The Long Island Watchtower


I don’t know what day it is. I mean, I know it’s Wednesday, but that automatic calculation of days has left me. Monday night is the night I want to write about. Tuesday was a write-off.

Brett, Brian, Claudio, Mindy (Adam’s lovely wife), my loves and I drove to Long Island to rescue the Legendary Adam from his family home for a few brief hours to share a meal, and remind him of life outside of his current reality.

I don’t even remember the name of the restaurant. There was a lot of seafood, and a lot of drinks. (Mom, you may not like this post, but it needs to be said, so here it is.) We decided early on that Sarah would be our DD, and so she sipped coffee in her delicate, Sarah way and witnessed the evening unfold.

Adam has a face you instantly like, and this isn’t something you can tell from pictures. In photos he seems interesting, comical, and outgoing, but there is a warmth that radiates from this guy that you can only feel in person. I’ve heard so much about his larger-than-life personality, that I was surprised to realize he wasn’t a giant. I expected him to be my brother’s size.

He was understandably quiet, and I realized this was a very rare opportunity to see a side of this guy that few people ever see. I was touched by that, and touched by his comfort with everyone. He didn’t feel like he had to perform, he was able to relax, remain engaged, and just appreciate the company.

The boys are now a bit sketched out by this blog (or perhaps by me). They’ve brought a friend named Ari, and they warn him not to say anything because it may end up on the Internet. They don’t seem to realize that this blog is typically about me, not other people.

After our feast, and just around the time I was starting to lose feeling in my face, half the posse headed back to the city, leaving the three of us, Adam, Mindy, and Brian behind. At first we thought we were heading to Adam’s high school hangout, but we ended up back at the Hersh home.

Adam asked Sarah to come inside and help him collect a couple of bottles of his father’s scotch. The rest of the evening gets fuzzy from here. Brian seemed really uncomfortable with the idea of hanging out so close to home, he’s incredibly honorable, and didn’t want to show disrespect, but I assured him that if Adam needed us close, it was all okay. I’m not sure how reassuring a stranger can be, but there you go.

We stretched ourselves out on the lawn and consumed copious amounts of drink. We talked quietly, sometimes I laughed too loud, Mindy went into bed, and their shih tzu, Jack Bower, rested between Sarah and I.

Adam couldn’t help but give me the same warning that everyone who loves my partners gives me. He was subtle, but it was clear. He loves this family, and needed me to know that. I’ve grown accustomed now to fielding such statements, questions, and remarks. I assured him he needn’t worry,  because we share a love for these people that runs very deep.

My emotions were right on the surface, which may or may not have been appropriate, but it’s actually not possible for me to witness someone else experiencing such a huge moment without feeling great empathy. I offer up this blog post, from Spring of ’09 by way of explanation, in case I was out of line. Sometimes other people’s tears are the last thing you need. I felt like we bonded, but I was fairly hammered, so it’s hard to be sure.

I realized a few huge things on Monday night. I want to share them here, because there is something about the written word that sets these revelations in stone (here’s the part where I turn the microscope back on me):

* Our friendships and family are the only really important things we have.

* There is no way to understand certain experiences of life unless you’ve lived them, and even then, your experience is totally personal.

* When I drink too much I flip the same kind of switch that my grandfather did and spiral downwards into total self-loathing. This was our experience later in the evening, after we had left. It was as ugly as I’ve ever been, and I regret it more than anything.

* Deep down inside, underneath all the bravado and outspoken tendencies, there is part of me that cannot accept that I deserve real, healthy love. If I can’t fix this, I will make this loveless idea my reality, despite anyone else trying their damnedest to love me. I wonder how many of us share this?

* I am loved. Really and truly loved, in a healthy, positive way, by two incredible people.

I don’t know how long we’re staying here. We’re having dinner with Adam tonight, and then we’re talking about leaving early tomorrow to drive back to Canada, our children who I am missing desperately, and the beaver farm. This week has been emotional, and deeply impacting, and I am staring down feelings and memories that are nearly seven years old and as vibrant as if they happened yesterday.

This life will only amaze us if we allow it to. It will test us, and challenge us, and shape us, and then it falls to us to decide what to do with our remaining days. I think I am only now beginning to understand that I have more power than I’ve ever given myself credit for when it comes to creating my experience of life.

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