. (I don’t need to fly anywhere in one, but I really want to check them out.) She knew he was meant for her, but she felt obligated to follow through with what was expected of her instead of listening to her intuition.
Then they met again, in an airport terminal, after years had transformed their youthful glow to one that was clouded by wrinkles, their bodies a bit frail, their clothing more for comfort than charm.
They found love. I found myself drenched with tears.
The ocean was a black sheet to my left as I wound my way north on Highway 1. Stinson Beach was barely lit and dead asleep. I passed through and continued along the lagoon to the unmarked turn-off for Bolinas. I knew I would be on the beach the next day – the drive had been a tease.
In the late morning on the 6th I felt moved to send Mr. Wild Card this text:
Hitting the beach around 4 for a walk. Wanna break a sweat?
In reply…That’s not breaking a sweat, but I’ll walk!
We spent two hours walking the beach at a good clip, but it was too brisk for perspiration. The conversation was not for the lazy-minded. We spoke about dating and the masks people are prone to wearing which don’t disguise but highlight their fears. And how women and men are self-conscious, distracted by trying to be all things to all people, to be accepted by others, instead of being true to themselves. We talked about blind dates and marriage. I found this comment to be particularly honest and insightful:
I’m glad I’m not anyone’s first husband.
By the time we said goodbye the stars were out, the sun had long since slipped below the horizon and sleepy little Stinson Beach was yawning. We hugged in the middle of town, a bear hug, and I drove off. Firmly present in the moment, all my energy intact. I wasn’t thinking about anything beyond, That was a few hours very well-spent.
It was the first time we had been alone together. Ever.
And we both survived.
Which is more than I can say about starfish.
After trusting their message, that in a year’s time I will regenerate (generator – the clue that the message was not about Mr. Wild Card or men, but about energy) and be filled with abundance, now I must trust that they, too, can regenerate.
Because they’re dying.
At an alarming pace.
Love yourself and please love them,