Saturday, September 22, 2012

A “FERRY” TALE WITHOUT THE HAPPY ENDING


There’s so much excitement as they amble down the covered walkway.  No one moos, but I get that particular vision for a moment.  It is quickly altered as I hear the rolling wheels of tightly packed suitcases with all the possible wares for a weekend of hiking, shopping, beachcombing and possible puddle jumping.  Grandparents welcome children who close their electronic games.  Maybe the trees, rocks and water will prove to be a sufficient distraction from the gadget reflex. 

The marine air is crisp this morning.  Still, there parade of cars disembarking the ferry, loaded down with mountain bikes, kayaks and canoes.  Others tow fishing boats and trailers.  Fall is officially here, but summer lovers plead for an extension.  I can spot the tourists just by studying the people riding shotgun.  Their heads bob back and forth, glimpsing the ocean, then the rocky shoreline and the forest beyond.  Oh look, Howard.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Poor Howard must keep his eye on the Buick in front of him as a retiree complies with the 20 kilometer-per-hour signage. 

I try to soak in all the anticipation, the eagerness, the hope for a weekend or a week of memories.  Just think of all the photos we can post on Facebook!  I still see the beauty of this place.  Indeed, I will never tire of gazing at the silhouette of the mountains edging the water, especially at dawn and dusk.  But I have overstayed my own adventure by thirty-four months.  This land is a Siren that lured me and won’t let me go.

Before moving here, I explored this coastline, coming over for weekend and weeklong visits.  The brouhahas from work and the stresses of navigating through city traffic vanished from my mind as soon as the ferry set sail.  I always said just going by ferry made me feel like going to a foreign country, as though heading to some place more exotic than the matching coastline on the Vancouver side of the water.

Now, instead of feeling at ease, I get a sinking feeling each time I board.  The boat may be afloat, but I am fighting to keep my head above water.  I cannot cope with the two-hour stoplight I so often face on my commute home from work.  The ferry schedule takes away all joy I once felt about my home and my surroundings. 

This week has been brutal, but it is not atypical.  The ferry ran late all five days.  I try to slip out of work by 4:30 so I can be home by 7:00, but I had a meeting go until a perfectly reasonable 5:10 p.m. and then got home at 9:00.  I had another work event last until 7:15 which meant I didn’t get home until 11 p.m.  My work team skipped lunch on Friday to start an early weekend at 2:30 p.m.  I had a 150-minute wait at the ferry terminal and got in at 7 p.m.  I don’t know how I can rationalize these experiences as normal.

As this is Saturday, I normally have a break from ferry travel.  I crave the downtime.  I require the weekends to attempt to recover.  The social isolation becomes greater as I avoid ferry trips to the city and turn down the few social invitations I continue to receive.  However, I signed up for a screenwriting course in Vancouver, something I looked forward to attending.  The eagerness became tainted during my prolonged stay at the ferry terminal yesterday as I figured out my schedule for the day.  To attend a three-hour workshop takes nine hours of my weekend.  Just.  Plain.  Brutal.

Later today, I will call my realtor and lower the price of my house once more.  I did not think I could go lower as the loss I am taking is already hard to swallow.  But I’ve taken in too much water as it is.  It is time to bail myself out and start life over again.

Monday, September 3, 2012

THE CATCH


This is Part Two of a first date I had last week.  To read the first post, click here.


All great dates must come to an end.  It’s just unfortunate when that end happens at the halfway point. Should have parted with a coffee buzz and an excitement about next time. 

But I’d suggested a walk and he’d accepted.  Date on...

We walked along riverside pathways and through new subdivisions, continuing to chat without pretense.  It was a Goldilocks night—not too hot, not too cold.  Everything just right.  Everything.

Every time we reached a logical point to turn back, he’d nod at the next path or sidewalk.  Yes, walk on.  I sensed he would have walked with me all night.  Each time I looked at him, I got a stronger feeling that he was quite the catch.  At last.

And then he revealed THE CATCH. 

I’d asked him if he was out to his family in Mexico.  He replied, “You should know,...I’m married.  To a woman.  And I have kids.” 

I smiled.  Nodded.  Yes, everything is okay.  He said something else, but “I’m married” echoed in my hollow head.  I kept smiling and nodding. 

Somehow I managed a quick recovery and asked all sorts of questions about the wife and kids.  This is not a case of him being divorced.  Still married.  This is not a case of the wife being in Mexico.  She’s here.  Not in Vancouver.  Not down the street.  Living in the same home.

It’s a complicated scenario, that has been playing out for more than a year.  How long exactly?  I missed that detail.  The “I’m married” echo kept bouncing off the lovely exteriors in the trendy subdivision and hitting me anew.  The kids—two of them—are tweens.  The wife knows Javier is gay.  The kids don’t.  Some gay guy—me?!—is going to be “the other woman”, the one blamed by the boys for bringing down the marriage and destroying the family.

Red flags!  An objective outsider would be yelling for me to run.  Game over!

But we kept walking and talking.  We talked a lot about his children and his pride featured prominently in everything he shared.  I asked many questions about the wife, her process in accepting his coming out and his process for moving out.  Yes, that is the plan.  No, there is no specific timeline.  My jaded self, listening to someone else spout off these circumstances, would say, “Of course there isn’t a timeline.  There never is!”

As we finally stopped and stood on Fort Langley’s main street, I said the unthinkable.  “I’ve enjoyed this.  I would be interested in meeting you again.”

He said the same, as I knew he would.  Oh, what a time for me to finally find a greater confidence.

Once back in my car, all the rational thoughts against further interaction patiently queued before establishing a compelling case.  Defeatism seeped in as well.  They’re all deeply flawed.  Yes, there’s always a catch. 

So there you have it...two dates in one.  Outstanding, then utterly confusing.  What now?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A CATCH!

It’s been a dozen years since I visited the village of Fort Langley.  In fact, I’d forgotten that the bookstore/café where I’d suggested we meet for tonight’s date was a place I’d gone to before.  (I wanted to go after discovering a site that recommended some unique coffeehouses in the Vancouver area.) I arrived early, browsed the books and then ordered a latte and a bowl of cobbler and had a seat.  Through the window, I saw an attractive, clean-cut man standing at the street corner.  He looked expectantly down the intersecting sidewalks.  Was this the man whose profile I viewed online?  Not possible.

He moved down one of the sidewalks, still gazing about.  If by chance he was my date, I didn’t want some passing stranger picking him up so I stepped out and approached. 

Javier? 

Javier!

I sat back down while he ordered.  It allowed me to check him out.  (Thanks to the lady ahead of him who had a slew of questions about filtered water!)  Javier wore casual, conservative summer gear, freshly ironed.  The garb flattered his trim build. 

He joined me with his own bowl of cobbler.  Considering the extensive menu, the chances of us choosing the same item for noshing seemed remote.  A sign?  Kismet?  Serendipity?  Nah.  I don’t go there anymore. 

We chatted about our jobs and online experiences for almost an hour.  He spoke refreshingly candidly.  His comments weren’t calculated to make a positive first impression.  This was a real human talking, perfectly comfortable with himself.  He also came off as a soft spoken gentleman.  Javier was quite the catch!

I asked if he wanted to go for a walk and he welcomed the opportunity to extend the conversation.  I felt completely relaxed with him, even confident.  After all, he’d messaged me.  I am worthy!

What a wonderful beginning...

But that was only the first half of the date.  Let’s just savor that before I post anything more.