I often write, sitting out in my garage with the door open, on an old portable typewriter — the kind with keys that stick and apostrophes that are made using shift-8. There is no cursor to go back and change or correct what is written, essentially, though not quite literally, in stone. What you strike is what you get. And sometimes it’s a bit hard to read. But there it is.
December 25, 2015
I have no idea what I am planning to write on this Christmas day. I don’t even have my glasses on and the ribbon is probably too dried out to even work. But it’s one of those ridiculously clear beautiful windy Southern California days and I have spent time in my yard moving stones around and making some paltry attempts at beautifying what passes for a front yard. The man has, once again, become silent. Or perhaps that should be has remained so. I don’t know what’s sadder—having no one sharing your life and being alone because of it… or having the shadow of someone who may or may not be there and being alone because of it. At least with the first option you can make your own plans, or not, knowing you are the only reason they might change. The second option… well, you end up holding off—and holding out—because maybe that shadow of a person might actually appear. You know better… but you do it anyway.
The third option, and maybe that’s not as much my own secret as I would think—is creating that imaginary, loving soul mate, ever present when you want him to be; absent but always thinking of you when the world gets too busy.
I used to live that third option almost continuously as a teenager. Probably more than most. The choices, however, seem to become far fewer some 40 years later.
At least last year the shadow man sent flowers, whimsically anonymously. And made New Year’s plans that did not include me. This year there was an offer to fix my erstwhile garage door which was stuck open a few nights ago. In the rain. I did, however, in my ever-industrious autonomy, manage to get it working again, letting him know there was no longer a reason for him to stop by the next day as he had offered. So, as I have done so many times in the past—Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries—I drove up to his place while he was at work and dropped off my gift to him, tucked behind his screen door. Which, he acknowledged with a text message, he would open today. And “happy Christmas”.
It is now Christmas afternoon and the silence hangs over the day like an unkind torment.