He wrote. Often times he would go sit in a pub and watch people, and let the things that were floating around in his head take shape.
Tonight was really interesting. There was something he wanted to tell his daughter. Something she wouldn’t understand for 20 or 30 years, when she would have the same questions. Something about his real legacy to her.
What would he really want to show her? Perhaps the dawn on the big island, or sitting on a motel porch in Canada, in the center of those vast prairies, just reading by the light of the sky at 11 PM, and watching the Auroa Borealis waver and dance in the far northern sky. Perhaps the cold spring wind on the Mendocino coast. Perhaps they both would share the joy of her first born, or he actually would be able to walk her down the isle.
Really, though, she would have the pictures from her own adventures, from the life that was hers. What really was his job alone to give her, to know that she understood?
Floating around his head was the answer.
He sipped the Guinness, and watched the people. He was on a porch, 15, or 20 feet away from the windows separating the inside from the outside. The sun was setting so the diners had mostly closed the drapes from the glare.
There was one set of curtains, however, that wasn’t entirely closed. Through it he could see the center of a table, two sets of hands and knees sitting across from each other.
And he watched, made small talk from some of the other people on the porch, but watched.
Those hands, first from one side, then the other, would reach across the table, and enclose the other, a finger would caress a wrist, a knee would touch. It was so extraordinarily intimate, in such a public place.
He didn’t think he would have been able to observe that dance if he were inside the room. It was so quiet, part of their conversation, whatever that was, and amazingly personal.
As it was, he felt like he was intruding
He reflected on his own life, and how the moments like that he could count on one hand.
That quiet, calm, totally certain confidence.
He was learning it, but hadn’t known it.
Those hands in the window were a special thing, and he was privileged to be here observing.
During that evening he had gotten into a conversation with a couple who had been married 25 years, were raising three children, were obviously in love, and having one of their two weekly nights alone.
Except for him.
Turns out they were good friends with an old protagonist, whom he always felt would have been an entirely different relationship, in a different environment.
A wonderful evening.
They asked if he wouldn’t crash their party next week.
And what was funny, was that they left, and that thing that he had been trying to grasp, hit him.
It went like this:
Dear Darling Daughter:
Your life is your own,
Yours to build.
Most primarily it
Have our own truth
Which is proving
To be true, and stable.
You need that.
She is she,
And has proven
A wonderful mother,
A wonderful friend.
You know you
Because of her.
And you know
I seek teach,
Or try to show,
Or seek to reach
I only know:
Can be to achieve.
I can show best
My own dreams.
By staying on
My own pony.
My own truths.
As unique to me
As yours are to you.
When the dreams have drifted
The dust settled,
The truths so contained
In the context of their own breath
I would prefer to have
into the world.
It is worth it!
Dear Darling Daughter,
You do seem to already
Wasn’t that something!!
The things you learn, the things you want to show, mostly from watching windows.