Dearest Rachel –
I think I’ve mentioned the joke before in these letters, and when we were all watching certain meme channels, we were familiar with it, but it bears repeating: if you think of your life as a television series, your alarm clock is basically your theme music, since it’s what starts each episode. Granted, that’s been less and less true for me since I’ve retired (thank you, as always). Ironically, it’s still true for me on more weekends than not.
And every so often, I’ve started to get a whole new sound waking me up. It’s the ‘ping’ of my phone, telling me I’ve got another text message.
I tumbled into bed almost immediately upon returning home last night from Grief Share and Sparks. Not so much from the meeting or the passing out of vests to a whole bunch of new Sparks. No, Erin and I were chatting with Joan about the marathon, running in general, future plans (ranging from Erin’s next possible competition to job openings at camp to my own adventures in online dating) and so forth. I had to let her know about Chompers being with you, now – like everyone else, she was reassuring about Daniel and myself having done the right thing, in the best way we could.
I also showed her some of the… conversations… I’d been having with various individuals through the dating app. I’m not sure which she thinks is more dangerous, the section of the marathon that goes by “the Rate” (Sox Park), or texting someone you’ve just met on a dating app. For what it’s worth, she seems to approve – grudgingly – of Naruko.
It’s hard to end a conversation with either Joan or Erin. So, by the time Daniel and I got home last night, it was nearly 10:30 – about the time that, back in the days when we were all together and I was still working, I would head to bed in order to get up early enough the next morning.
Why, it was almost like old times. Almost.
It wasn’t quite six in the morning when I heard the ‘ping,’ but it was close enough.
After lying there for a few moments, debating as to whether to get up quite this early to view and respond to it (especially as the room was still pitch dark at this hour of the morning), I concluded that I wasn’t likely to drop back off to sleep again, and I might as well just get up and see who it was and what they wanted.
Besides, that weird vision of playing Civilization where I’d just discovered some Chthulu-equivalent in the Antarctic ice, and it was storming up the map, devouring my armies with complete impunity as it went, simply had to end.
It was Naruko.
I’m not about to get upset about being woken up like this, at least, not for now. After all, it’s six in the evening where she is, and she’s presumably getting off of her hospital shift, and wanting to check in with someone who’s not relating to her on a purely professional level. Besides, it isn’t as if I haven’t gotten a fairly decent night’s sleep, either.
And who is going to complain about a text message like “Good morning, and how are you, handsome?”
Granted, it’s a reminder that I really shouldn’t have used a ten-year old photo of myself as the main picture on my profile. At least the others are considerably more recent, so she’s aware that my hair (such as it is) has gone white since then.
Texting, in comparison to a phone call, is a fairly long, drawn out process. You never really enjoyed doing so, but that was because you stubbornly clung to an old dumb phone, and when the majority of the alphabet requires tapping multiple times on your phone keypad, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Now more than ever, I wish I’d converted you over to using a smart phone, if for no other reason then I would still have your text messages. All the ephemeral conversations that we had were just that – and now they’re lost to time.
I’ve told her about you, and she has expressed certain reservations about my attachment to you. At the same time, she apparently has lost someone somewhere in her past, so it isn’t like she doesn’t know how I’m feeling. It’s more question of the depth of feeling, and whether I’m truly ready to move on to someone else. Honestly, I may not be, but at the same time, it’s not like I can bring you back, and since the process of finding someone to connect with, and then to become friends with, and then (Lord willing) to become more than friends with, is such a drawn out one, I figure it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Besides, if she turns out to be ‘Megumi,’ she would understand that it will take time. Aaaand if she doesn’t understand it, she isn’t ‘Megumi.’
We talk about a number of different things over the course of an hour or two. The conversation doesn’t come to any definitive end; the responses simply slow, and I pack the phone in my pocket so I can proceed to walk across town to the ‘office.’
I like the fact that she makes me think about my responses, and clearly she thinks about her replies to me. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and she claims the same back. Apparently, by Friday, she’ll know if her assignment is coming to an end, and she might be returning home. We’ll see what happens.
Until then, I can at least enjoy these conversations in the morning. It’s certainly not the same as pillow talk, but it isn’t as if we shared much of that back in the day ourselves, what with our wildly different sleep schedules. It’s nice to have that to look forward to.
At any rate, honey, wish me luck.