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First Person Personal

My personal views on a variety of matters ranging from popular culture to quantum physics to religion to politics to history to bushido to ... well, whatever I feel like, really. Warning: we all have agendas. Trust no one totally, myself most specifically included. Email me at wbrerwolf at gmail.com

Thursday, May 05, 2005

For All The GirlsI've Loved Before - Resurection

When S walked into the room, it was like a drawn sword glinting in the sunlight.
Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like the most romantic image imaginable, but it was how I felt the first time I saw her. And it was the first strong positive emotion I had felt since E’s surgery went bad years earlier.
I came alive again when S was in the room.
We had been set up for a blind date by mutual friends. As it happened, we had known a lot of the same people for almost twenty years, but had never met each other. S tended to hang out with the artists and the party crowd while I hung with the crazies and the people who were too smart for their own good. These groups tended to overlap quite a bit. S had even dated one of my roommates for a few months back in my grad school days, but R was way too smart to bring a girl home to meet the crew he lived with – I honestly think that I was the most normal of the bunch.
S and I were not the instant click that E and I had been: both of us had a lot of baggage. S had been married to an artist, then divorced, then had a long-term relationship that had ended shortly before we met. S, despite her own strong attraction to me, was not about to get into anything resembling a steady relationship anytime soon. S’s background was in Anthropology by education and Restaurant Management by career. It’s not as odd a mix as one might think: the rituals of dining are one of the central elements of any culture and S had put herself through school by working food service since she was a teenager. S had a much, much more powerful work ethic than I did.
S, like myself, had been raised in a small town, was an eldest child, highly intelligent, extremely independent and used to making her own decisions. She was physically the largest of the women I had been seriously involved with, being an ex-basketball player and just about six feet tall, so the size problem was not an issue.
However, as I said, we had a lot of emotional baggage.
Looking back on it, our courtship was very like the mating dance of scorpions: extremely graceful, extremely cautious, and extremely slow. Each of us had been badly hurt by significant others earlier in our lives and had no desire to repeat the experience.
Still, we were powerfully attracted to each other. I proposed to S five or six times before she finally accepted. She said that it was one particular instance that tipped the scales. S had many close friends in the local gay community and we met just before the AIDS epidemic was discovered. In the first five years we were together, we went to about fifteen funerals and one wedding. S spent a lot of her spare time as an assistant caregiver and catering people’s funerals.
So, sometimes I helped her or one of her friends out.
One day S and I were hanging out at my apartment and one of her friends called us and asked us to bring some food to a hospital room where he and his lifemate were acting as caregivers for a man dying from AIDS.
By the time we got there, they were trying with limited success to change the dying man’s bedsheets. He was delirious and was flailing his arms and legs wildly and singing show tunes.
I examined the situation. Even then, AIDS was known to not be particularly contagious, requiring large amounts of fluid to be transferred from the infected victim to the bloodstream of a new host. He was not bleeding, his diapers had been freshly changed, and he was not violent, just jumping around. Even though he was taller than I was, perhaps about six and a half feet tall, he weighed about ninety pounds.
So I said, "OK guys, change the sheets quickly," picked the dying man up and held him while the sheets were changed. Being held seemed to calm him down enormously, so this was not any great problem for me.
For some reason, this impressed S and her friends enormously.
It was not any great display of bravery or compassion on my part. I had calculated the risks as not being significant. In addition, I had spent about two years in a charity hospital in Richmond recovering from football injuries, and we had been expected to take care of each other and ourselves to help keep manpower expenses down.
It was just business as usual.
Still, S later told me that it was because of this that she decided to marry me.
For me, I needed S in my life. Without her, I had no motivation to do anything at all. With her, I hoped to be able to accomplish great things.


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