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On April 6, 1985 I met a person who changed my life forever. Over the next two decades, we each went through a great deal of turmoil and tragedy, as well as a decent share of joy and ecstasy. Our paths crossed many times and yet they were always somehow divergent. Twenty years after the day we met we find ourselves together, living under the same roof, sharing and building a life together.

I believe in miracles and I believe I have experienced many of them in my life. I also have a different belief in miracles that stands outside the standard, pat definition. Sometimes, even in the face of everything that is rational and sensible, you just have to believe. I've done many things in my life over the past ten years that caused a lot of people to label me as "insane," and yet for me they all meant something, they were all important and they were all very powerful experiences on my life's journey.

I find myself now living in the midst of the greatest miracle of them all. For twenty years I could not bring myself to believe it was possible. At first it was because I did not think I was "good enough," and then, as my life changed, I never thought she would ever stop running away and hiding from me. At the same time, I always believed it mattered too much to give up on, no matter how hard my rational mind told me to give up and move on. Why hold onto this one specific woman when I was now able to enjoy the company of other women, many of them incredible and wonderful in their own right and able to connect with me and share themselves freely with me? It mattered. I was never really sure why, but it mattered. She was The Muse, the love of my life, the person I loved more deeply than anyone else, even though, and in part because she knows how to get under my skin better than anyone else alive.

Some people tell me to be "thankful" and that I was blessed by "someone" up there in the "heavens." My faith teaches me differently. My faith is about learning, about finding yourself and being able to accept others as they are and to give everything you can to everyone you know. When I look at this story of my life, I understand that I had to go through what I went through, that I had to learn what I learned and come to terms with certain elements of myself before this could be possible. I was guided through these lessons, struggles and "tests," but it was necessary for me to go through them and learn from them. If you understood the story of my relationship with The Muse, you would understand that this could not have worked until I became the person I am today. I understand things about her she never shared with me in the past because I've dealt with them before in other women. I've learned to be patient, to be strong and to be giving without tearing myself open in the process. There is much more, but there always is.

Know this. Many people struggle at times in their lives. They are unable to handle situations. They cannot do what they want so badly to do. Things are not working out in a relationship. There are divisions within the family, difficulties that make it seem impossible to heal the wounds caused by those divisions. In so many of these things, it is essential to move forward, to learn where we went wrong and to accept that there may be other roads to follow. Often we learn that we blame another for things that have happened, and we cannot heal until we stop placing blame and accept our role as part of the issue at hand. Sometimes we need to go away. Sometimes we need to let go. The things we truly believe in, those things that are not just a passion or obsession of the day, will always be there in our hearts. A stupid argument is not eternal. The love and the friendship of the people who walked away from each other because of that argument, that is eternal, that is what truly matters.

When a problem or situation cannot be resolved in the present moment, let time be your friend. Patience is a different kind of virtue than forgiveness, but it can be a powerful one. Let things take their course and know that the true course will always remain open to you in some way, even if it is not an obvious or clearly visible way. You will know when the time has come. The time will come when you are ready. Sometimes we think we're ready when we really aren't. Sometimes we don't realize we're ready when we are.

"For patience in samsara brings such things
As beauty, health, and good renown.
Its fruit is great longevity,
The vast contentment of a universal king."

from The Way of the Bodhisattva

I just got off the phone with Stacy. I haven’t named her before, but it's time I did. She’s not an intial from my past, but a growing part of my life. You see we were talking about marriage.

Marriage. The M-word, the point that all the fairy tales lead to when Snow White meets Prince Charming and they spend eternity ‘happily-ever-after" without a word about pre-nuptial agreements, mortgages or fellatio. And this was no academic discussion full of professional dispassion. We were talking about a particular marriage, namely our own.

Marriage. I have a hard time getting my mind around that. I may end the week transformed from the guy without a girlfriend to the betrothed of a woman who dumped me 15 years ago.

I know it doesn’t make sense. But then nothing about romance makes sense. Maybe the good old days had it right with their arranged marriages—he’s got money, she’s got baby-bearing hips and after a decade or so of sanctified sex maybe they’ll discover they love each other. Or find a place where they both can live, provided they both really want to.

And that’s the big thing about the M-word, you both have to really want to, even when you’re pissed off and the girl in shipping is giving you free looks down her shirt. You gotta think I married this woman, she loved me once and this is something we need to get through, and we can get through this.

But Westerners don't do romance that way. We don’t logically choose our partner for his or her ability to throw out a mean zygote or enhance the family fortune. We want passion. We fall in love with the person how makes the blood flow to our loins, who makes us laugh, who puts us in touch with the hidden dream we didn't even know we had.

Our own passion leads us to ignore our lover’s flaws. We pretend they’ll change. We cling to the best parts of them hoping that we don’t wake up one day and find out we’re married to Charles Manson, Susan Smith or Adam Sandler. Or maybe worst of all, married to someone who just doesn’t know how to love.

By all rights I ought to stay far away from this woman. After all, she was my hot and cold running girlfriend, the one who told me she loved me then wouldn't return my phone calls. The one who told me how sex didn’t mean much, (and by implication that included sex with me). She’s the one I hadn’t seen in years who decided it would be more fun to ride with her other friends than me.

Oh, how she pissed me off. The nights I spent boiling with anger and frustration. The time I carefully erased every hint of her from my address book and didn’t put it back until after she called me.

But the thing is, when Stacy’s good, she’s very, very good. She’s got a mind like a steel trap, she’s read even more than I have, wit quick as cat with a taste for the outrageous but a real hunger for what is good and right. She’s moody, emotional, passionate, and her lips carry a hunger no food can satisfy. She’s full of laughter, ideas and she wraps her legs around you with the ferocity of a starving panther. She's hunger and fire, and drama, and she loves her cats and her corgi like innocent children.

But in that passion there is fear, always has been, fear she was still a plain, skinny teenager fear that this romance would end up like all the rest, confined to the dark bowl of Cupid's toilet, refusing to cry her eyes out because in this world you gotta get tough or die. Stacy’s no character from a Sandra Bullock movie. No sirree, people aren’t there for you to dump on, dumping is weakness, suck it all in.

Don't let them know how much it hurts. Don’t let them see that inside this tough, brilliant, competent woman is an innocent girl, a romantic who dreams of something a bit more than mortal.

It seems that for the past seventeen years she hasn't been able to get me out her mind any more than I’ve been able to keep her out of mine. One might argue she certainly tried hard enough to get me out of it. But women just don’t call their ex-boyfriend’s ten years later and ask them for a visit because of something they read in Cosmo. Something made her call, and it wasn’t seeing my name at reunion dot com.

And so for the past two years we've been sparring, communicating. growing closer. She returns my phone calls now and initiates her own. For the first time, maybe ever, we’re talking about feelings, and what was really going on in her head. Turns out that I never was the boy toy I thought. Turns out that from day one it was about love, that I got to her in a way that makes the smart and freshly divorced nervous. Turns out all the hot and cold was the cycling of a human being caught in a cycle of terror versus passion.

She loves me. She says it often and openly without pulling away in the next minute. After all the years, she loves me. I have become her best friend, displacing even her girlfriend from high school. She wants to marry me, and the only thing holding her back is the fear that if she does, she’ll lose me.

Time might get her past that fear.

Who knew that a little yellow flier tucked away in a 10 year old girls schoolbag could make such a wonderful birthday present?

Barnes and Noble
B o o k s e l l e rs

April is National Poetry Month


Your child’s poem has been selected from among 180 entries to receive an award at the 8th Annual Barnes and Noble Lennox Children’s Poetry contest. Your child is invited to read their poem and receive an award and certificate at the Poetry Fest at Barnes and Noble Lennox.
  • Please sign in at the poetry table by the front door where a copy of the child’s poem will be provided to read at the event.
  • Students will read in the order in which they arrive.
  • The top poems will be displayed in the Children’s Department. Again, our congratulations! We hope your child can participate in this exciting event showcasing talented young poets.
  • Please RSVP to (insert name here) at XXX-XXXX

    8th Annual
    Children’s Poetry Fest
    Saturday, April 16th
    11:30 am – 12:30 pm

    To top it off, last night, knowing my affinity for cooking and burning myself, the wee one also presented me an "Ov Glove". According to their website, this handy invention will be:

    "The glove that makes you feel like a superhero. Withstands temperatures up to 480 degrees, and does not catch fire or melt! Handle scorching light bulbs, baking pans, wood-burning stoves, and more. Fits either hand."

    I've got news for the fine folks at "Ov Glove", while I appreciate their product (it really works!), I already felt like a superhero, at least to one person in particular.

    Finally! After 6 months of putting up with this crappy Japanese winter, a sign of Spring. For a country that is so obsessed with their four seasons, their goddamn winter is sure long enough. It only leaves 6 months for the other 3 seasons combined. However finally today a beautiful one and cherry blossoms starting to bud. It is hard to explain the profound lift in spirits this has brought. After March, which sucked to the fifth level,(you know it sucks when it hits the highest level of suckivity), it felt like a huge sack of pea soup had been lifted from my shoulders. So there I was sitting in a small secluded park eating my little store bought bento box, watching the ants scurry around looking for food, marvelling at their immense strength. I took some grains of rice out of my lunch box and dropped some around the ground near the bench to give the ants something to eat. One of them even tried to haul off about seven grains that were stuck together. He was scrambling around, checking it from evey angle like a little engineer. I was mesmerized.

    It must have been an extraordinarily bad winter if the coming of Spring makes me want to feed the ants.

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