Tuesday, April 3, 2012
So it was this morning, that Robin left for work. I because of my sleep disorder returned to slumber, as I rarely awaken before 10 AM. Slipping into the reverie of dreams, I'm walking down Westheimer in Houston. I look up ahead and there he is! I let out a squeal and run into Skip's waiting arms. For the readers, a bit of a side note here. Skip was the first true love of my life. He was my lover, my friend, my mentor, my teacher, and yes my soul mate. Those who knew us back in the old Westheimer Square Apartments saw daily the deep devotion we had for each other.
So I'm holding him and we kiss. It was exactly the way it was before he passed away in August of 97. I could smell his scent on his collar, it was just so delicious. The photo above is Skip in a playful mood threatening our friend Andrew with his cane. Skip was such a remarkable man for all seasons. Incredibly sensitive, intelligent with a resume that was classical. He held degrees in German, Latin, Classical Greek, English, Philosophy, Theology, and Music. Before the pain of rheumatoid arthritis required him to retire early, he had been a teacher in the Catholic school systems in Houston, and had at one point helped write the Latin curriculae for the state of Texas. He loved movies and we spent hours sitting watching the old classics together. he was also a devotee of classical music. He'd been friends with former Houston Symphony Director John Barbirolli and his wife Lady Evelyn Barbirolli. I loved the passion by which he'd critique a piece he might be hearing on the radio.
"Goodness Skip, I've missed you so much!"
"Me too. You do have Robin though and that's a good thing."
"Honey, how do you feel about that?"
He smiled. "Love simply is. We love each other. You love her too. I'm so glad for you finding someone when it came time for me to go.Honey, love is always, I repeat always a good thing. I'm so happy for you."
We hugged and kissed again, then began a walk down Westheimer. As we made the journey, in one's and two's and more our old friends appeared and we laughed and reminisced. Skip asked, "Where's Westheimer Square?"
I reply, "Gone. An expansion by Randalls."
"Charlies?" It was a favorite restaurant where the waiters knew our names and the neighborhood would come to meet. It was a constant roar in the place. The day Skip died, I went to Charlies. I was alone and needed to be around someone. They were so good to me that day.
"Gone" I said.
"Damned shame. Ah well, change is always with us isn't it?"
There was Milton and Alice and so many other characters from the old days. Soon it was the core group of us, Andrew, Merlyn, me and Skip walking along. Suddenly I realized, Skip no longer has that cane. Towards the end he had suffered so much pain. Forgive a reminisce offered by Alice back then and repeated in my dream this morning. She said she was in awe how despite his pain, hardly able to walk sometimes, he'd nevertheless when time came, make his way from the apartment to stand and greet me coming home from work. I remembered it too, that face smiling through the pain, waiting to greet me and together we'd head back to the apartment. He told me he didn't hurt anymore and that was a huge blessing. How many nights I'd spent massaging those sore joints and muscles. He'd died from viral encephalitis. That happened because his immune system was compromised. The immune system was compromised due to the meds he took for the rheumatoid arthritis. So it was the RA that took him really. Yet here he was, a spring in his step and a pain free smile on his face. In my dream I felt such joy for him!
We talked about more as well, some of it too personal to share here. The crazy thing is, I awoke twice during the dream but each time I returned to sleep right where the dream left off. Then we said our farewells. Skip whispered in my ear, then I awakened. What was that last thing he said?
"Love is forever. Never forget that."
I won't ever forget it.