4:44 PM, Sunday, May 24th, 2009:
A year ago today, Donna walked out... alive thankfully - but gone nonetheless. I could never have imagined the connections I would have a year later, and that my outlook on life would be so fundamentally changed culminating in this entry...
After a lifetime spent redefining roles in a relationship, my heart has become so accustomed to it... that I embrace it. Meaning, I'm so used to maintaining a friendship after the "Happily Ever After" crumbles... that I'm making connections that I know romantically won't be forever - but the connection will be. There are women in my life right now that I love dearly, but won't end up with for whatever reason, and it doesn't stop us from being so much more than friends -- even if it actually IS just friends -- from 2500 miles away. I've never felt more loved, satisfied or supported in my entire life. It's a completely honest, open way of living and because the pressure to be together forever isn't there? Everything just floats downstream. It isn't without some jealousies and hurt feelings, but when communication is open? That shit is short-lived. The end result are moments that really are a suspension of time and wonderfully romantic. But I'm not sure anything in my single-life will ever top this:
As I watched her look at me with complete asexuality in her eyes, it occured to me her spirit was dead. That spirit had transferred to her daughter whom she clearly felt deserved "a man like me" and her pattern of motherhood continued as she talked of ways to set us up. I blurted out a line that 5 sips of whiskey beforehand would have certainly stayed in my head.
"What about you? I'm right here."
I wasn't hitting on this woman as much as I was holding up a mirror to her and asking her why she didn't think she deserved this man she continually complimented. She stoppedin the middle of her kitchen, dumbfounded, and tried to process what she had just heard. She had gone so long assuming that portion of her life was over since her husband died, that it barely registered. I smiled and we continued to talk.
We happened upon a story of hers that captured my imagination. Her husband, though wonderful and clearly "the one" for her, ended up ruining their trip to Paris by being in a foul mood and it stuck with her for years. She had built up the city so much in her heart and the memory was completely tarnished because of how that trip turned out. My reply was instant.
"Meet me in Paris, we'll change that."
If ever there was a more symbolic sentence uttered in my life, I don't remember it. Those seven words I said while I looked her dead in the eyes were my way of yelling: "WAKE UP. You are alive. Your life is what you make it. You didn't die in that car wreck years ago. You aren't too old to have a love affair. Women don't become less beautiful with age, real men know they become moreso."
I'm certain I could've pulled a rabbit out of my left eye-socket and still not gotten the reaction I got when she understood I was serious. As ridiculous as it was, she couldn't answer one thing: "Why not?". Oh she tried. In the coming days she would make all sorts of excuses for why not and find new and inventive ways to talk herself out of happiness. However, because my suggestion was so audacious, she was faced with quite a spectacular "what-if" if she declined to jump. So Ann Walker bought a ticket to Paris and felt the rush of life like she hadn't in decades. Her entire life refocused as she realized just how damaged her spirit had been the previous few years. Who was she to be asleep? To think she wasn't alive? To think life wasn't what you make it? To think that she died in that car wreck years ago. To think she was too old to have a love affair. Didn't she know that women become more beautiful with age and that real men know that?


The most beautiful thing about that story to me (other than it being completely true) is that it could never have happened if not for this website. The Journey has made me look at my life like an ever-changing picture book and fill it with stories and connections that will live on forever. Whereas most people would have burned any picture of Donna after what happened, I couldn't if I wanted to. Our gorgeous Central Park video is 4 clicks away from this page... and because you can't run from it? You have to process it. It becomes a suspended moment in time that feels identical to when it was first put up if you click the entry/video. It will live forever though we did not. Ann and I will not be building a life together. We will not be picking out tile and talking about the grandkids (which in her case is most certainly a present-tense activity - HAAAAAAAAAAAA). The script is clear: She needed a wake-up call and it came in the form of a man who brazenly invited her to meet him in Paris and right a wrong from her past. We will, it will be incredibly romantic and wonderful, and we will continue on our path soon thereafter. The connection will never go away, even as we talk about the other people we're seeing or the events in our lives. This will always be a crossroads in her life - and I cannot wait to see where it takes her.
And hey, who am I kidding? I get to spend time with one of the sassiest, sexiest, funniest, and now "full-of-life" women I've ever met and be a part of what she called "the dearest suspension of time" as we rebrand the city of Paris learning everything we can about the other person and celebrating our past successes and failures.
I'm livin' this life for now...
Congrats on the jump Ann.
PS - lyrics:
I've spent a lifetime redefining love and war,
You watched a life pass and you stopped lookin' for more,
And all of that has taught us,
All of that has caught us,
And all of that has brought us here today....
So I'm just gonna live this life for now,
The where the when the why the how,
'Cause we both had lives before, and we watched them crashin' down,
I'm just gonna live this life for now.
You watched me offer you a future memory,
I knew "what-if" would make you jump along with me,
And all of this will show you,
And all of this will grow you,
All of this will blow your dreams away...
So I'm just gonna live this life for now,
The where the when the why the how,
'Cause we both had lives before, and we watched them crashin' down,
I'm just gonna live this life for now.