Organic Farmer is back…sort of.
I was responding to a Facebook message when his name popped up on my chat list. I immediately initiated a dialogue: OF? Is that you?
It was him, typing painstakingly slowly, running the words together. He managed three lines before his sister took over. She chatted a bit, thanking me for being kind (I’ve contributed money here and there for his medical expenses). She told me he had tired and had to sign off.
The brief conversation between OF and me was bittersweet, for in his first line, he asked: whoareyou?
Of course, I didn’t expect him to remember me. But once he had written to me: I admit I’ve been tempted many times during our email exchanges to say I love you and get all romantic and kookoo. There may be something about you that you have this effect on guys, we sort of feel hypnotized.
And now he is asking: whoareyou?
In truth, I didn’t want him to push his memory too hard. I don’t want him to remember me, at least not everything about me, because I hurt him and disappointed him too many times after he had written such sweet words.
After several months of emails and chats, I had promised to meet him early last summer, clarinet in hand. We planned to sit down to Turkish tea and an afternoon of chamber music – and to see if, perhaps, we might make a different kind of music together one day, despite his already-complex life. In so many ways, he was perfect: smart, idealistic, talented, thoughtful, honest and extremely – extremely – open-minded.
And he was handsome. And he yearned for me desperately. And he was fully available, albeit unconventionally.
But at the last minute, still mourning post-divorce affair and nervous over anything that smacked of complications, I let our first opportunity pass me by: I refused to see him, even as a friend.
Although stung by my rejection, he cautiously continued our friendship.
I next promised to meet him over Labor Day weekend. Three more months had passed; I had completed a grueling year of recovering and regrouping. I finally felt ready to move on.
His freak accident occurred two weeks before we planned to meet.
The rest is relegated to history. I chose not to keep my Labor Day plans, not sure of my role, not sure if I should visit him in the hospital. Instead, like a coward, I ran: I took Gambit to the state chess tournament, where fate had a new twist in store for me.
Organic Farmer’s re-appearance today, on my difficult Friday, felt like a warning: Do not let life pass by while mourning something that will never be.
And his question – whoareyou? – resonates, because someone who once thought he might possibly love me has, quite literally, completely forgotten me. I cannot help but draw parallels to my current situation.
Maybe we found each other because I’ve got a habit of saying I don’t matter, and yet I am ready to stop doing that, and start mattering to myself. When the student is ready, the master appears. Maybe that’s what we could learn from each other.
Today, I was the student, hurting, lost and seeking to matter. And the master suddenly appeared.
Lesson learned…and taken to heart.
I still miss you, my friend.