Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Slide Goes to Nepal

Slide is the name I've given him from a Dido song he introduced me to years ago when Dido wasn't on the popular music map yet. We were children at the time. I remember this particular music playing as we spent a quiet evening together, heavy spring DC rain outside, legs everywhere, hands to ourselves, on opposite sides of a small loveseat. We quizzed each other on English words from a hardback dictionary, then words in Spanish.

Slide has somehow found his way to Nepal. A dream fulfilled for him. He wanted to do the world-circuit, and he did. He severely broke his foot prior to the original date of his departure. This delayed him. It was tragic, but a good thing for him. It forced him inside of himself, to the place where he was weak and needed to work on recovery. Two weeks before this happened, I watched him play soccer on the field where his body would inevitably go one way, while his foot went the other. I had a sensation that something was about to give for him. He thought it would be his relationship. He was accustomed to zig-zagging, needing by not needing, always dodging invisible bullets that were, at best, mere self-creations projected into a larger situation that was seemingly always out of control for him. His capriciousness is something that has tempered over time, but will never go away.

The breaking of his foot bone was a much needed excuse to stop and re-align. He eventually had to get up and walk again, but this time with the consciousness of having to feel his feet on the ground. Funny how that happens. The wonderful thing about Slide is that he takes such lessons in stride. He always finds his way. He may be late. He may show up a little thin and hungry, but he shows up. And he may take a few months to sleep and repair, but he will come through the worst with a deep, chesty laugh, a funny twist of words, and his irreverent, mischevious smile.

"Tell me, lovely...."--he has a way of starting off sentences like this when we happen to find ourselves in the same physical space at the same time. But he doesn't finish them, and I don't jump in to talk just to hear myself speak. There's no need. We both take comfort in this. We have no desire to domesticate each other because neither of us like to lose. Everything can be said in a hug, a smile, and a few moments of silence.

Nepal!! Some people have a way of traveling through this time-space continum and still never being far away. He keeps me with him in his travels, just as I do in mine. Sometimes, like when I was in Israel last summer, I had an immediate longing for his physical company. I missed his companionship miserably, even though we've never been to that part of the world together, or at the same time. But it seems that I never have to go far without finding him. Whether in Nepal or here, he's in my thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes.

"I hitchhiked to the train station in Chisenau. Took a train from Chisenau to Venice," he once told me when we met in Spain. "It took a few days. In Venice, I got in a cab and the cab driver sold me a flight from there to Madrid for 25 euros. I figured that I'd just take the train, but now I'm here."

"But why did you come all of this way?," I said to him.

"To see you, of course," he said. "Why else would I come to Spain?"

We looked at sunglasses, ate makeshift bocadillos, sat in the sun, and held hands like lovers in Madrid. I laughed at the insanity of it all. Because, somehow, it all made perfect sense.


Barbara said...

Slide sounds like a wonderful guy. I hope his broken foot supports him in Nepal. It would seem a place where it might be nice to have 2 working feet.

VJ said...

Some nice description of a fellow wanderer. Cheers, 'VJ'