I’m going to meet Ell. Butterflies. I walked up to the door. It opens.
I’m shocked, instantly.
Now my friends all know that I have many a fantasy running in my head. I want the world to be one way, it is another.
Please, please, please do not misunderstand. Ell has never said an unkindly thing. Her work is probably saintly. Via email, text and phone she has inspired me in my poetry.
Call me a hypocrite for claiming tolerance. I have issues over weight and so does she. Mine are psychological, hers are physical. Sorry, but she does not look like her pictures. I stumble through the day. She is a perfect hostess. I am a perfect gentleman. I’m chastising myself to look past this one issue. I try. Being a coward, I never address the elephant in the room (now stop that, not her, the issue). Eventually, I leave diplomatically.
I called back from the road. It was a long drive back home, real long.
Let us say we had a disagreement over the situation, with her pointing out some of my shortcomings. She scored some points by reminding me I could not see the future and what her intentions were. I was suffering from cognitive dissonance.
Over the next several days we talked. She tried very hard to recapture the past and convince me of the future, which included the two of us together. I wrote her:
Life is a jumbling, tumbling mess, Where we honestly try our best. But that is not always enough, To bring all of us through the tough. And end in a jumbling, tumbling mess.
In the end, amazingly, we stayed friendly. I kept corresponding with her both as a friend and as my “poetry editor”. I continued writing and she continued to like everything I wrote.
And then one day she called with awful news. She had been diagnosed with cancer.
Please, meaning no disrespect, but I’m going to skip ahead to: she was treated successfully.
During this time an amazing thing happened. She reached out to a very old friend, who turns out to have always had a flame for her. He was available and willing to come help her through this tough time. He did. They decided to get married. He bought them a house on the lake.
I’ve never heard from her since.
I sent her this poem. I don’t know if she liked it:
Two fast sailing ships met on the sea. The SSA and the SSB. Both courses were running parallel. So close, being spotted on each swell. Long from port, long at sea Enjoying each other’s company. Swapping stories, comparing sights, Happily they passed through the night. With busy crews and too much sea. Back they went, on with their journeys. Often the case, noted in the logs. They drifted apart, lost in the fog. Many storms later, beaten by the sea. With places they would much rather be. Being plagued by alternate visions, Wondering which were the right decisions. A harsh mistress they say of the sea. How can it make anyone that happy. But luck and the right currents and winds, What was lost may be recovered again. Thus written is one legend of the sea. When the SSA re-found the SSB Joyous celebration was the report. Now they reside in the same small port.