He’s no longer in Vienna, been away for at least a decade. Living ‘off the grid’ with no internet connection. I respect that. Keeping a farm going on the southern tip of Wales with a few others. Close to the sea, he tells me. I picture him in my mind’s eye: purposeful, unhurried and at peace, finally. Having cast off the yoke of some key modern conveniences, perhaps he has at last arrived at a life worth calling his own.
Whenever we spoke the last time it must have been brief, awkward even. So many years apart, a vastness of water under the bridge, we were almost shy with each other. I felt guarded in offering too much information from my life. Yes, he should know that I did not fall on my face but how much detail to convey it? Instead, I relied on his desire to impress and let him tell me about his latest appointment at the Uni in Weimar, a few recent publications, a cooperation with an Ivy League professor. He sounded largely pleased with himself and his accomplishments. How could it be otherwise? In the end I didn’t need to reveal much about myself at all. It dawned on me then: he was actually never that enthusiastic about the listening part of conversation.
This guy. His laugh – from a high pitched near squeak to a raspy panting – so typical. How we met: at a road race. Before he came over to chat me up, he pointed out my high calf muscles to his friends. After the race we exchanged numbers. A day or two later we were jogging in my neighborhood park. A week later I was at his place more than my own. The week after that we decided to tie the knot. A month after that we followed through. It was always a good choice. Impulsive, yes. Radical, yes. Just enough of the right stuff to safely untie the knot when it was time. We’re still a surprisingly good team. His laugh remains notorious. I chose well.