Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day & Billy

Friday Joe & I both got off work early, due to the upcoming holiday weekend. I got my hair cut at my new salon. (See my entry on Jan 26th entitled "Hair Salon".) When I came in I was surprised to see the wife of the former owner of my old salon. “Danny” had told me they had sold the salon to him and moved back to Puerto Rico. When I told the wife this story, she rolled her eyes and said, “I don’t understand why he makes up lies like that. I guess he doesn’t want our clients to find us.” Apparently “Danny” had also told another client that the owner had cancer! In reality, with their advancing age the owner and his wife simply didn’t want the responsibility of owning the salon anymore, so they sold it and both got jobs elsewhere as stylists. My new stylist is Michelle, and she gave me a great haircut! I think I may trust her to do my highlights one day.

Friday evening we met our friends Michael and Jamie at their new condo, which they’ve been busily painting and fixing up. It looks great! Then we went to CiCi’s pizza for dinner, and caught up with them on what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Then we came home, packed a bag and headed off to the beach at 9:15. We intentionally left late so as to miss the traffic congestion and miles of back-up getting to the Bay Bridge. It worked – we sailed right threw the toll plaza with no delay, and the traffic was great. We arrived in record time. Since we had no furniture or guests traveling with us, and since our Suburban uses so much gas, we went up in my convertible.

Saturday’s weather was quite “iffy”. It was warm enough for shorts and the top down, but the skies kept changing every 10 minutes it seemed. Bright and sunny, followed by dark and gray. Once or twice it sprinkled about 18 drops, but it never actually rained. We didn’t mind. We were happy to be away from the stress of our jobs and everyday lives.

After a late breakfast, we ran a few errands (Lowes, Wal-Mart, Food Lion, etc) and stopped by our old place to say hi to the new owners. Then we had lunch back at our house, Joe took a nap and I read. Then we headed out for a drive. The weather was more sunny than cloudy at that point, so we just enjoyed a drive through the Prime Hook wildlife refuge and seeing the diverse homes at Broadkill Beach. It’s so funny to me to see mobile homes with additions sitting on bay front lots next to multi-million dollar houses! It’s an interesting area, but not a place I’d want to own, since waterfront is the bay, not the ocean.

Then we came home and had a cook-in. That’s kinda like a cook-out (same food) but grilled indoors on our George Foreman mega grill. There is definitely something about grilled hamburgers and hotdogs that says “Summer”.

Sunday’s weather was a real treat! Bright and sunny, with not a cloud in sight. After a late breakfast we got our beach stuff together and drove into the Cape Henlopen State Park to the beach. It was simply delightful! After donning appropriate SPFs, we enjoyed looking out at the ocean, seeing dolphins, and people-watching. Joe listened to some music on the pocket CD player and I continued reading the ‘Letters from Camp Rehoboth’ magazine. After about 90 minutes I knew I needed some shade, so I put up the beach umbrella and continued reading. What a gorgeous day – a real departure from most Memorial Day weekends.

Most Memorial Day weekends in the DC area are like the one on which Joe and I met: unseasonably cool and rainy. In fact, on our first date (on Memorial Day) it was so cool that Joe had on a flannel shirt/jacket over his polo shirt. It was so rainy that we had both gotten soggy walking from our cars to the coffee shop in Dupont Circle. (You know Dupont Circle parking…)

We decided to come home Sunday night, rather than staying through Monday, partly because we didn’t want to get caught in the Monday beach exodus, but mostly because I wanted to meet a good friend of mine, visiting from California, for lunch.

Billy and I have an extensive history. In my former life as a straight (poser) Jehovah’s Witness, Billy and I had been very close friends. Although 8 years younger than me, we had lots in common, and he would always make me laugh with his celebrity and non-celebrity imitations as well as his unique outlook on many things. Billy’s sister Kim became my temporary girlfriend, and the three of us did everything together. We have so many great memories of hilarious times!

But when I parted ways with the JW religion, it is the custom of all JWs to shun the person who has left or has been kicked out, so Billy and my friendship was severed. I moved to a different town, and he got married a few years later. He and his wife even lived in the same town as me and one time I saw them in a restaurant. I wanted so badly to walk over to them and say “Billy – I’m still the same person!” but I didn’t. Years later they moved to Arizona due to his work.

Then, 3 years ago there was a familiar voice on my answering machine. “Hi, this is Billy. I’m calling for Mark. Please call me at…” I was shocked and elated at the same time, and called immediately.

Billy was back in town, visiting is parents, and had decided to try and make contact with me. He and his wife had stopped being JWs while in Arizona. She had had emotional problems for years and things had steadily gotten worse for them. When he came out to her she pretended to be okay at first, but one day she left Billy a note and drove all the way from Arizona back to Virginia where her mother and sister live. Billy was worried and relieved at the same time. They agreed to split up, and he began to move on with his life. This would be his first visit back to Virginia, to see his family.

After talking on the phone we knew we had to see each other. He came to our house and we talked and laughed and reminisced for several hours. I took him to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant and then he headed back to his folks’ house.

This visit was going to have to be shorter. Billy was trying to see several friends, as well as spend a good portion of time with his folks, who graciously paid for his plane ticket this time. We decided to meet at the Carlyle (his choice) for lunch today. It was really good to see him! Unlike last time where we caught up on many years of activities, this time we talked more about our lives now. I wanted to know how he lived and what he did with his time. I wanted to know if he was seeing anyone and if he was happy. We had a great visit and I felt like I was able to share with him a sage thought that likely applies to many of us:

What has happened to us in the past is now a part of our history, and it will never go away. We can read self-help books, go to therapy, enlighten ourselves, but it doesn’t change what’s already happened. It is a part of who we are now, like it or not. Now that doesn’t mean we’re sentenced to a life of darkness, doom, or unhappiness. Hopefully the books, therapy and enlightenment will help us to deal with this part of our past, but it will not take it away. No amount of therapy or enlightenment will take away the past. So we need to stop expecting that ‘some day everything will be fine’ or that some day we’ll finally forget about the unpleasantness of our past. Instead, we should learn to accept what is and move on to what we want our life to be.

I sure wish someone had told ME that years ago.

1 comment:

Billy said...

And I thought the post was gonna be about me! ;)

Hope all is well with you and your partner. *hugs* Billy