men i’ve met

Roger (his name has been changed to protect the guilty) came over with a bag or two full of groceries that I needed. He brought Puffins, avocados, milk, half ‘n’ half, bananas, almonds and—oh—a bottle of my favorite bourbon, a lemon and some bitters. He mixed me up an old-fashioned right there on the spot, on a Sunday night ta boot. We sat and shot the shit about beverages and family and aging and dignity and marriage and then he went home to his wife and kids. Calvin, sick and having had a long seizure on Saturday, was upstairs snoring as the clock stroke nine; Michael, out of town.

I’ve been thinking lately about the men I’ve met. Some, quite rare and wonderful, I’ve met on my own over the years. They live in places like San Francisco, Seattle, Corvallis, England, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Maine. Some are old boyfriends, some are the husbands of longtime or new friends, some are friends that I simply met in my travels or while in school. They know who they are, know that I love them. Others I wouldn't have met if not for my husband Michael, and I have to say they’re all pretty damn amazing, too. I’d welcome any number of them into my home to make me drinks while listening to music in worn leather chairs.

Besides Roger, Charlie is one of those guys. He’s rock solid and I love him way farther than I can throw him. He’s been here on several occasions when Calvin has had seizures. I’ve gotten plenty of breathtaking hugs from that guy, and a few back cracks, too. Then there's Macauley, who loves my man like a brother and always brings much needed calm. The others come to me—to us—remotely for the most part. There’s Ades who’s the greatest, and makes us cry with his empathetic words. There’s Herr Doktor Willey who’s so clever and silly and a whiz over a hot stove. The guy always spoils us rotten. Then there’s Wolf. He’s like no other, is as real as they come with his love and affection. Duffy is true blue, down to effing earth. What more can I say? And Andy, whose friendship is so long and strong and steady and Tom who lovingly follows my Story. And Arnd and Ivano, both who we’ve essentially adopted and who kill us with every kindness and love.

Then there are the boys who we’d love to hear more from, though I still know they love us and I know we are on their minds a lot. There’s Garzeloni whose filthy mouth and incredible wit I can’t get enough of. There’s Seth whose voice is soft and smooth and whose guitar playing and genuine affection I miss very much. And Nick, for so many reasons. Where are you, Nick? Dammit.

These men I’ve met all pretty much get us to the core. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine my life having not met them. They’ve helped define me, to be sure, and help build me up at times when I feel I’m crumbling. Love you guys to the max. You know who you are.

photo by Michael Kolster