Somewhere in the garage he had a larger version of that picture. It was one of his favorites.
In his late thirties/early forties it had become a mantra that he used to push himself to take chances and step outside of his comfort zone.
Some of his oldest friends laughed at it because they said fear had never ruled him but he wasn’t so sure it could be applied as broadly as they wanted to.
Zip lines, cliff diving, sky diving and all sorts of adrenaline rush crap was easy for him to do and always had been. That kind of stuff never scared him, what frightened him had always been tied into his feelings.
Big tough guy was more worried about getting his heart broken than breaking his arm so he tended to focus on doing thing where he was certain it wouldn’t.
It was the root of why after she broke up with him and went silent he didn’t reach out. He remembered how some of those that knew them in the old days had pushed him to call or write her and how when he refused they told him his pride would make him sorry.
None of them recognized pride played a minor role or knew the real story behind his silence. He wasn’t the kind of guy who shared his real feelings easily and was reluctant to do so with those who asked let alone those who didn’t.
But those days were like so many other parts of his life, history and in spite of what some thought he lived in the present.
There was a difference between him and other people and that was a writer had to be able to look backwards and forwards. They had to look at what had been and remember what they had experienced. That ability to dip in the dark shadows and the light was crucial to their success.
The key was to allow yourself the freedom to move back and forth between the moments.
It made him think of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and how listening to it always made him think of her and how it made it think of them as being timeless. He didn’t have to close his eyes to see her face or to picture her eyes locked on his.
He made a note to mention it to her and to ask her when she thought of him who she saw because when he thought of her sometimes it was as the girl he knew and sometimes it was as she was now.
The thought made him make a second mental note to think about how to explain that to her in a way that didn’t make her feel like he was commenting upon her age because he wasn’t.
If she got upset he thought about pointing out how quickly her presence made him respond. It wasn’t the most elegant way to try to tell someone you think they are beautiful and he wondered if she would touch upon that.
The downside of being a writer people expect you to do a better job of expressing yourself. When you do so poorly they always reacted strongly to it.
So he grabbed a pen and started writing down possible ways to tell her. He had almost come up with perfection when he was startled by the phone ringing.
When he jumped his elbow hit the glass of water he had been drinking from and drenched the page. Quick thinking kept his cell from being drowned in the deluge too.
He was two steps towards the kitchen when he answered it and discovered she was the one who was calling.
“I hope you are on your way now because if you are not you are going to be late.”
“Of course I am. What is the best exit?”
“If you actually left on time I’d get off at Coventry but since I know you I’d suggest you change your shirt and put your pants on because I don’t believe you have left.”
“Ok, you got me. I am almost out the door. How did you know I hadn’t left yet?”
“The same way you claim to just know things. I know you and that is why I am calling you early enough to make sure you actually get here on time. Now hang up the phone and get moving.”
The smile in her voice made him smile too.
“I’ll see you sooner than you think.”
They said their respective goodbyes and he got a move on. It wasn’t until he was almost there that he realized he couldn’t remember what he written down.
Wasn’t worth turning around for. Better to be on time, he could wait to tell her. Of course if she could hear his thoughts she would have laughed and told him he wouldn’t but people never see themselves as clearly as their loved ones do.