Anata, Rei-sama –
Okay… hopefully, I’ve put off all of those who might be scared off by the gratuitous Japanese. We can talk in reasonable privacy.
I’m starting this letter I’m sitting on a park bench in Kimball Hill Park, staring at the fountain in the middle of the lake.
You and I would spend many late Saturday mornings walking around this lake with Chompers. It was exercise for us, relief for him, and a chance to talk about… I don’t know what, anymore. I wish I had recordings of those days; there are times I can barely remember your voice anymore. Even the most mundane things would now be so… treasured.
More recently, Erin and I walked the length and breadth of this park a time or two as she begun her training for yesterday’s marathon. Wonder what she plans to do with herself next – her coworker was talking to her about running in next year’s marathon, and she seemed to demur – maybe another time, but next year was too soon. Or maybe it’s just too soon to make that kind of decision; certainly, in her exhausted state, she was in no mood to consider it again in the immediate future.
Which begs the question of certain runners who might actually have been crazy enough to have hopped a flight and shown up in Boston to run today. I know I saw a few folks with medallions on the blue line as I headed home yesterday afternoon, staying on even after I got out at Rosemont; the only other stop after that is O’Hare Airport. Two marathons in two days; now that is madness.
And now, I’m just waiting for King Leonidas to utter his famous line.
You know, honey, I’m not generally one to be concerned with what others think or feel about me. If someone has a problem with how I act, or interprets me differently from how I meant what I said or did, I have no control over it, and I can’t afford to worry about it. Explaining intention or motivation is not easy, and even if it can be done, there’s no guarantee it will even be believed. So there’s little point in even trying to do it.
That being said, it occurs to me that what I did yesterday could be interpreted in way that I’d rather it not be. Following Erin around like that from point to point, someone might suggest that I was behaving like a smitten young man, trying his best to prove to his intended (and her family, for that matter) that he’s worthy of her somehow.
I’d like to think that’s not the case with me. For starters, I’m not that young anymore – if I ever was. Oh, you did a fine job keeping me as young as you could…
You’re only as young as the woman you feelGroucho Marx
…but with you gone, I’ve probably aged ten years in a matter of nine months. Sure, it would be nice if ‘Megumi’ (assuming she exists) were to have a similar level of youthful energy to bring to the relationship, but it’s a sobering thought to consider that I may well be past help in that arena at this point.
Now, when push comes to shove, I am forced to admit I would not have done this for anyone else. Not Loula, not Stephanie, not Luke. They’re friends, and I respect them for what they’ve done – especially now that I’ve gotten the slightest taste of what goes into training for a marathon – but I probably would never go downtown specifically to cheer them on, let alone take a banner and a bell with me to make sure they knew I was there doing so. So what does that say about me and my attitude toward Erin? It worries me, especially since she’s made it clear that she’s not interested in such a relationship (with me or anyone else, so at least it’s nothing personal). I don’t want her to feel that I’m pressing the matter, but this kind of activity might well suggest otherwise to her, or the average outside observer.
On the other hand, it occurs to me that if Ellen were running in this thing, I think I’d have done this, too. So there’s that little bit of defense. Of course, the odds of that happening are even more slim than that of my making another stab at this sort of venture, so it isn’t as if I have to worry about backing up that commitment with action.
But I worry that I’m not fooling anyone by saying all this. The fact of the matter is, there is so much about her that you two had in common – even some of the more annoying parts, such as stubbornness (although the fact that you couldn’t get her to allow us to pay for for meal – ever – suggests she may actually have had you beat on that score). Incredibly, it’s that same quality that she harnessed to power herself through yesterday, as well as everything that led up to it. That sense of determination was a powerful tool that she used to literally get this far.
The greater the devil, the greater the angel.C. S. Lewis (I’m thinking this was from The Great Divorce, but I’m not sure, and Google isn’t helping me today)
It’s all a matter of how it’s directed. Now, of course, she claims she made it through by the power of God, and you’ll never catch me gainsaying that. But that power took something inside of her and made it into something truly impressive. Additionally, He had her use it to raise funds for a worthy (if mostly earthly, but still – when you meet a person’s physical needs, they will be that much more willing to let you address their spiritual ones) cause, rather than any self-aggrandizing “look at me; aren’t I wonderful for doing this?” kind of thing.
It’s the sort of thing that makes one admire her that much more.
And… we’re back to that question again.
It’s bad enough that, in trying to look for ‘Megumi,’ I’ve got you as a measuring rod to put up against any prospective candidate. At least it can neither be helped nor held against me were I would rather to be with you than whoever she might be – although that would probably get pretty annoying over time were I unable to get over you. To compound that by comparing her to someone living that I might have preferred, well…
I need to discover who I am, and what I truly need in life and love. Otherwise, that’s not being fair to anyone else I might be dealing with in the foreseeable future on that score.
Wish me luck, honey… I’m going to need it.