Many of the best gifts I have ever received have been from B. When we first met I was quite certain that he was not the guy for me at all. It was not that I wanted him out of my life, I just thought there was something better out there for me. We struck up a relationship anyway. One which I was very cavalier about. He tried and tried to give things to me, but I was closed up tight. Then one day he said he was leaving. I help him pack up his truck and waved good-bye. About six months later as I was walking down the street, I turned the corner and B almost ran me over on his bike. We talked. “You wanted a whole lot, K. But you never really let me give you anything.” It was true. I had never really participated in his life at all. That changed and our whole relationship changed. I saw a side of him that I did not know existed before, one I didn’t know I had been looking for.
Except for the glow-in-the-dark dinosaur tee-shirt he got for me from the Museum of the Rockies, mostly the things he gave me were intangible. He taught me to be a good sailor, he introduced me to new food, new music, new ideas and new books. He taught me how to do the “Rockford” in my little red Volkswagen in a snowy parking lot. What he gave me were experiences.
One summer we practically lived on a little boat. We sailed every day. If there wasn’t wind, we bobbed on the water, naked and sun tinted, sometimes jumping off to take a swim, sometimes watching the seals that followed us along quietly and curiously. At the end of the summer B went to Colorado for six months for school and left me living alone on the tiny little T-Bird. We talked once a week. He was suffering from a pretty serious bout of depression and he confided in me more and more.
One day I was digging around in the storage unit and I saw his favorite shirt hanging there. It was a white and neon monstrosity from 1982 and it was hideous. It had a big blue stain on the front, but it was one of the few things he was very attached to. I practically set up a chemistry lab in the laundry room at my house and I scrubbed the shit out of that shirt. It took me a week, but I finally got the blue stain out of that damn thing. There is really not much I could have given him that he could not get himself, or that I could afford. When he came dragging in late on Christmas night, cold, tired and sad he said that all he wanted was a warm bed and my soft shoulder. As we sat there in the dim light I hesitantly, and with a bit of embarrassment, handed him the only other thing I could think to give him. There were little tears in his soft blue eyes when he opened it and pulled out his shirt.
“K,” he said, “this is the best gift I have ever gotten.”
We can never really know what someone has to offer until they are willing to give and we are willing to receive, to participate. JJ had a hard time with giving and receiving. In fact, he behaved a whole lot like I did with B. in the beginning. It’s funny how the things you did in your youth come back to bite you later on, when you are on the other side. I one thing I learned from B. is that giving is an art. I learned from my own actions that it is so very hard to understand why people give you things even though you don’t want or appreciate them. Parents do this all the time. They stick by you even when you are a total teenage shit, they give even when you don’t think you want them too. When it is with parents we tell ourselves they just don’t understand. If it is with friends sometimes we are insulted that they don’t know us better or think that they want something in return. When it is with lovers we tell ourselves they have no self-esteem or they are obsessed or they are just not what we want (as I did).
I have a little gift for you all. In sending this out I am thinking of one person in particular (Chetan, that’s you) but many of you might enjoy it.
If Flamenco isn’t your cup of tea, here is something you can participate in next time you are in downtown Oly. You may think you want the Taco Truck but maybe you have not yet tried the Falafel truck!
As you can see, they are very reasonable. Their food is fresh and healthy.
I had the Sabich. The pickled vegetables give it a tartness that tickles your tongue and the egg balances it out to make a completely delicious experience. Give it a shot, maybe you will want to share it with someone else.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
― Joseph Campbell
“Trust that still, small voice that says, “This might work, and I’ll try it.”
— Diane Mariechild
My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” -Forest Gump