We drove up to Ruth's Diner, up the canyon. Cooler, cleaner air, to eat among trees. A treat, a date, and we always enjoy ourselves. As we walk out through the patio waiting area, I sense a familiar face, a moment to confirm in my mind after the changes a decade and a half can make, and there he is. Mark was D's sergeant when we were in Saudi for Gulf War I, a dear, kind smart and funny man, who is also a lawyer and investment banker. He appreciated the irony. Warm embraces all around. We chatted, caught up, all comfort.
Driving home, D - who served as the unit mailman, says Mark wrote to his wife every day. She wrote back at the same rate, although the mail did not come through as regularly. Little numbered missives counting the days. He wore two watches, one for the local time, one for the time at home. He no doubt kept us both sane.
We remembered his wife from Mark's retirement from the Guard, still a memorable woman. She worked in the system, if not the department, where I will start Monday. She reassured me that I would be very happy there. And Mark's father, who had a large facial laceration, newly stitched. We did not enquire in our brief meeting.
It's always struck me how, in those moments of transition, that people appear from other cracks in time. As I ran into my best professor the day before we left for Boston, quite by chance, not having seen him since the class from the decade before, and had the chance to express my gratitude and remembrance.
Labels: love story