Last evening while visiting with a friend, we got to talking about the ways in which people connect and began sharing stories. I started to tell her about a wonderful man I met while attending an international conference in the United States back in the mid-nineties. On a whim, I pulled her laptop over and googled his name to see what I'd find. It took me a minute or two, but I found what I thought was a newspaper article about him and started reading it aloud to her. When I got to the end and read "survived by..." I stopped in shock and scrolled back to the top to check the date. He had died on September 25, 2001. I was stunned to realize that he had been dead almost nine years.
I remember how passionate he was in his keynote address at the conference where we met. His energy and emotion projected from the podium right to the back of that gigantic ballroom. There were hundreds of people packed into that room and you could hear a pin drop. He had the crowd spellbound. I'd never seen anything quite like it and told him so before I left to go to my next session.
I remember how he approached me outside the hotel later that day, thanked me for the feedback and then invited me to accompany him to FAO Schwartz to help pick out toys for his children. We must have been quite the sight, in our stocking feet, jumping back and forth across a floor sized keyboard as we picked out the notes to "Three Blind Mice."
I remember the nervousness and sincerity in his face two days later as he stood in the door way of my hotel room and I asked him if he wanted to come inside. I remember his gentle touch, rubbing my face in his chest hair, and his sigh sometime later as I took him in my mouth.
I remember lying in his arms talking the night away. I had to drive him out of bed and out the door the next morning so he stood a fighting chance of making his flight. He looked so dishevelled but very contented as he gave me one last kiss before turning away. He called me from the airport to tell me one more time what a lovely woman he thought I was. Over the following months, I had several brief but lovely hand written notes from him. I guess when he was travelling, his mind wandered back to our two days together.
He crossed my path at a critical time. I had separated from my husband less than two months earlier and my self-esteem was pretty fragile and I was feeling quite vulnerable. I recall being more than a little surprised that someone so accomplished, educated and successful was interested in spending time with me. In truth, he helped restore my belief in magic! He was attentive and gentle, funny, and surprisingly child-like in his curiosity about what music I was listening to and what I was reading. I can still picture him, shirt loosened, shoes off, leaning against the headboard, wearing my Walkman and listening to Loreena McKinnett for the first time. I read aloud to him for a while from The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. He told me I was an "ethereal creature" and had "bewitched him," just before kissing me deeply. I smiled and wondered who had bewitched whom. Over the years I've often thought of him and remembered our brief time together fondly. My only regret is that I never told him how much his attention and affection meant to me.
There are those who would have judged us harshly for the connection we formed, as he was married and I was freshly separated. I think we each represented something to the other, something we each needed to embrace and hold if only for a little while. We wished each other no ill will, nor made any demands on each other. The time we spent together flowed naturally. While our physical intimacy was limited, the emotional intimacy and playfulness was almost profound. And while we both knew we would walk in and out of each other's lives almost immediately, still we embraced what the other had to offer with reverence and gratitude. I know my life is richer for having known him and I hope he felt the same.
Wherever you are S***, wherever gentle souls go after crossing over, know I still think of you and feel your warmth.