My eyes teared up as I pulled out of Whim's driveway yesterday afternoon and now, barely 24 hours later, I already miss her terribly. Our all-too-short time together was wonderful, it was one of those incredibly rare moments when the reality lives up to the fantasy and I never wanted it to end, but alas, it had to...for now, anyway.
My heart, my mind, my soul and my body have been restored in ways that I wasn't aware were possible and I will cherish the memories of my time with her as long as I live...Whim has posted a brief summary of my visit on her blog ( I am warm and fuzzy when I think of all the heartfelt good wishes left by her readers and friends, just as I am when I read the ones left here) so I will recount a strange and marvelously surprising moment I had shortly after returning to my empty, Whim-less apartment .
The drive home was harrowing, at times downright terrifying...I hit one of the heaviest thunderstorms I have ever seen and that storm seemed to follow my car for over a hundred miles- I desperately wanted to find an exit and sit it out, but I couldn't even see the highway signs, it was all I could do to follow the taillights ahead of me and hope that they could see the road...eventually, I did pull over and wait a while, but as soon as I got back on the road I ran into the storm again...I will get through this, I thought. I did.
When I finally arrived at home I was greeted by the smell of unhappy cats...I was too tired and happy to get mad or disgusted though...after calling my sweetie to let her know I was OK, I set about cleaning and catching up on my messages and emails...I had no pressing emails, just a few phone messages, one of which threatened to disrupt my exhausted euphoric state- it was from my father.
On one hand, I was glad to hear his voice- he never did return the call I made on Father's Day and I -as is so often the case- was not sure if he was still alive. On the other hand, I expected him to have drunken, hateful words.
His quaky message said he tried to listen to my radio show but the DJ filling in for me announced that I was out of town...something in my dad's drunken, recorded voice seemed annoyed that I would leave town, which is typical of him...rarely has he ever shown support or approval for anything I do, in fact, he has a way of tearing down everything I do; no matter how old I get, my father will always know exactly how to wound me with words, spoken and otherwise, so it was with mixed feelings that I returned his call. Perhaps he won't answer, I thought, that would make this easier.
He answered on the second ring, his voice registering his besotted condition. Oh fuck, here we go...
He told me that he had talked to the Twin and been filled in on my short vacation plans. How did it go, he asked.
"It was great", I said. "I wish I was still there". Truer words have never passed my lips.
"So she wasn't a psycho, she didn't try to tie you up and keep you hostage or anything", asked Dad in his typically boorish, drunken manner. I bit my tongue and tried to be polite.
"Uh, no. I already knew her very well and I wasn't worried about that", I replied. My dad doesn't really know about my blog-life (or my real one, for that matter) and he has a somewhat dated view on how 'virtual' friendships work. ( I wish he'd stop drinking and start blogging, but later for that).
I braced myself for the inevitable hostile sarcasm and insults.
"So tell me about her."
And I did. I was surprised as I heard myself speak, I had an endless supply of good things to say and I seldom have anything good to say when I'm talking to my father. When I was done, I paused and waited for him to rip my giddy, exhausted babblings to shreds. He didn't.
My father is a drunk and a mean one to boot. He knows no joy and at times he seems to take pleasure in the failings and sufferings of others, his children being no exception...but this was different. He listened as I rambled on about the limitless virtues and wonders of my friend and lover, about my happiness and how good my time with her was...when he did speak, it was to ask questions- nice questions- about her. I found that I really wanted to talk to my father about her, I wanted him to know how I felt. Our tiny, decimated family has been without any sort of happiness for years and that needs to change. I want the sorrow to end.
"You sound happy", observed my father.
"I am. I'm so tired that I can barely think or talk, but I'm very happy." I was sure he was getting ready to tell me why I shouldn't be happy but he didn't do that.
"I'm really glad it worked out," he said, catching me off-guard, " I'm happy just listening to you talk." Was he crying? He was.
I have told Whim that there is something powerful and magical about her and that is certainly true- my words of her were enough to make my father happy for me.
I can't remember the last time- there may not be one- that my father was happy for me. After I hung up the phone I cried sweet tears and it felt good. I know that I have the capacity to love and be loved, to feel joy in the happiness of those I care about, but I thought my father lacked (or had lost) that basic human ability. He hasn't, not entirely. When he said he was happy for me I could tell he meant it.
He even asked me about my plans for the future. It's far too soon to go there, but he offered to help me if I needed it and his offer made me feel good about him, which is something I didn't know I could feel.
I went to sleep alone but not alone. I have joy in my heart and that is a feeling that I never wish to lose. I need that.
I want life to be good and it is.