Thursday, September 13, 2007

There was This Man - In a White Hat

One afternoon sometime in late April 1999, I was skimming through the WANT ads on the internet for fun. By WANT ads I mean personals. Men who wanted a relationship - I guess with someone like me, a woman who was looking for a man who wanted a relationship. Actually, truth be known, I was doing what a lot of men do - window shopping. I had no intention of actually stepping over the line and introducing myself. I was just looking - looking can be more fun at times because you can make up little stories about the people in the pictures - makes it seem a bit more mysterious, perhaps even more interesting than the truth at times.

There he was. Just smiling a little thin smile from under a white cotton fedora - courting a salmon pink shirt, all muscled up, tanned, and pretty - laying back on the plastic strips of a lounge chair somewhere on a beach somewhere in a world somewhere other than the reality of my dull and boring world. He was certainly pretty - and his name was Clark. Clark, the man in the white hat. Clark, the man in the pink shirt. Clark, the man in my dreams for the next 18 months or so - and by dreams I mean dreams - vivid and lucid dreams with cloudless days, beaches that run forever, and palm trees without falling coconuts - just palms - and me with Clark. The reason the dreams continued for 18 months wasn't merely because the little photo of the man was THAT great - we actually became friends online.

I remember being disappointed to find out that his real name wasn't Clark - well, his middle name was, but he was a DAVID and that upset me because of my ex. Clark seemed like such a new and exciting name - to go with a new and extremely exciting man, daring in his voiced adventures, creative and stylish to boot - in fact, month after month passed with us on the phone with each other much more often than the hours we'd spend online chatting. Our phone calls lasted endlessly into the night, and I remember feeling absolutely floatatious with this man. He could lift my spirits, tweak my heart, and literally sent love beams searing through my soul - with just a whispered laugh. The man actually giggled at times - which made me tingle.

So what happened? I'm not sure. Oh, I can guarantee you that I slipped up. I said or did something that probably scared the devil out of this flirtatious and genuinely charming man. I probably threatened or intimidated him, making him feel less detached and more obligated to a relationship that was truly immaterial, intangible, distant, something not based on reality or touch since we seriously had never never really ended - it just stopped. Gone, nothing more. At first I created an excuse - made something up to make myself feel better. My emotions ran the gambit of how-could-I, and that-was-stupid-Jude feelings - but then I became angry, perhaps grieving the loss of not only a friend but a dear friend - a true friend.

Well, time has healed me. Time has helped me to better understand not only the currents that run underneath relationships, but the reasons we even establish said relationships. I wasn't the least bit ready for a real boyfriend, what Clark (David) and I had was all fantasy - but it was indeed a fantastic adventure at times for both of us. What brings me to this blog? Why now? What could possibly have occurred to make me think of the man I once referred to in code as "The one I wish I knew"? His birthday actually, no it isn't today. His birthday is March 15, a day of infamy actually in the literary world. My good friend Niki's son asked me a question today - he knew his mom would make him look up the answer online and he didn't want to take the time to do something he could ask me to answer for him I guess. Eric asked me "Hey, what happened on March 15 that made all the difference to the world at some point and time in history? I gotta know for English."

What happened? Well, a man was born - he turned my heart upside down, and then he went away - but something tells me that Eric was more or less unimpressed with my immediate answer and sought something more along the lines of Julius Caesar's assassination. I, on the other hand was completely untouched by the brutality of that day, and completely blown away by the man in the white hat. To be so again - is that asking too much?

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