11 November 2008

We'll Burn That Bridge When We Get There

Several years ago I got involved with a guy who was some sort of Marilyn Manson wanna-be (yeah, I know). He ended up trying to run me over with his beautifully restored Cadillac hearse when I insisted on being paid for a photo shoot I had done for him. He then showed up at my apartment an hour later, and asked me out to breakfast as if nothing had happened.

With the exception of that guy and maybe one or two others, there are very few people I have known or with whom I’ve been involved, that I wouldn’t at least have a curteous “hello” for, should our paths happen to cross again.

I have continued to follow the Beachside Bukowski’s blog, because I always enjoyed his writing. When I saw that he was gearing up to do some publicity work in town, I emailed him and offered to help in whatever way I could.

Four words from his reply made me smile and forgive.

The first two, a cheeky:

Nice letter. (Argh! Punk!)


miss you.

You, I replied, are a punk, but I miss you too.

And just like that we were friends again, and made plans to catch up while he was in Portland for the Wordstock Festival this past weekend.

He invited me out to dinner and had me pick a place in the neighborhood.

“Meet me there in fifteen minutes? I want you sitting in the corner, reading something by Flaubert or something like that,” he joked.

”I’ll see what I can do to oblige.” I replied dryly.

It wasn’t quite Flaubert he found me reading, rather one of the local weekly rags. I only felt a fleeting bit of…something…and then we hugged and he said “Kiss me.” And the last several months of tension never happened, as we sat across the street from the coffee shop where we had met for the first time.
We were colleagues again, friends, drinking buddies. We swapped stories and filled in the blanks we knew were missed between the lines of each other’s blogs.

“Of course I’ve been reading it! I think that last piece you wrote about me was one of the best pieces of yours I’ve read yet,” he confided “ and not ‘cause it was about me...The ending though, I didn’t think it was a good ending for a piece of non-fiction. You assumed a lot. If it’s fiction and you’re the narrator you can do that, but not with non-fiction…”

For a flash of an instant I wanted to throw my beer at him, but I just laughed and shook my head. Such are the hazards of fraternizing with fellow writers, not to mention of maintaining a chronicle that blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.

He apologized about the incident with the now Infamous letter, admitting he may have been a little insensitive.
“In my defense though, you never really told me how you felt about me. I still have the letter. I re-read it after you posted that, and it was kind of cryptic.” It was a gentle reproach.

I never have been very good at telling people how I feel about them. I try to express my fondness through action. Rather than say “I love you” to a friend or lover, I might cook and present them with a steaming hot bowl of lentils (one of my trademark tokens of affection, as some people very dear to me could attest).
I have always treasured the people that were able to truly see these affectionate getures for what they are.
This, however, may be the one area of my life where I might actually be accused of being too subtle.
And stubborn.
If they can’t see it…


I shrugged it off. “We’re here now.”

“I don’t like to burn bridges and neither do you. I know you don’t.” he shrugged back.

I could only partially agree. I believe some bridges you never burn–– others you raze because you know it is fruitless to harbor even the illusion that you can ever cross them again.

But it was neither the time nor the place for such debates.
We raised our glasses, toasted to reconciliation and got back to swapping stories.

All Content Copyright 2008, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

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