A little story about the late IWhoSawtheFace and myself...
In 2007, I was leaving New Hampshire to return to Orlando, following what had been the most emotionally devastating two years of my life. I was eager to return to Orlando to hopefully reboot my life here. I was a complete wreck and returning in a car that had seen better days, worried that it wouldn't get me back home again.
That summer, there was a major E2 gathering in Ohio that coincided with my return trip to Florida. There were a number of people who wanted me to attend, but I told them that there was no way that I could chance traveling out to Ohio. My car was in rough shape, I was pretty much flat broke, and in no state of mind for socialization on any level.
A lot of people tried to convince me to attend. Fred reached out to me. We'd talked back and forth for years here through messages, but we'd never met in person, talked on the phone, or even exchanged e-mail addresses. I'll add that iceowl had an assist in this, as I endeavor never to forget those who have been there for me throughout my life's journey, but Fred insisted that I could stay with him for two days prior to his own departure for Ohio. He offered to take me along, insisting that he didn't want gas money or any kind of compensation because, "I'm going there anyway, be nice to have some company."
While I was at his apartment, which was... well, if you knew him from his writeups you would not be surprised that the walls of his apartment were made up of bookshelves crammed with nothing but books relating to advanced mathematics and theories related to that kind of thing. Not my cup of tea at all, but it was very Fred.
He had also just begun a romance with a woman who lived in his building. He was nervous and giddy as a teenager (at the time, he was in his early 50s). He wanted my advice as he was having dinner at her apartment and they'd been out on one date after knowing one another only from seeing each other around the building. He was so afraid that he'd mess things up, say or do the wrong thing... now he was in my area. I managed to get him to relax and told him, "Just go with it, whatever happens, happens. You'll be fine. She's inviting you to her apartment for dinner. This is a very good sign if you are really into her." And he was very much into her.
That night he didn't come back home. I slept on the couch, and in the morning when I woke up, his bed was still made and he was nowhere to be found. An hour or so later, he bounded into the apartment with a smile on his face. Everything had gone well. Fred was in love.
Over the years that followed, we lost touch, but I've always remembered him from that summer, for what he did for me, and for that childlike quality he had and probably few really experienced.
In the drafts of the second novel of the trilogy that I am writing about my life's journey, this story appears and is given great significance. Because we'd been out of touch and I wasn't able to get in contact him during the writing, I did change his name and make minor adjustments to some of the details.
I remember thanking him after that weekend and he said, "Nah, don't mention it. What was it you wrote about? Give everything you can to everyone you know? Right back at ya."