Friday, October 23, 2009
On the Road Again
I'm off again tomorrow on another epic road trip. I'm driving to Ontario to pick up some furniture that Charlie had borrowed, 8 years ago when we split. I've tried not to blog too much about Charlie, but I think about him all the time; about when we were together, what went wrong, why it didn't work... what was wrong with me that this extraordinary man couldn't live with me. I think he expected my mind to be as deep and inquisitive as his, and he was disappointed to discover that I am just as shallow as the rest of the world, that I like Star Wars better than Nietzsche and chocolate better than seaweed. I had hoped that we would share all these things. I wanted to read the things he read and talk about them with him, but he didn't want to hear what I thought. Charlie was a remarkably self-disciplined person, and I'm certain that he found me to be lazy and hedonistic. I think, although he never said as much to me, that part of his personal philosophy was that physical enjoyment was bad, so if he liked a food he would stop eating it, and if he enjoyed a hobby he would stop doing it. Food was for nourishment and time was to be spent in meaningful pursuits. I think he was frustrated that I didn't share his level of personal discipline, and I know he held me in contempt for my perceived weakness. Imagine knowing that your spouse finds your thoughts pedantic and your habits contemptible. I'm certain that he thought I didn't love him, that I wanted to change him, or that I only cared about how he seemed, not how he really was. I loved him in the only way I knew how. The only thing I would have changed was to have made him happy, not just to seem happy but to really and truly be happy. I loved him whether he was happy or not, whether he was healthy or not, whether he was good to me or not. I loved him whether he loved me or not. It breaks my heart to know that the years we were together were the most miserable of his life, and conversely I'm so glad that he had found a place he loved and work at which he excelled and people in whose service he found fulfillment.