He was a gentle man. You might not guess that at first meeting. But he was. And a gentleman to boot. A gentle man, who took no bullshit. But he’d laugh it off without a lingering thought, and just move on, whereas my grumblings would linger.

He taught me much in our short times together over the years. We were young men when we met in the midwest that October day. It struck me recently that I do, indeed, miss him. We weren’t that close, except when we were together. Then we were inseparable, almost identical roguish twins from different mothers. The rogue part I mean. We didn’t look at all alike, even in our younger days. Robert had wild, longish hair and a bushy mustache. Me, clean shaven, short hair, more buttoned-down looking.

But he was the sophisticated rogue. Six fluent European languages and a good European education meant he was unmatched. I was the junior, more inept one. He was a classical music fanatic. Me? Well I was pretty good at British Invasion musical trivia. He taught me so much.  Mostly, he gave me an example of how to approach, and appreciate life.

And he showed me his easy sophistication. He taught me how to buy jewelry from a private Swiss jeweler in Bern.  The best quiet bars in Zermatt.  The just perfect French phrasing to use on a snotty Paris hotel doorman. But I got even when they mistook me for a French count for that whole week at the Palace in St. Moritz. It was moi who got us the prime table every evening in the discotheque, bypassing the long lineup of mere multimillionaires.

We used to get into trouble. Robert always had the perfect plan for our evening fun. Luckily I was always that one beer behind at 3am, to have the wits to be able to get us out of that perfect plan when something went wrong.

And then would come the laugh. From deep inside of him. That moved all the way up to the squinting, laughing brown eyes. It was forever there when we sped back to the hotel when we inevitably managed to escape whatever fix we were in. Or when we met at the bar waiting for the other’s long flight to arrive.

He lived his life to the fullest measure I could ever imagine. He was his own man to the end. Wouldn’t let his condition get him down, interfere with the full measure.

I miss you Robert. I have yet much to learn.

A Bridge in the Cosmos

the-real-bridge-yours[1]I don’t know.

Sometimes I really know. You know?

But sometimes I don’t. Right now I really don’t. I mean I can feel it. Yes I can. But do I truly know? No, I don’t think I do.

Cosmos. The greatest unknown. I’ve always loved that word. We call our humans in space astronauts. The Soviets called theirs cosmonauts. Don’t you think those damn Ruskies captured the breadth and the emptiness and the loneliness and the breath taking wonder beyond this little blue orb contained in the English language word cosmos so much better than our bureaucrats in Houston and Washington did? I mean, astro vs the cosmos. C’mon … there really is no comparison.

But I’m digressing. But maybe not. The cosmos is so unknown, don’t you know? And did I mention, I don’t really know.

Because there’s this bridge. I’m building. Well, it’s kind of built. Partially. A little rickety right now to be honest. In my mind it’s pretty old and tentative. And I feel it’s out there in the cosmos. Nothing fixed at either end. Because when I get it almost attached at her end, before I know it, it’s drifting again.

All this time she thought I was a wedge. Coming between the important things in her world and us. I don’t know (there’s that thought again) how many times I’ve tried to explain it to her. But as of yet, she’s not a believer. I thought it was getting through that gorgeous noggin of hers when I said it was a bridge, and not a wedge. That made her consider.

Which was progress.  But today the bridge is very much adrift.

So I don’t know.

There’s a theme here.

One thing I do know.

I don’t like I don’t know.


The Legacy of Thermopylae

dsc_1051__sized[1]2586901971_84e687e138[1]Spartan_helmet_2_British_Museum[1]History fascinates me. The people, the calculations, the chances taken. Those not taken. The courage, the fear. How fate intervenes. And most of all the impact on the future.

One of the best known battles in Western civilization is the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC between the Greeks and the invading Persians. It’s also a great example of how public relations works. We all know of the heroic Leonidas and his 300 Spartans. But how often do we acknowledge the 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans who fought to the death with them?

Thermopylae has always grabbed me by the throat and shaken me and yelled in my ear “Look! This is important!”

Or was it?

Historians have revisited and reevaluated the meaning of this battle countless times. The current thinking is very different from what I was taught about it in early high school. And that’s good. Constantly reevaluating is a sign of progress and an admission we don’t have all the answers.  Every time I am in Greece and near the area, I visit the site of the battle and look at the monuments. The first time was over 40 years ago, the last a few years back. It always makes me think. And reevaluate consequences.

But my role here is not education, dear reader, it is entertainment. Don’t worry, I do know my place.

All this preface to say that I feel I had my own mini Marty-Thermopylae. It began in London in the late 1960s. I believe it had a profound affect on the Marty of today.

Or did it?

Perhaps if I write these things down, which I never have before, I too, mini-Marty historian that I am, may not only remember, but reevaluate those consequences and the legacy. I know I don’t have all those answers.

It may prove to be interesting. Please stay tuned.



I Heard a Story

Bella and I had some alone time a few days ago.  It was quiet. And nice.

She opened up a bit … something that is very rare for her to do.

Bella told me of a past love. From many years ago. A man she met while living for a time in New York. She fell heavily for him.

She followed him to the other side of the globe, it was that intense.

The time with him was magical, and she had made up her mind to stay and make her life with this man.

Then he told her it wasn’t to be. It wouldn’t work. This was not what he wanted.

Crushed, she returned home to start life anew.

The story greatly saddened me. I don’t understand how such a gentle, gracious, beautiful flower could not satisfy this man.

Some things I know I will never be able to comprehend. This is one.



1567474457_835a36612e_b[1]Me: I’m not breathing right now.
Her: That’s not good. You need to breathe.
Me: When you float you don’t need to.

You have caused a lot. A lot of thinking. No, more than that. Deep contemplation. A tempest in my brain. Wait … that’s not correct. My mind is placid. Save for the bubbles.

A constant stream.  Small packets of thoughts, ideas, concern, joys. Bubbling to the forefront of my mind. Rising like a sparkling effervescence.

There are two people I try and be open with. Sometimes that means being brutally honest. Which has got me into trouble before, hasn’t it? The two? You. And me.

I think I’m being honest with myself. But I have become so polished at covering my tracks when I need to, maybe I’m subconsciously trying to deceive myself.  I don’t think so. I hope not. That would really piss me off.

I’m convinced I’m fine with his time. Whatever you decide you want. When you decide. And I have no problem with our time, how it will be.

I know you wonder. I’ve wondered, too. Some of that carbonation from my brain. I’m convinced everything will be as close to perfect as is possible given the constraints. For me. For us.

But late yesterday it struck me. I’ve really been focused on me, what’s been going on in my heart … then it finally hit me. This is all about you. You are the one needing answers. You need to understand what this is all about. You’re more confused than I am.

We need more bubbles.

The Universe Responds

earth_space[1]Perhaps you will remember the recent post  about attending my garden (of women). I did make a valiant effort at pruning, and I thought I’d catch you up on what has transpired.

My first candidate for the shears was Ronnie. I haven’t written very much of her, and with good reason. Frankly, not much has happened. Her inability to arrange suitable get together times has frustrated me for long past the patience of mere mortal males. She has been a major disappointment, and here was the opportune time for me to cut my (time) losses. Then, miracle of miracles, as I slowed the pace of communication and showcased some of my frustrations, she became more responsive. Move her from the definite to go to the maybe can stay pile. Grrrr!

Next for the pruning snips was all communication with Cassandra. Our lives were definitely headed in different directions, and although the fondness and tenderness would always be there (and her for me, I knew), practically speaking there was not going to be any immediate payoff registering on my emotional grid. I had already mentally said goodbye. What remained was just perfunctory closure.

As I transmitted that message to the galaxy, it was received throughout the universe. And  the universe decided to respond. A minor action somewhere distant to her world caused a barely noticeable tremor near to her, which led to slow but steady, like a dripping faucet, deterioration elsewhere. This caused mon beau papillon to flutter her wings anew, to explore, and send her own signals out to the galaxy.

When the waltz began, the music, the touching, the renewed closeness lifted her spirits, which in turn, brightened my days.. As a result she has asked to visit. These days we live far, far apart.

But I believe it will happen.

As We Begin to Waltz

slowwaltz[1]And so for two days we’ve begun to dance once more.  Not exactly like old times, and the tempo is slow. But we do both know the connection is alive. We know how, but we’re wary.  First stiff then compliant. Eagerness held in check. The steps and the cadence are familiar.

It won’t be a torrid tango of old from the Argentine, and we will never showcase our moves again in prime time. That will remain the property of the archives. But there is little hesitation. Only minor awkwardness.

We’ve begun with the waltz, but it feels comfortable doesn’t it? I have missed holding you like this. An observer would see we move well together. Our movements as one. Your follow to my lead. My pledge to grasp you tight. Not let you fall. Why there might even be a double reverse spin coming up.

Today we saw our reality.  We are joined somehow, beyond all reason, above every contradiction.

No manual can explain the intricacies of connection. No logic will solve the mystery. No book able to chart the magic.

There is no how. There is no why. There is what we are.

Attending to the Garden

Spring is an appropriate time for this. To pare. Whittle down the collection. Get at some long neglected pruning.  I’m in one of those this really needs to be done moods.  Sometimes unrelated events will set me to thinking. Other times to action.

I am involved with too many women right now. Or more appropriately the investment is no longer yielding an adequate return in some areas. Patience has run thin.

Judicious pruning should yield new shoots. Additional growth. Fewer boughs to distract the sun. More pleasure.



Mon Beau Papillon

Viceroy_Butterfly[1]You have now alit mon beau papillon.

I am so at a loss.

I want to protect you, shield you, help you. But I cannot.  All you are going through right now would overwhelm anyone. The personal traumas, the work, and now the missing love.

And you call out for your old self. She was always there you say now. I know she never left. That, I always knew. You liked to pretend she was gone. You flit back and forth, totally  committed one day. Disappearing the next.

“We’re quite the contrast,” I say.

“Opposites attract,” you smirk.