Saturday, January 05, 2019

Friends and neighbours

I took Aqualad out for lunch at the Great Old German restaurant; his favourite Scooterville eatery where it is decidedly uncorporate. Large portions. Barely marked-up wine. We tackled the Plate for Two which I will describe only as a mound of exciting food over a thick giant schnitzel on a platter on a hot plate set between us. We are accomplished Pro Devourers though both on self-improvement courses and less indulgent than usual. I insisted he take the leftovers home.

It’s funny. The task of writing is much more than a report of what has been on your mind. The very act produces new thoughts. It is an invaluable act of reflection; of internal conversation. And here at this moment I am realizing that he reported (let it slip?) that he’d been present there two weeks ago. That makes sense as it was his birthday at the time. By coincidence that would have also fallen just after my first proposal that I take him there as a reward for surviving his dental surgery and flu combination. Which means that… not only was I not invited to his birthday dinner for the first time in years, but I was very deliberately not invited.

Strange perhaps that I don’t feel especially hurt. I am accustomed to thinking of them as my second family and that, clearly has become an indulgence worthy of embarrassment so I will stop.

I have seen Earth Writer and Dog Whisperer only twice in the last half year; Aqualad three times now, and his delightful girlfriend zero.

There were awkward moments at the cottage last summer and I’m confident that there were complete misunderstandings about matters of no real consequence to me. If their cooling stems from only that, then that is a tragic mistake. And if it stems from more than that, which I assume it must, then I am at a complete loss. I am blissfully unaware of whatever failings I have perpetrated, at least in terms of friendship. But failings have been a theme for me for some time now. No reason to assume they should all have fallen onto my own radar.

The greater tragedy is that Aqualad (if I understand correctly) is in essence turning down the greatest gift a human being could receive for reasons that do not sound sincere but might be. I think it more likely that he is humouring me; managing me; not wanting to say that he has no reason to believe in me.

And it’s true there is no reason to believe in me; no reason for anyone to. I look for opportunities to help those I love and those who demonstrate the rare mental fortitude in the rare and vital realms that I have advance experience in. But I did not graduate from that rare academy. I got close and then backed away. Or did I flunk out perhaps?

Aqualad cannot possibly have much understanding of what he is turning down. We’ve discussed it far too little. But a close bond remains between us it seems. And there is no deadline. Whatever I do manage to accomplish when I break out of this fucking cocoon, may change his regard for me, and in the mean time I will look for opportunities to nudge him in useful directions as opportunities arise.

Not that our dynamics are a motivator for me now. What motivates me is honestly just between the universe and I. And the universe, I must remember, is not ours to command. We can only offer our best advice and then let causality do what it must.

It really is surprising though, that I don’t feel especially hurt. I would have expected to be.

At the core of my “2019 resolution” whether it shows between the lines or not, is the intention to be mindful. Perhaps already I am.

I returned home from our German smorgasbord, parked afar, and walked; exercised. I heard my next-door neighbour’s door opening, a usual precursor to awkward endearments; a fantasy that this perversion called suburbia is some sort of community. But I found myself looking eagerly, and it was the man who emerged and he wore a great smile. My own was immediate. We traded happy comments on the lovely mild weather. Mine were sincere and I’ll assume his were too. Then as I turned up the drive way the lady appeared. “I can’t believe it’s 2019 already!” she said.

“I know,” I said, then sincerely: “Time is cruel.” She laughed. I smiled.

Maybe it is some sort of community.


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