LOVE AFTER LOVE (Derek Walcott)
“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. (emphasis added)“
Hello again my dear friends. I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite poems, “Love After Love”, by Derek Walcott. It has been a long time since we last communicated and in the last 4 years, I have been busy greeting myself at my own front door, over and over again.
Truly greeting yourself, and deciding to love the deeps depths of your physical being and all the colors of your soul, is not easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many self-help books and Instagram quotes about it. A few years ago I was dealing with a lot of personal struggles and when I came across this poem, it inspired me to really love myself, really love my life and somehow obtain a level of happiness that I wasn’t sure even existed. I didn’t know how to even start. I saw this poem as an internal goal that I would probably never come close to achieving but something I still hoped for.
The timing was never “the right time” to fully feast on my life. I thought I needed to grow professionally, build on my life goals, strengthen my close relationships, work on a healthier body, and learn to forgive past pains. Don’t make the same mistake I did, as I have spent years waiting for the right time to fully embrace myself, my life, my love, and my happiness. It took me creating life and finally experiencing unconditional love for another being to realize that it was possible to have that same unconditional love for myself. Me, loving myself unconditionally, is still a project I am working on but the time has come where I can finally greet myself with elation. I feel more beautiful, more vibrant, more alive, more significant than I have ever felt before. After years of always hungering for more, today I am feasting on my life.
If you are waiting for the right time, I challenge you to greet yourself every morning, as sometimes the minutes in-between each sunrise can minimize your strengths, make you question your values, re-examine your relationships…still feast on your life. Know that you can continue to grow professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally while loving yourself without any conditions and limits. Welcome both the changes and constants in your life. Praise yourself like you would your best friend. Forgive yourself like you would a close family member, who would never apologize for any wrongdoing, but you forgive anyways. Little by little, time after time, take back the pieces of your heart, whether you had given them to an unappreciating lover, unapologetic relationship, unfulfilling job, materialism, or a higher presence that left you empty. Return the pieces of your heart to yourself, for you are most deserving of your unconditional love. And one day, I hope you greet yourself with elation and feast on your life until your heart is full.
February 16, 2014: I felt trapped. Suffocating in a relationship that no longer had a future; with a man I had long fallen out of love with. Two days after Valentine’s Day and the only thing I was looking forward to was my move out date in 6 days. There is nothing harder than having a one-sided relationship with a man who won’t meet you halfway; nothing more heartbreaking than kissing a man who won’t kiss back; nothing more pathetic than crying alone on my side of the bed when he was less than an arm’s length away.
April 26, 2014: I turned 29. One year away from the big 30 and even with all that I had accomplished, I still felt dissatisfied with my life. But that was nothing new. Growing up, I always wanted more for myself and more out of the life I was so blessed to have. But that weekend was more than about me feeling like I was stuck in a rut; it was also the weekend I found out my good friend passed away…the day after I saw him for my birthday dinner. Even now, replaying the moment I heard the news still brings tears to my eyes. I still remember for my 26th birthday, he got to work early to blow up balloons and decorate my desk area to surprise me.
That was the kind of friend he was. He sat next to me for almost 2 years and kept me laughing and my spirits high every day that we worked together. When I moved into my first apartment alone, he gave me a really nice glass set. Till this day, it is still the glass set I drink from. It is so hard to explain what it feels like to see someone arriving on their customary motorcycle, to eat and laugh, to hug them good-bye…like you two have done for the last 5 years, only to find out that they got into a fatal motorcycle accident the next morning. As much as his friendship affected my life; his death affected it even more. Now more than before, I understood the meaning of cherishing every moment, appreciating every friendship, and most importantly to truly love living. It was at that moment, I knew I had to worry less about the future, enjoy the present, and pursue my daydreams even harder.
July 10, 2014: For the first time in my life, I stepped onto European soil. After a year of planning, saving, and daydreaming about the moment; it passes by in a blink of an eye. My best friend and I spent the next 2 weeks exploring Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid and it was a life changing experience; as most international travels always are. There is no way I can put into words what it feels like to walk down a cobblestone street listening to beautiful Italian accents, while enjoying an authentic gelato with my best friend, under a beautiful sun, with the iconic Roman Colosseum in sight. There is nothing as refreshing as “summer wine” in Madrid after a long, hot day or as delicious as spicy potato fritters at Bar Nuria (http://http://www.nuria.com/en/#_=_) while people watching in Barcelona. It is every bit as amazing as I had imagined it would be and exactly the break from my real life that I needed. If you are ever presented with the opportunity to travel internationally, do it!! It will bring more value to your life than any designer purse, spa day, or luxury car that will only depreciate over time. Traveling opens your eyes to sights not seen on tv and enlightens your soul, like few other things in this world can.
July 26, 2014: I had fallen in love/in lust with a married man. In life you always say there are certain things you will never do, certain lines you will never cross but the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that list gets shorter and shorter as I continue to break all the imaginary “rules” I laid out for myself. We spent all day at the beach and it was like a scene from a movie. A wonderful, sweet, sappy, and romantic movie. We laid out on the beach, frolicked among the waves, and kissed on the shoreline as the waves crashed against our laps.
Some people are in your life for a reason and he helped to remind me of what amazing chemistry felt like, what passion and love could be like…with the right person. He wasn’t the “right” person, but when he touched me, it felt like magic. When he kissed me and made love to me, I thought of nothing and no one else. We were both so deprived of intimacy, that we poured all of that need into each other. I had more orgasms in the few months I was with him, then I did in the year before I met him. He looked at me and I felt beautiful. When I had a bad day, he would make a point to send me funny videos. When I got discouraged, he would push and motivate me. He always believed that I would go on to do bigger and better things, sometimes more than I did. In the shortest time, he somehow colored my world more than he will ever know.
October 1, 2014: I found out I didn’t get the promotion at work. I was beyond insulted and thought I was more qualified than some of the others who got the promotion. I didn’t know it at the time, but this event was the main catalyst that would propel me to start looking outside my comfort zone. Looking back, I am so thankful that I didn’t get this promotion because if I did, I would have stayed in the same city I grew up in, surrounded by my family and friends, and my life would have completely taken another path than the journey I am on now.
October 27, 2014: The day that changed my life forever and I hated him. I wished he would get hit by a semi-truck and be forever paralyzed from the neck down. If my life were a reality show; this episode would be the season finale. I became every single crazy woman stereotype and continued breaking all of my “rules”. Catch him in multiple lies and stay with him – check. Catch him cheating and stay with him – check. Allow yourself to be in a love triangle and stay with him – check. Drive over to his house banging on the door and screaming at the top of your lungs at 2 in the morning – check. Try to get your roommate and 4 of his big friends to threaten the guy – check. Ask your pregnant sister if you could please have some of her urine so you can pretend to be pregnant – check. Out of every dark storm, there is a silver lining and my sanity was saved by the most unlikeliest person. “The other woman” made me a stronger person; she became my support group when I felt like I had no one else who could understand me. Despite all the hurt and anger, we became friends as he becomes a distant memory. Some days it is still a struggle to not think of him and as I feel that dark anger and sadness start to engulf me, she reminds me….everything will be ok, everything will get better, and I am beautiful and amazing and loved. We still talk on a regular basis and I know that, even though the bonds that tie us together are dark and ugly, we will be friends for the rest of our lives.
November 17, 2014: I got the job! Everything happened in a whirlwind. Things were so bad at my last job that one day I went home and applied to 6 open positions. My best friend kept talking about the DC area and out of desperation, I just happened to apply to 2 jobs in the DC area that I found through LinkedIn. I got a phone interview that Thursday and an in person interview the following Monday. I walked into the firm and it felt like home; like I belonged there. I came home after the interview and told my roommate that the job was made for me and I don’t know who could have been more of a better candidate. I logged into my email to write out a thank you letter and had an offer waiting for me…4 hours after I had left my interview. Three weeks later, I moved to an unfamiliar city where I barely knew anyone and just prayed that I had made a good decision and that this move was for the best. Two months later, and I am happy to proclaim that this was the best decision I have ever made for myself.
February 14, 2015: I had a great Valentine’s Day. To think that just a year ago, I was dreading Valentine’s Day. I was getting over a cold at the same time that I was getting over my relationship. I woke up to a card, chocolates, and cough drops. Fast forward a year and I am enjoying Spanish tapas and refreshing sangrias, with one of the sweetest and most understanding guys I’ve ever met. We are laughing, he’s speaking Spanish to me, I am watching the snow falling outside, and he’s rubbing my bare feet that fit so comfortably on his lap. He knows parts of me that are dark, sees the tension that these secrets bring to me, and accepts me and my baggage wholeheartedly. He kisses me, touches me, and all the anger of the last 5 months slips away. I am still learning what his purpose in my life is, but he is giving me something to believe in again.
February 16, 2015: I am free. I love my new job. I love my new city. I am starting to love my body again. I have two international trips planned. My writer’s block has finally been lifted and I’m writing again. At this moment, all seems right in my life and I could not ask for anything more. I am happier than I have been in a long time.
Where were you when I cried myself to sleep, when I felt the walls caving in and control melt away?
Where were you when memories haunted me and nightmares visited at night?
Where were you when my insomnia refused to give me peace and the whole world abandoned me to simmer in my own thoughts?
Isn’t it ironic, that in a world where everyone has a cell phone, no one is picking up my phone call.
Were you blinded by my surface smile
As I convinced you that I was dancing…and happy…and beautiful?
Were you deafened by my laughter
As I covered my fears…and anxiety…and sadness?
How people are so easily fooled when they see all the glitter and the gloss but never the undercoat colors with which I paint myself.
No matter how many friends I have,
Or how big my family is,
Or who I am dating,
Or how many shoes I buy,
Or how many cookies I eat,
On a Saturday night, I am still the lonely girl.
The girl that used to eat lunch by herself, play with rocks in the sand instead of other people,
I am still the girl that was teased for my big glasses and home-made haircut and hand me down clothes.
I am still the girl that uses words to escape to a place where no one can hurt me, like when they said I was ugly.
There is still a part of me, that no one can touch
There is still a pain that no hug can heal
An ache that no amount of alcohol can ease
And no one will ever know how I really feel.
I feel like I have my head under water and I can’t breath but I refuse to drown.
I feel lost…just so utterly lost and I have no GPS, no map, not even a freaking compass, and I’m driving on this road alone.
I feel like I want to sleep my days away, the type of sleep that numbs your mind and your senses.
I feel like I want to shred every paper and trash every insignificant thing in my life.
I feel like it’s Christmas Day and I am the only one still waiting on my gift, that never comes.
I feel like an orphan and no matter how much you tell me you love me and want me, a part of me will never believe you.
I want to run away…from these walls…from these emotions…from these headaches,
I want to escape my life…and leave myself behind.
To say that January has not been my month, would be an understatement. I have not been blogging because I’ve been in such angry, sad, and lonely moods that I didn’t want to unload all my negativity onto this blog…but I guess if I can’t rant here, then where else do I have to go. While my New Year’s Eve has been great…the rest of January quickly unraveled around me. My youngest sister had to be hospitalized in a mental health clinic for a week so that she wouldn’t commit suicide, I lost my job for about a week and it made me question where I was going with my life, my mother quit her job and now my family’s financial situation has been really stressful…and this is just the big stuff.
My fuse has been really, really short and unfortunately my closest friends and family had to deal with my wrath. I have been walking around like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at everyone and everything. During tough times, you realize who your friends are, who is there for you…and who is not. I absolutely do not tolerate gay jokes. There are so many people out here who suffer because of their sexual orientation, who are told their love is wrong or that they are going to hell or are constantly bullied. The idea of losing my youngest sister to such senseless hate…the feeling of anger that it caused inside of me is indescribable. You also realize how selfish some people are and unfortunately sometimes those people are family. My sister’s medical bills are in the THOUSANDS of dollars and of course health insurance doesn’t cover 100%. You think my other siblings would come together to help, especially with my mother not working and my father being forced to work overtime, in his frail state. But NO…it is “not her responsibility” were her exact words to me. What do you mean it’s not your responsibility?! They are your parents!! I swear she is the most selfish person I know!! Did I mention she lives at home for FREE!!! So of course, me being the oldest…the one who is already more than $100,000 in debt, the one who lost the job, the one who has expenses out the ass…I will be the one to shoulder everyone’s burden. Well I don’t get angry often and I have a habit of holding my emotions inside…but the dam has been broken. It seems like everyone, from friends to family, have had something they want to say to me. I am fucking stressed and holding my tongue in cheek is now a thing of the past. Unfortunately, my anger has been unleashed on some of the people that I love. My apologies for that. I value the friendships that I have and I love my siblings…they know my true heart and hopefully all will be forgiven.
Now on top of all of this…I am dealing with relationship type issues. I love my friends who have known me for 20+ years…I will push my pride and stubbornness aside for them. I love my siblings and they know despite my angry words, I would do anything for them. Now what I won’t fucking tolerate is a man…I don’t give a shit who you are or how long I’ve known you. If things between me and you don’t work out…it sucks, but get the fuck over it. Don’t go around Facebook, posting shit on your wall about me and think that I am going to let it slide.
Wow…really?! I am like a “genocide“….women like me “will ruin your fuckin’ life” and I “shit inside of your heart“?! Seriously…I didn’t know that I had the power to do all of that. If that was the case, I would have tried to take over the world by now…one man at a time!! And I don’t care if you didn’t put my name on that post or link it to my wall…all of our friends know it was a personal attack at me!! What the hell did I do to you?! You make it seem like we were together for 2 years and I cheated on you or I killed your unborn baby or I shot your mother. The reality is, I told you I liked you…it lasted a WEEK…and then I said we were better off as friends because little did I know that you were a freaking psycho!! You didn’t even take me out on ONE freaking date!! Nothing happened between us…it was only a freaking week!! I asked for an apology because that is the least you could say to me after I had to put up with all your hateful emails and drunken messages about how you blame me for all the sorrows in your life.
Now I hate to put you on blast…but you are just ridiculous!! Now that was just the first paragraph to like a 2 page letter, where he proceeds to tell me what a horrible person I am and how much pain I caused him. And this is not the first time. I’ve had to deal with his constant blame game for almost 2 weeks now!! So being the immature, angry adult that I am right now…I decided to respond by a Facebook wall status, because that is how angry people in this Facebook era, communicate with each other.
And this fool had the nerve to write on my wall and then proceeded to call me an asshole!! Has this man lost his fucking mind?! Does he not know the meaning of “don’t talk to me anymore”….does he really want a piece of my wrath right now?! To make matters worse…this fucking fool works with me. The only good thing about being out of work was the fact that I didn’t have to look at his face all day. I am trying to remind myself that I am an obedient law-abiding citizen. That I don’t want to fuck up my career by driving to his house and breaking his shit and fucking up his car and really showing him how much of an asshole I can be. I swear he better not say one fucking word to me tomorrow at work…he better not even look in my direction…if he sees me walk to his side of the room, he better walk the other way. I may need to call in sick tomorrow. I know my position at work is already in jeopardy because I can’t seem to make it into the office till noon everyday…but I don’t think a cuss out war between me and another attorney will look good on my resume.
Tomorrow is a new day and thankfully a new month. I really hope that February treats me better than January did. In the meantime, I hope no one else says anything crazy to me. I hope I can control my temper. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…maybe I need to eat more chocolate or get a massage or go on vacation or get a really big dildo or something. I’ll stop my ranting for now…thanks for listening to me. And don’t worry, soon I will return with some erotic poetry or funny stories. Maybe I’ll go on some dates and write about my dating chronicles…but for some reason men are scared of me. I have no idea why…it’s so obvious that I am completely stable and perfectly normal. I don’t know why they would think that I am a bit crazy or have like a slight personality disorder…hmmm…
He sat down and I looked at his long blonde hair, blue eyes, tattooed skinny frame and I wanted him. I wanted him because deep down inside, I knew that he would never pick me…that we would never get far and that we would never be…anything more than that moment.
One thing lead to another…another text, another dinner, another kiss, another move that would make me more confused.
I left his place without a kiss, there were no further talks about a future date and I had that feeling that I would never see him again. I had already heard that silent, unspoken farewell before the door to his house had fully closed. That we ended before we really started…this was no surprise. What is surprising is that I actually cared. At the cusp of hello and goodbye, I started to “like” this most unlikely companion. He was “jagged”…the rough edge to my conservative, straight laced figure that I put out to the public. I started to imagine nights filled with mixed drinks, lazy cable watching and whether I could handle this mixture of a man that could leave me at a loss for words. I started to wonder whether his beautiful smile would be enough for me to want to pursue a life of unfamiliarity and whether I would let him lead me to the cliff that I needed to jump off of, to learn more about myself.
He was a man that could make me question where I stood. A man that could make me picture bike riding till the sun went down. A man who knew the exact spot to kiss on my neck until I moaned for more. A man who knew how to hold me without causing the fear of suffocation. A man who knew how to cook me breakfast without pleading for more of my time. A man who was carefree and content and who I wished would teach me how to be the same way.
Unfortunately, he let me go too easily. Unfortunately, I let him.
Hello Dear Readers,
I just wanted to let you know that I have been super busy these past few weeks with Real Life responsibilities…ugh!! So no worries, I haven’t abandoned this blog. 🙂 I have been doing Human Rights’ presentations for universities and working on a website…all with the goal of boosting my resume so that when I apply to these fellowships in NYC, I will trick them into thinking I am a qualified candidate. 🙂 I promise to return soon with more tantalizing erotic tales and more heart warming poetry.
Until then… I will leave you with some pics that always makes me believe in finding love again and with the hope that sometimes love really does last a lifetime.
You are never too old to find the the one!
This story is my favorite!! The man is 104 years old and his wife is 100 years old. They have been married for 81 years. They are very poor and he has never seen his wife in a wedding dress, so when this picture was taken, it was the first time she wore one. They were both so overwhelmed. He hugged her and said that she is still beautiful to him. 🙂
Ok…hopefully no one intentionally aspires to be cling wrap. It’s just one of those things that happens when sometimes the paths in life that we take…lead us to the wrong people. Instead of running the other way once we realize that they are not good for anything but lies, cheap thrills, and wasting our time…we somehow get “caught” or “stuck”…and just like cling wrap, it may take a few tries before we can finally peel ourselves off. If any of these pics apply to you and your “relationship”…then it may be a sign that you need to walk the other way… unless you aspire to be cling wrap.
She picks up her pencil and starts to take notes. She looks around the room at unfamiliar faces…younger faces…and struggles to pay attention as the professor lectures on, in a language that is natively, not her own.
After escaping a war-torn country, adapting to a new culture, raising 5 children into adulthood, and working the last 15 years on the assembly line level of a company that does not realize her worth…she finally decided to pursue her own dreams.
She spent the last 2 years writing a memoir, with only the hopes and dreams that the outside world would value her struggles as much as she did. At the beginning of this year, she sent off numerous manuscripts, with only a simple prayer. Her hopes and dreams became a reality when among the numerous “nos”, one publishing company finally said “yes.” Only in her dreams did she imagine that her memoir would not only be published, but that she would be asked to do a book signing, and that there would already be a pre-order of 1,000 books.
Today she is making another dream a reality. While others were getting teary eyed wishing their kids off to school…I was getting teary eyed wishing my mother “good luck” on her first day back at school…in 39 years!! She is 54 years old and starting Adult Education Classes at the 5th grade level…and I have never been more proud of her.
She has taught me a lot of life lessons, including the fact that…it is never to late to pursue your dreams and sometimes dreams really do come true!
For more on her story: My Mother, My Hero
Sometimes it seems as though you always run into certain people at certain places…whether it’s at the mall, the gym, or at Wal-Mart. For me and him, it was always the gas station. It’s moments like this when I wonder about the circumstance of coincidence or if there really is a thing such as fate.
We locked eyes and I immediately smiled. We had a brief summer fling before my first year of law school and have maintained a sense of mutual respect ever sense.
“You look good!” he said. “You look different. You colored your hair…you lost some weight…”
I just smiled and said, “yes.”
He looked the same. Tall and lean. Jet black hair. Golden skin. The prettiest turquoise eyes I’ve ever seen.
“You look happy,” he said.
“I am,” I replied.
“Good for you,” he said, with a simple nod.
We just stood there, eyeing each other and smiling…both of us carrying silly little grins. Then we both just burst out laughing. Yea…it was one of those moments. I couldn’t remember the last time I was this at ease and giddy at the same time.
“Sorry,” he said. “Damn, you just look really good. I know I just said that like 5 times, but I don’t know what else to say.”
I blushed like a school girl.
After a few seconds of stalling, he looked off to the side and somberly said, “I’m getting married next month.”
“I know,” I said. “Congratulations.”
In those 60 seconds, the mood had changed. Before anything else could be said, I asked for a hug and said that I needed to be on my way. He came over to my car and gave me one of those intimate hugs, where you can feel every muscle and every breath he takes. There was no space between his chest and mine.
“It could’ve been you,” he said. Then he kissed me on the forehead, took a deep breath, released me, and walked to his car. It was like a scene from a movie. Out of all the movie scenes in the world, why was I stuck with this sad one.
In that split second, something came over me. It was like ksoranna took over…my ego that was irrational, emotionally driven and too brazen for her own good.
“Wait!” I yelled and ran to him…straight into his arms. Not only did he accept my embrace…he lifted me up to meet his face. Our lips met and we kissed.
In the middle of the gas station…me in my late 20s…he in his mid 30s…like high school sweethearts saying good-bye…we kissed. My arms wrapped around his neck, legs wrapped around his back…his arms holding me steady…we kissed. Unaware of the stares, unaware of the heat, unaware of the time and place…we kissed. Like the memory of his lips hadn’t been absent from mine, for the last 6 years…we kissed.
As suddenly as it started, it stopped. He gently held me as I rested my head in the crook of his neck, one last time. The look on his face, once he released me…was it anguish, regret, guilt??
“Do me a favor,” he stated. “Please delete me from your Facebook and erase my number.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I can’t bear to do it and you are stronger than me,” he said.
A few seconds later…the exchange of “good-byes” and “take cares.” I knew that the next time I saw him, if I even would see him again, he would be a married man.
I drove off. “It could’ve have been you” repeated over and over in my head. I don’t know what I felt. It wasn’t guilt…it wasn’t even sadness. More like that dreadful acceptance that everyone else around me was moving on and starting new lives and new families…while I was still stuck in park.
I pulled my car over to the side of the road and like another sad movie scene, I put my head in my hands and cried.
NOTE TO ANY MAN I DATE IN THE FUTURE: You must be willing to leave your uneaten food at the table, walk to the car parked a few blocks away, to go get your phone charger, so that you can take pictures of me, if that is my desire. Yes…my pedestal for what I expect out of my future man has risen even higher! But don’t blame me…blame him.
The him that causes me to smile that comfortable, easy smile, shared between friends and past lovers. The him that can pull off a hot pink dress shirt, brown slacks, and brown and pink matching socks to complete the outfit. He looked good.
We argued on the way to the restaurant because he was late, had no idea where he was going, and I was hungry. After 7 years, some things never change. We talked, we laughed, we took pictures and teased each other about who was the more conceited one out of the two of us. After looking through the pics on his phone, the evidence was clear that it was him.
We don’t always get along and barely agree on anything, but for some reason we have remained in each other’s lives, despite a short-lived romance that was more down than up. We don’t have much in common, don’t share the same circle of friends, and haven’t even made time to see each other, yet for some reason I know his number will never be deleted from my phone. My friends sometimes wonder why I put up with his snarky remarks and uncensored comments. It’s for the same reason I still am close with my high school friends, still keep in touch with folks from college…I like having someone in my life who can appreciate the woman I have become, because they once knew the girl I was. He is one of the few guys out there, who knows how I voted during the presidential election of 2004, who knows what I looked like in pictures that I have long since deleted from Facebook, and who will proudly acknowledge my success because he once helped me complete homework assignments.
He has a good head on his shoulder and a good heart. Someday he will learn to love a woman who will put up with his weird disdain for water, Michael Jackson obsession, and conceited mirror loving ways. If they are blessed enough to have children, he will be the most devoted and loving father. That wife and mother won’t be me…but it was nice to know, that at one time it could have been.
We haven’t spoken since that dinner and he is moving to Atlanta, Georgia…this time for the right reasons. If our history is any indication, it will be months, maybe years before we speak or ever see each other again. But the last text he sent me said, “If my wife doesn’t mind, you will be invited to my wedding.” I will take that, as an early invitation. Until then, good-bye for now and take care.