“The path was wrong, but it gave us hope.”
The ubiquitous “they” say the following, “People come into our lives at a certain time for a reason.” But what if they come at the wrong time? There is a lesson in this, too, I know, but there is also an intolerable amount of waste that comes in this. And waste tears at my heart.
There’s nothing more wrenching than wondering what could have been. It is irresolvable, this. It is stubborn, cold and merciless. It is a wound that refuses to close. It is a ghost that will not leave.
I know why I needed you. You were a real man when I was in desperate need of such an essence. You smelled like sawdust. You had the hands of someone who lovingly worked the land. Your eyes were full of stories. I wanted you to tell them to me. I wanted to sit on your knee and fall against your chest. I could see how it would happen.
Your rusty pickup was the first thing I saw each morning when I opened the coffee house.
One morning, you gave me a mixed tape of bluegrass gems. It felt like seduction, and I believe this was your intention. You were more than twice my age. I missed my Dad. It doesn’t get more Freudian than that, my friend. And if you felt foolish in falling for me, you did a good job of hiding it. You seemed to delight in tumbling headlong. Didn’t you know I was green and cruel? Didn’t you know I would crush your heart? Did you do it despite this knowledge?
All I know is that suddenly, I was living only for our Sundays. Bundled up and riding alongside the rising sun, we made our way to the farmer’s market under the bridge. We drank robust coffee, sampled artisan cheeses and chatted with our favorite vendors. And once we had all our fixin’s, we headed back to your house for a proper breakfast.
You were a chef and you taught me so many things about cooking. To this day I still sautee field greens the way you taught me. Still open garlic the way you taught me. Still enjoy the occasional glass of wine as I cook the way you taught me.
You were teaching me all the time. I know that now. It must have been something you needed. If I was ever good to you, it was in this role as eager student. I did marvel at your easy way with any manner of tasks; admired your way of looking at the world. I just had no business with my hands on your heart strings. I took your love and I pocketed the goodness for myself and I bid you farewell without so much as a thank you.
Do you know how I shall always remember you? It may surprise you because it was most likely a very casual gesture on your part.
One Sunday, I told you rather excitedly about a new wine I had discovered. I was over the moon trying to describe how it made me feel tasting that gorgeousness. And that Tuesday, I got a handmade postcard in the mail. It was a piece of cardboard with the label of the wine I had just told you about. You bought a case of it; suggested we get started making a dent in it.
That wine makes me think of so many things. It makes me think of gathering nasturtium from your garden for a salad. It makes me think of the pond you put in to care for my orphaned koi. It makes me think of the smell of solder as we worked on stained glass panels. It makes me think of how deeply I was loved and how I took it for granted.
I am all grown up now and I have forgiven myself for what I did to you. It’s just a fact that every now and again, a case of melancholy creeps in and it has your name on it. I don’t have the post card anymore, but I have that.
Efterklang – ‘Alike’
big things are happening with Tara. big things. keep tabs on her here.