Questions With No Answers

 

Before social distancing became the in thing, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in thirty years…jeez…more like forty.  I was excited to see her…considering our history excited is not the best descriptor.  Thrilled is a better word.  I was thrilled to see her.

We had a short-term tryst back in the day…just scratching certain itches.  Nothing heavy, a “friends with benefits” kind of thing before “friends with benefits” was a thing…it was the “free love” Seventies after all.  As I think back, I realize there was nothing free about love or even its unreasonable facsimile, lust.

She didn’t recognize me, even when I tried to explain who I was.  Despite the empty feeling in my stomach, I didn’t push it.  She seemed anxious in a bad way.  I think she’s had a stroke or is self-medicating…am I being narcissistic?  Maybe it was my beard, the balding head?  No, I believe there was something wrong.

She seemed frail and infirm.  A woman who once strode through the world confidently was reduced to little shuffles reminiscent of a Chinese woman who had had her feet bound.  The strong alto voice lacked volume and power.  The tall, long-legged, pleasing body seemed to be collapsing in on itself.  Always slender in a good way, she was much too thin.  Maybe it was me looking back on memories through my rose-colored reading glasses.

We remained friends after we both moved on to other places and people…at least I thought we had.  At some point, she seemed to disappear…but, not from memory.  I’ve thought of her often over the years wondering what happened to her.  Wondering if she was happy.  Remembering how foolish I had been.

I wondered if she had moved to a distant part of the world.  Whenever I asked friends, “Have you heard from….”, the answer was always in the negative.

In the mid-80s she decided she was gay and fell under the influence of a “stereotypical” lesbian woman.  You may substitute whatever “stereotype” you wish.  This woman is much more than a stereotype and stereotypes are such oversimplifications.

Still, the time was the Eighties and I was shocked and full of questions.  I’ve often wondered if she crossed over because she was truly lesbian or was it because she had been wounded so many times by people of my gender…or was it I was such a bad lover and friend I drove her to it.  Insecure much?  Ah…yes!

She stumbled and fell over several relationships during those late Seventies and early Eighties.  I wonder if I helped to trip her up as she attempted to recover.  An unwanted splinter under the fingernail of life.  You can tell she is an enigma, she always was.

Are my concerns more about me and my own guilt?  Is it about my own narcissism?  Is it my over-inflated self-importance?  Questions I can’t answer.  Maybe questions I fear to answer.  My greatest question, “Are you happy?”  I hope the answer is yes.

There are questions I can’t even ask.  My friend has dropped off the face of the earth even though she lives exactly where she has always lived.

I think about the crowd we ran with during those thrilling days of yesteryear.  Those days we were lucky to survive.  Those of us still alive have remained in touch.  More so as we have gotten older.  It is as if she has cut all ties with those days and the people who inhabited them with her.   Maybe she wanted to move forward while the rest of us are pulled toward the past.  I know I once did the same thing when my own mistakes became too much of a burden.  Memories too painful to remember…except you do.

Questions, more questions.  Answers, no answers.

***

Don Miller’s author’s page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR0813oF-UzSxgl3eyxNYLytu5JhnD70NuizUBdFlbjT2LTyVAXjPEBJZZE

The Things You Don’t Expect to See…

 

…that can’t be unseen.

It’s cloudy and mostly dark…it’s supposed to be dark.  It’s seven-thirty on a very late October morning.  If it had cleared I would have noted that the sun was still below the horizon as I began my morning exercise, a three or four-mile walk through my little piece of heaven.

I’ve seen animals, reptiles, and birds of all sorts on my early morning walks.  I’ve been dive-bombed by hawks, pulled up short by a brown bear, sent back to the house by a pack of red eyes peering back at me, reflected in the light of my headlamp.  There have been deer and turkeys a plenty.  I’ve been ankle attacked by a pigmy potbellied pig, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like ‘is.

I’ve passed vehicles parked along the little spur of a road called Airline Lane.  Usually, they are hunters this time of year or maybe a carload of college kids who had an impromptu party at the lone pull off and decided to stay and sleep it off.  Much safer than defying fate by driving drunk and sneaking back onto the campus of the nearby Christian university.

Not quite wide enough to be a double track, the gravel road was recently paved and is not wide enough for people to really pull off onto a shoulder that does not exist.  Not quite enough road for the big Ram 2500 with big ole tires and a big ole covered trailer.

The behemoth sat quietly right in the middle of the road like a sedated prehistoric mammoth.  I approached it from behind unable to see anything in the truck.  I walked up on the driver’s side making sure I was visible in the big west coast mirrors.  It didn’t matter, they weren’t paying attention to anything but themselves.

I was careful, unsure of what I might run into.  I’ve seen too many slasher films and fully expected to find a mutilated dead body or five.  If they were still in this world, I didn’t want to scare them and get myself shot.  I didn’t scare them, and I didn’t get shot…I did get shocked.  An old saying ran through my mind, “Please put some clothes on, you’re scaring the animals.”

Glancing inside of the cab I found they wuz nekid as jaybirds and enjoying the fine morning in a way I only faintly remember.  I resisted knocking on the window and asking, “Hey y’all.  What y’all doin’ this fine morning.”

I applaud their passion…especially at the crack of dawn on a lonely country road.  How romantic…or moronic.  If I were rating them like an Olympic event it would have been near-perfect score…not that they cared.  They were as oblivious as I was embarrassed.  Thankfully they never saw me.  I wish I hadn’t seen them.  Talk about a broad expanse of white.  That boy’s butt ain’t never seen the light of day and girl watch out you might break the window pushing on it like that.

I’ve seen passion on a country road before, but it always involved farm animals.  I wondered if they simply pulled off for a nap during the night and woke up in an amorous mood that morning or if at the crack of dawn, the urge hit them, and throwing caution to the wind, conveniently chose my little lane as the site for their acte d’amour.

I am reminded of earlier days from a lifetime ago, but no I ain’t nevah done that.  Pondered on it but I tended to scout my sparkin’ spots ahead of time.  There is something to be said for spontaneity…or stupidity in the name of lust.

Oh well, maybe a scene for a future book.  To be young and foolish again…in love or at least, in a reasonable facsimile.  I tip my hat to you and am glad you had exited my little piece of heaven by the time I returned.

Don Miller’s rants, raves, and humor can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM