Friday, November 20, 2009

Tomorrow, I become

Tomorrow, I become a husband.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting to know the new family

Every moment with Kathy is like a dream. Our recent visit to Boston and Rhode Island was no exception. I had to work most of the weekend, but still she went with me... she was there. Life is inherently romantic (this I know), but with her it is more. I am living as within poetry, not merely writing it. Everything feels new, and she still takes my breath away whenever she comes into view, walks into the room, or just looks up into my eyes...

While on this trip, we managed a day trip to visit some of her family. (I must confess that I felt no little trepidation when first faced with meeting Kathy's family - my new family - earlier this year. Those nerves faded fast, though, giving way to the warmth of being welcomed. They have been kind to me, and I am grateful for that.)

We went to Providence, where we visited Ruth, Kathy's grandmother - an illustrious soul with a heart of gold. We also went to see Kathy's sister, Karen, brother-in-law, David, and precious niece, Maisy. They have been so kind to us, always welcoming us into their home and lives.

And of course, we were met in Boston, transported around in the automobile of, and fed lunch by, Kathy's mother, Pat, who is both generous and possessed of a boundless energy. Kathy's Aunt Gail joined us for lunch, too, at Ruth's house. But the real focus was Maisy...

After Kathy returned to D.C., her own work calling her back, I continued to explore Boston as I could, in between meetings, discussion panels, and impromptu conversations with colleagues and strangers. My friend Sarah Rockstar and I took a stroll one afternoon, and I must confess that the City of Boston impressed me even more than it has in the past, with its architecture, the walkability of downtown, the harbor, the comfortable beauty of Boston Common, and the sense of a city alive and at ease with itself.

I look forward to seeing my new family again, over the next few days, while they are here in D.C. for our wedding, and in the years to come. And I look forward to exploring Boston again and again, as life allows.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Imagine You Flying

Two weekends before our wedding, Kathy and I were in Boston. I had a conference there, and she has family in the area, including her mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law and niece. So we wove together work and family for a few days. Every moment was a joy, but Kathy had to fly back to DC on Monday morning, while I stayed to work through till Wednesday. I wrote the following the day she left.

I Imagine You Flying

I imagine you flying
South, over the eastern coastline
Toward home, in D.C.
The aisle seat yours, this time
Without me there to take it
Without me asking you, instead,
To lean on me
For your breathing space

I imagine you in that dress
The one you wore to dinner, on Saturday
A goddess on my arm, and in my eyes
As we lingered over Thai in Back Bay
Not merely all I could see
But everything
I could ever remember having seen

I imagine you landing
Walking, along the glass-encased passages
At National, your patchwork bag
And your knitting, a recent obsession, both with you
The weight of the day's work
Settling into your shoulders, and me
Not there to ease it out

I imagine you in your glory
Riding train to train, into the District
A queen, too elegant to disguise
Too charmed to be unseen
Passersby, given pause
By your presence, and your poise, wondering
Who is she? Why, why don't I know?

I imagine the next two days
Wherein I, lonely, determined, explore
Old Boston, Quincy Market, the Common
The Harbor and Commonwealth Avenue
Staining my shirt during lunch, feeling
Your distance like a kite, tugging
Insistently, a constant call, a beckoning to take wing
Toward you

I imagine myself returning
My own flight, to you, longer than eternity
Me, missing the gentle pressure of you
Against my arm, the scent
Of your hair, the hotel shampoo
And seeing you, at last
On the far side of the security checkpoint
My beacon of solace, love and loving
Guiding me home


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the beginning

I find myself moving forward, fantastically alive and thriving, but my tale begins by looking back. Injury is the epilogue, and my story finds me starting out more lonely than I knew; but it moves rapidly into healing, and discovery, and love.

Briefly, it begins like this. I hurt my back. Really hurt it. For days, I could barely move. Making it across the room was an uncertainty, a journey fraught with the peril of gravity, and a fragile tightness of being. During the weeks that followed, I managed to return to work, but those few steps from one handhold to the next, from the doorway to the desk, from the railing to the wall, were always filled with fervent prayers that I please, please not fall.

I went to see all the specialists, from physical therapists who tried to help, to surgeons whose integrity led them to profess that they could not help at all. Some made it worse. None could fix it. But my search, my unwillingness to capitulate to the captivity of my own ailing body, was eventually rewarded with the name of a woman who asked me the question I needed to hear.

Her name is Natalie Matushenko, and when we first met, we talked about my life, what it was, and what I wanted it t o be. I told her about working with children, how much I had loved that, and she wanted to know why I had given it up. I told her it did not pay enough. She looked at me and asked, "So?" A moment that changed my life. I had no good answer, no response that could satisfy that question. "So?"

So... I decided that I would find a volunteering opportunity, start working with children again, while I sorted out the rest of my life, found ways to address my pain, put my life on track. Down the street I found my chance, at the Campagna Center, where they needed tutors for school-age children. While I was filling out their paperwork and telling my story, the Assistant Director told me about There, I found a new job. A new job where my boss said, "I have a friend you should meet."

She was right. Her friend's name is Kathy, and Kathy and I are to be wed in a few days. Three months after that, the two of us will be moving to Africa. Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, to be precise. But I get ahead of myself...