Twenty-four Hours.

It’s been perhaps many years since I’ve spoken of my heart. Not just in here, but in general. I’d lost that interest, in outwardly vocalizing things that have come and gone, and especially about things that may one day come, or come again. It’s not that I’m a terribly private person, but for some years I’ve felt it would just do more good to get stuck in important tasks, lists of projects, and ways to make myself better than to ruminate on loneliness or isolation from romantic ventures. For years, then, I’ve turned inward and not bothered to write a word on this, and likewise, I’ve built some impressive bulwarks that are ready to be breached. I hope you’ll forgive me for this queer and long-overdue fit of cardio-approbation.

This is a story that shouldn’t exist. It’s a tale of love lost and then found, once flowing with the strength of ocean waves and then crashing on the rocks of impossibility, only to wear down those jagged obstacles in order to continue its inexorable ebb and flow. It’s a storybook love, one in which cruel fate tries to interfere only to be staved off by all that is good and right and true. It’s a saga and a sonnet, a reconnecting through the years and fears to come out the other side more whole than any part could manage alone. This is a story about making fate our bitch.


I first met Halsted by chance, when we briefly lived in the same town, just after both of us dusted ourselves off after massively long, brutal relationships. She’d wisped by me at the game store on more than one occasion in previous years, but I’d always made it a strict policy not to pick up on nor fawn over my customers – especially the married ones. To hear from her years down the road, and to have an opportunity to find out what she was really about, was an enticing and wonderful opportunity that I was happy to jump into.

And of course we got on like a house on fire. As the rooms burned, one by one, I realized that as busy as my life was at the time, I simply had to make the space to include her in my everyday. She had all the makings of an incredible ally – incontrovertible brightness, fathomless depths of knowledge and compassion, and unwavering loyalty. We started out as friends for many weeks before any romance had outwardly blossomed, but perhaps this was our staunch and well-crafted safety mechanisms ensuring that any latent foolishness was meted with near-plodding deliberation.

The romance did come, in the purest of ways, slowly and carefully, until it was blatantly obvious that we were making the right decision. And yet as soon as it gained momentum, I found myself packing up my entire life to move to Edinburgh for my graduate studies. While delightfully small and lithe, she simply couldn’t fit in my suitcase, nor would I have asked her to drop her life and join me so soon into our relationship. So instead, she helped me with every little aspect of my transfer – and more – all with unflinching sobriety, strength beyond strength, and not a few twenty-hour days of painstaking preparation. And with not one complaint, not a single resentment nor repudiation. I had never felt so in someone’s debt, and establishing a new life on the other side of the world without her was perhaps the most difficult task of my life up until that point. And then, four years apart. A more difficult task, yet.

Halsted is the one person whom I always figured I would marry; the one person who gave me a good, honest, devoted friendship and romance, concurrently and naturally. The one person whom I felt was helping me to heal, and and who most certainly dearly helped me strive to become a better person. We had all the makings, all the chemistry – no, the physics – and all the compatibilities. But we were too late, or perhaps too early, and my move to Scotland killed us painfully. It had nothing to do with us, only the distance between us. We let it go not because we wanted to, but because it was too painful to go on together, apart. We tried to maintain the friendship at all costs, but at times, the cost seemed too high, and we drifted farther apart than that proximity would describe. And when people know what they want but feel that it is not workable, sometimes marking things with a broad, black pen is the only way to survive. The ink seemed indelible, and our lives went on.

Not a single day went by when I didn’t think about her, wonder if she was happy, silently wish for her success and delight, wonder how we would have ended up had I stayed. She was universally loved by all my friends and family, and I received constant reminders over the past four years from them all that she was most definitely the one for me. But I was too scared to act and far too respectful to interfere in her then-current relationship, even though I had moved back home and we resided in the same city. We never found ourselves in the same places, though we had many friends in overlapping circles. We tried communicating on more than one occasion, but it was clear that there were forces outside of ourselves that contributed to making a steady rapport rather impossible. Yet neither of us knew precisely why.

The best I could do to keep her near was virtual: the beginnings of a letter that I had always wanted to send but never did, one that described her effect on my life and her reverence in my heart – unconditionally, without need for reciprocity. While changing in syntax and form, I wrote that letter every day in my mind, in case I ever found myself with the gumption to actually create it. I didn’t even know to what end it would gesture, but I knew I had to tell her these things. But that was always One Day. It never happened, and instead I spoke wistfully to my friends and family of how I almost had the perfect woman and the perfect relationship.

It was her strength, bravery, and utter genuineness – the same qualities that drew me close in the beginning and which I uphold with the absolute center of my being now – that changed everything. One day during work, not too long ago, I received a one-line letter, suggesting a brief meeting in the coming days. An audience to talk and reconnect, to catch-up and to confess, and I remember my eyes going all big and having to rest my head on my workmate’s shoulder for a moment as I considered the implications of this meeting. I responded in minutes, and we made plans to see each other at a friend’s wedding party the very next day. Fitting, in a way.

It took us not thirty seconds from the time we embraced again to stretch the span of eight-thousand miles and four years and bring it all crashing together. But we played it cool for at least the rest of the day, which in retrospect is absolutely hilarious. I walked into things as we talked, ignored the hyper-detail that I normally notice in my standard goings-on. There was only us, and when our old friends came by to find her there in the house, it was like not a single day had passed. The basis had already been there, the acceptance, and the inclusion, and now it felt that we got to finally reap the rewards of it, something to which we once had to give a pass due to abysmally poor timing.

Irony of ironies, we started to see each other just over a week before I had another trip to Scotland planned, this time only for a month, but nonetheless a familiar specter with the frightening propensity to bring out so many of the same feelings as when I first had left. We’ve been in contact every day while I’ve been gone, conquering these ghosts, and concentrating on what beauty awaits us just ahead. In a way, this is the last day of my first move to Edinburgh, a prolonged stay that lasted many years more than the actual transposition, except that now my destination is clear: back to the arms of the woman I’ll never leave. That’s twenty-four hours from this very minute.

So now we’re headed toward bliss – everything we’ve always hoped for and complete conviction and assuredness that we have the right person in front of us, for the long haul. I’ve never felt this before in my life, and I thought I’d felt everything. But Halsted helps me with this. Not just her presence and her devotion, but her total dedication to expression and communication, the bettering of both of our lives, together and individually, and the effortless way in which she loves. Her smile frightens bad dreams away and fills the world with the joy of just existing. I think everyone falls in love with her at some point, but this time she’s mine. And I finally understand that I deserve it.

In her words, words that build and shine and kill: there is no road for us without the other on it.

StedHeart

This is not. The greatest post in the world.

This is just a tribute. Rawk!

72 Responses to “Twenty-four Hours.”

  1. scothen_krau Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I dunno, I think it's a pretty great post. Of course, I've been a hopeless romantic lately, so I may be biased.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Lately? You can't fool us…
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. lunesse Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I woulda bet $10 before clicking she was under that cut. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Happy to see I am right. =)

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Of course you would remember.
    Shall I make out a check, then?

  5. lunesse Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 8:29 am

    No, save it someday for when we are all in the same place again and can toast to love. =)

  6. niddrie_edge Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    That's beautiful.
    Chuffed to bits for you man!

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for this, dear man.

  8. catness Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    And a great tribute it is…
    Thank you, again, for sharing a beautiful part of the universe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:17 am

    I love when you throw the horns. Thank you for always reading.

  10. jadesy Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    awwww you big sap ๐Ÿ˜€
    nah, just kidding, sorry i missed you last night. that is a wonderful post and really appeals to the romantic soul i have that i try so hard to hide ๐Ÿ˜€
    im so glad you found yours too ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:22 am

    You couldn't hide it if you tried…can't fool us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    such a lovely post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:21 am

    They occasionally pop out. But they're no replacement for long-overdue catch-ups. We're still neighbors; you up for some Eritrean grubbage?

  14. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    i'm in! ๐Ÿ™‚
    i'll get a hold of you later this week after the car business is somewhat handled and the brother is back from Switzerland to watch the not-so-wee one.
    let me know if that works for you.

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    This more than works for me. Looking forward to it.
    *belly gurgle*

  16. podle Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    yay!!! I'm so pleased for you and your mighty heart!
    Many blessings to you both.

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:25 am

    It's about time, eh? I see you and John and us at Forbidden Island in the near future. Just got back last night. Tell me about your August?

  18. podle Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 7:38 am

    It IS about time – I've been consistently baffled as to why you hadn't yet been snapped up by some smart girl. I'd love to meet her and, of course, to see you. August is mildly goofy as its got our anniversary in it – but we won't be straying far from home now that our special boy, Jack, has gotten even special-er – so Forbidden Island would be perfect. Other than getting the last of my ink this Sat. we've got nothing planned that I can think of…

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Well, now you know. I guess I'd been waiting for the right one. And inside, as you may have surmised from this post, I already knew her.
    August anniversary – how delightful! What's that special date, if I may ask?
    Also, YAY for tattoo. Just can't wait to see it finished…

  20. podle Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Well, it sounds like you found her (and she's quite a looker).
    August 21st is the special date – 6 years of being more than "just friends" 3 years of marital madness (emphasis on the madness I think) ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I am, at the moment, sadly in the midst of a viral infection (because glamour is my middle name, baby) but should have it shook (shaken? shooken?) by the weekend.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 11th, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    I'll be sending you all of my most celebratory thoughts on that very special day. And you looked wonderful today when I saw you, so I imagine you've shooooken that nasty ol' virus by now.

  22. scotis_man Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    You have brought tears of joy to my eyes. In the largest part for my delight at your obvious happiness, which I strongly feel that you deserve. (The other part is that you have reminded me greatly of when I met Amy.) I can't even put into words all the blessings I want to heap onto you two. (And I have never met Halsted.)

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:39 am

    You're a dear, sweet man. Thank you, and we'll get another hoose gathering together in the very near future so you can meet.

  24. aitkendrum Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Damn, man, Why do I always read yer posts when I'm cutting onions…

  25. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Try a matchstick in your mouth next time, mate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. pisica Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Woot!!!
    I'm afraid I can't be any more coherent than that right now….
    (PS there are no onions anywhere near my boyfriend. He's just a really soppy guy. The way I like him!)

  27. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Yes, his sop is one of his best qualities, to be sure. But there are so many!

  28. purpledonna Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    <font color="9400D3">Awwww that is truly beautiful. I am incredibly happy for you ๐Ÿ™‚ </font color>

  29. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks for reading, D, and also for your happiness.

  30. tkil Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 12:21 am

    wow
    Heh. And the LJ world gets a wee bit smaller, in the best way possible. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I'll lift a dram of my special reserve to you two!

  31. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Re: wow
    Now that's a special toast, and I thank you. I love meeting people who already know her, even if only virtually. Perhaps one day we'll connect for realsies.

  32. sleepycinderell Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 4:50 am

    I thought you had a sparkle in your eye that couldn't have been just sand! So glad to hear you have found your other half. Now, when do we get to meet her?! Say hullo to her from me and thank her for lending you to us for what must have seemed like a very long month.
    xx

  33. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Darling Mo. We'll most certainly be out in the fall of next year, and I simply cannot wait for you to meet.
    Your salutations are passed; tonight we'll lazily pore over pictures from our lovely Porty beach supper and plot and scheme to set up another one next year if you'd be so kind as to be our guide – and our guest of honor.
    It really was marvelous to see you again, and I'm so glad we were able to make that evening work. Entirely love your new digs!

  34. sleepycinderell Says:
    August 8th, 2007 at 2:14 am

    It was a wonderful way to eat curry! I've just downloaded the photos and will Flickr them asap. I hope Seth's turn out well too – they need to last us till your return next year!
    I would be delighted to welcome you both on behalf of Joppa again!

  35. roadnotes Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 5:24 am

    What a beautiful post. Congratulations to both of you.

  36. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you sincerely for this.

  37. mxhaunted Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 5:52 am

    So there is true love in the world for those who deserve it. Good luck to the two of you for the future.
    Really sorry I wasn’t able to make it out on Thursday. It was a mixture of crossed wires, lack of internet access and last minute work obligations. I did want to catch up with you though. :/

  38. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks, Mat. It does exist, and I can assure you that it is entirely worth striving for.
    You were the only one missing on Thurs. You'll not get rid of me so easily, however. Let me reserve a day or two of yours for next fall, okay?

  39. mxhaunted Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    If I'm still oop north then consider it done. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. noire_blanche Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Wow, just…wow. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Darren, you deserve every bit of this happiness and more.
    I couldn't be happier for you! May the bliss continue ever on!
    I'll have a drink in your honour tonight. This calls for a celebration methinks! &hearts

  41. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Oh, Jessica, thank you for this lovely comment!
    You've been in my thoughts a ton, and I really hope we get a chance to catch up when you have the time and energy.
    {What're you drinking tonight, btw?} ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. cygnoir Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 8:41 am

    After four years, only eight hours remain.
    My heart, your words are utter beauty. Anything more I could say here in response, I will instead tell you in eight hours, in your arms.

  43. dougygyro Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 11:28 am

    As Jennie and I read your post entwined in one another, I teared up as well.
    There is a certain thread of similarity in your story with my own. This reinforces to me that there is nothing more important in romance than timing. I feel similarly blessed with and worthy of Miss Jennie's love, and as does she.
    Well, I don't know about the "blessed" part… probably more like "touched" I think… ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Safe travels, sir. I cannot wait to see you. I believe a celebratory supper is in order sometime this week, as soon as you are ready.

  44. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Re: As Jennie and I read your post entwined in one another, I teared up as well.
    I'm glad that you pointed out this parallel, which *is* really amazing. You and Jennie really provide the perfect template of how missed opportunities may easily turn into the most wonderful of second chances. And both sets of us become more thankful than ever for having it happen this way.

  45. tallboi Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    a toast to you my brother. it makes me happy beyond words that you have found such a love.

  46. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    You know this feeling; I've seen it on you. Looking so forward to seeing you again, either you here or us there.

  47. inbody Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    JESUS, this is the gayest shit I have EVER read. I'm crying and looking for a man to hug.

  48. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 9:35 am

    HAHAHAHA
    You just killed both of us at the very same time.

  49. Anonymous Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 1:02 am

    Oh, I'm *so* happy for you!! Having seen bits and pieces of "before", I'm thrilled to hear about "after" (especially as in "happily ever…"). You deserve it if anyone ever did!!! And thank you for sharing so much beauty with your friends and the world; reading you is like listening to Boccherini or Vivaldi.
    Many, many hugs,
    Kirsty

  50. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Kirsty, you always say the most beautiful things to me here, and I greatly thank you for it. Your blessings mean so much to me.
    XXo.

  51. blu_matt Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 5:15 am

    This is the mostest bestest thing I have read in a very very very long time.
    My most sincere and bouncy best wishes to you both, and it was indescribably fantastic to catch up with you last week. We all miss you over here, so very much, but we're happy and glad for the time that you can spare for us, your transatlantic chums.
    *big man hug*

  52. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    You always have the most lovely, melancholic words for me, Matt.
    There's something about that group – you know, the one that sometimes meets at the Monkey – and many of the other people who hover around the fringes. You boys have this way of earnestly celebrating the most mundane of meetings, and rolling out the red carpet. Until I can get back and make it a more regular happening, I'll do my best to see you at least once every year. Promise.
    Do keep my closely informed about your germinating Teutonic plans, eh?

  53. jacesan Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Sweet!
    "Complications arose, ensued, were overcome."
    Congratulations to the both of ya.

  54. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Re: Sweet!
    Nicely concise quotation. Thank you, my man.

  55. lachlain Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Awww
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us! I am so very happy for you!
    I am planning on heading down to see youse guyses on Thursday – will you and Halsted be there in the evening again?

  56. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Re: Awww
    I'll most certainly be there, but 'Sted will be coordinating her monthly SF Flickr meet-up group this week. We won't let this stop us from all getting together soon for pints and curry, though.
    Can't wait to see you on Thurs!

  57. dirtbaby Says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I have only one wish for every other human being on the planet, that they are able to find their Amy. Congratulations on finding yours. It just gets better.

  58. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I've always marveled at what you've had with Amy for so many years. I love the way you talk about her, and the way you look at her. And while I've always understood, I've never had that experience of my own until now. But you've nailed it – it just gets better.

  59. avalokita Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:18 am

    That's sweet and romantic in the way I've never seen among real people, only on TV.

  60. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Not only can it happen when you least expect it, but it needs to be impossible to doubt that it's within your grasp.
    It happens. It's real. And while not everybody finds it, we always have to be ready and open to the possibility. I'm convinced of that now.

  61. avalokita Says:
    August 7th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    You're very lucky. And so am I, really. The love I have is just different I guess, more captured in the funny chuckles and comfortable silences. But it's a silent kind of unexpressed love, the kind him and I don't advertise, jokingly fight against, and secretly embrace. That kind where you punch someone in the arm when they're being silly because you just really want to touch them.

  62. angledge Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 8:36 am

    I am so happy for you!

  63. darkshifter Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Dude, seeing two of the coolest kids I know being together and happy, gives me a sense of contentment, and knowledge that this world is a good one. Very frickin' happy for you two!

  64. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    You're one of the people whom I was most excited to tell, because you love her for the same reasons that I do. Thank you for your good words and wishes here, AJ.

  65. dndupree Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    You do deserve it, I was tearing up before I read that but once I did they fell. Because love is an offering of oneself to stand in front of the mirror of our loved one every single day it has to sink in at some point that if you hold her to be such a magnificent and wonderful creature you must be one as well – like calls to like ๐Ÿ™‚ My heart aches it is so full of happiness and joy for you both – you are a man changed by her glance and it is a wonder to behold. May the road for you together be never ending.

  66. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    What better wishes could I ever hope to hear? Your compassion and empathy are astounding, and I'll hold this very close with me for a long time to come. Thankyou thankyou.

  67. dndupree Says:
    August 6th, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Thank YOU! It is an amazing experience to be included in the life of someone so open and so eloquent. I won't try speaking for anyone else but I feel like a better person for exposure. So no really, thank YOU ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. hannah_henchman Says:
    August 8th, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    This post made me squeal with glee (and sniffle a little, of course).
    I hope this doesn't sound wrong, but I've wondered occasionally why you alsways seemed perma-single.
    You're an awesome guy and such a sweetie, it seems like the girls would be falling over each other to chase you. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, I figured you must just be really private about such things.
    So, to see you gushing about a lovely lady who makes you so happy…Wonderful!
    **This is not. The greatest post in the world.
    This is just a tribute. Rawk!**

    *L*
    …and now that will be stuck in my head the rest of the day.
    Thanks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  69. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 11th, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    It doesn't sound wrong at all, you darling of a girl. You know, I can't answer why I was single for so long or why I haven't bothered to speak about it much. Perhaps it really was because I already knew whom I was after from years ago.
    I guess that makes *me* Tenacious D. ๐Ÿ™‚

  70. Anonymous Says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    That's absolutely exquisite! Crikey. I must find more of her writing.

  71. Anonymous Says:
    August 14th, 2007 at 11:32 am

    this is…
    the most romantic post, EVER!
    ~(*

  72. pingback_bot Says:
    November 25th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    first chapter
    User <lj user="cygnoir"> referenced to your post from first chapter saying: […] our hands will entwine on the same pen, and put it to the same page. This is our first chapter. […]

Leave a Reply