"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Angel with a Coffeecup
fas-ci-nate Function: verb
Etymology: Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare, from fascinum evil spell
1 obsolete : BEWITCH
2 a : to transfix and hold spellbound by an irresistible power [believed that the serpent could fascinate its prey] b : to command the interest of : ALLURE [was fascinated by carnivals] : to be irresistibly attractive [the novel's flamboyant cover fascinates]
3 : what Michelle could do without trying
Blogger Idol has suggested that this week we talk about the 80's. Well, seems like a good time to talk about Michelle.
This happened in 1989, but it still qualifies.
At the time, I was working for a computer company. We were selling computers in central Florida, in Ocala and Inverness. This is way back, when the 286's and 386's were still the workhorses, and 486's were the speed demons, running at 33 megahertz. This was back when a hundred megabyte hard drive cost over $1,000.
And there I was, selling these things in an area populated mostly by people over 60. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but older folks seldom have been on the cutting edge of technology and 1989 was no exception.
Which is why Michelle stood out, I think. She was probably 18 or 19, and was as beautiful as a Spring morning. I first saw her when I went for a cup of coffee after we closed, and she was working in the coffee shop on the other side of the strip mall. The next night I went in and she had already dumped and cleaned the coffeepots, but she told me that if I wanted to come in each night after work, she would make sure I had hot coffee.
So, every night after we closed I would head across the parking lot and get that cup of coffee along with a side of conversation.
She told me about her father, who she lived with. Her mother had passed away when she was younger and her father had raised her. They loved each other very, very much.
She told me about her dreams, to become a fashion designer. She wanted to go to school and learn how to do that, and was putting money away so she could.
One night I ended up working late. The phone rang and it was Michelle, checking to see if I was coming for coffee. Man, that sort of thing makes you feel good. To become a part of anyone's life, for someone to count you as such a friend, that is valuable.
One week, the fair came to town.
I wasn't really thinking about it when I went for my nightly cup. When I walked in there were several friends of Michelle's sitting at a table. She introduced me to all of them. She told me that they were going to the fair.
And she asked me to go with her.
Now, at this time, I was already engaged to the lady who would become my wife. So this question was far more important than it looked, or than Michelle knew.
Every so often in our lives there comes a moment when our morals are tested in an unexpected way. We have to make a split second decision, and the results can be catastrophic if we choose wrong. This was one of those moments.
I really wanted to go. It would be a harmless trip, nothing would be amiss.
"I'm sorry, I can't go, Michelle. But thank you so much for asking."
I passed the test.
And it was OK. I still went by and had my nightly coffee until the day when I left that job, which was only a month or so later. A few weeks after that I dropped by the coffee shop, and the lady in there told me that Michelle no longer worked there.
I hope she did well. I hope she is designing clothes. I hope she found someone that deserved someone like her. Every Columbine, after all, deserves a Harliquin eventually.
Sometimes when you look back on a situation, you realize it wasn't all you thought it was. A beautiful girl walked into your life. You fell in love. Or did you? Maybe it was only a childish infatuation, or maybe just a brief moment of vanity.
Henry Bromel, Northern Exposure, The Big Kiss, 1991