Monday, Apr. 07, 2003, 11:37 PM

Now you know why I haven't been updating

Occasionally in this life you can find solace in the existence of something. You just get the feeling that the world is a better place for it. I would like to report that my world is a better place because of the existence of Mudgirl.

Currently, as I write this, we are not together, and that pains me to no small degree. But then I realize that she IS, and it is her mere existence in this world that is mine that brings a smile to my lips and a calm to my heart. And now I will tell you the story of Mudgirl.

Once upon a time, because that is how all love stories should begin, there was a boy. Now this boy was not your average boy. He was just a little bit left of center and not entirely what the world might loosely term as normal. He lived his life according to some inner monologue in his head a strict value system that he could not remember how or when he adopted. He exhibited quirky behavior and felt deeply and intensely all emotions. This boy was really a boy trapped in a world of men and a society of expectations that didn't sit all that well with his nature. He had recently been set adrift from the boat of marriage and was treading water and learning a great deal about himself in the struggle.

Enter the girl. She is beautiful beyond compare, loving, compassionate, and passionate with a wit as sharp as aged cheddar. She too is a cast off from the marriage vessel and had been in the waters of dating for a few years, learning to execute many a move with grace and confidence. She possessed all the faculties for survival and had begun to think that she would in fact be doomed to swim through these waters without ever really finding another ship heading her direction. Sure, she might find one going nearby, say to Bali, but not really the direction she wanted to go. And, yes, she might hitch a ride on these errant boats for a few miles before realizing that this journey was not hers before diving over the side.

These two people set adrift in different parts of the sea eventually found small islands unto themselves. They kept casting about in the waters around their island, and to other islands within sight, trying to find a ship headed their way or another cast away with whom to spend the days. To pass the time these two would write messages, stick them into bottles and set them adrift. These bottles would be carried along by the current bringing the stories of each author to remote lands and people. Each of the authors would pluck a bottle out of the water when it passed by his or her own island and look at the label, occasionally finding the mark of an author they liked and read the contents with enthusiasm.

As the time slowly slunk past the boy began spending more and more time reading the messages from one particular author and concerning himself less and less with finding a passing ship. And then one day the boy, not expecting anything spectacular to occur, decided to write a personal message to this other author and sent it directly by way of homing seagull. Life carried on and unexpectedly early the following day the seagull returned with a response. The response made his head swim.

And now the fairy tale part of my story needs to come to an end. You see, I write many things in this diary and still there is not a lot of me, actual bits of me, to be found. I tend to be all allusion and metaphor and this is too important to hide behind those conventions. So now you will get the true story, picking up from where I left off, with the first contact. But be warned, this truth is unadulterated and wholly my own. This is for me and one other and it is full of sappiness.

I sent an email to Mudgirl and told her of my admiration for her writing and her wit and how I thought it would be wonderful to begin a correspondence whereby I might read equally enthralling emails sent to me than just posts to the world at large. Her response was quick and enthusiastic. When I contacted her I did not know much about her other than what was posted in her diary. Of course there is a bit to learn from all of those entries, since she is much more honest about herself and her thoughts than I in my writing. I knew only that she was a few years older than me, female and lived about 500 miles away. I had no expectations other than a penpal. And that is how it started.

A few emails were exchanged and a dialog was begun as the two of us continued to pursue others in a dating scenario. The correspondence quickly grew into late night IM sessions since the itch of a more direct form of interaction was steadily growing and nagging at me, and I hoped, having an effect on her as well. After about a week or so there was an exchange of phone numbers and then the phone calls began.

The phone calls. Ah, the phone calls. I will admit that I can be prone to bouts of talking, however those bouts could never hold a candle to the marathon conversations we would engage in on a nightly basis. It seemed that we had very similar interests and shared a common approach to life. We certainly had common ground with some past experiences including but not limited to divorce. We would talk about literature and music and our childhood and family and friends. We even talked about our recent dating experiences with other people. And I found myself during these conversations wondering why it was that I couldn't find a person like her to date. Why fate would conspire to torture my by presenting me with a person who seemed to be so compatible and so far away. It was then that I realized my growing affection for this girl. And when I told her that I enjoyed greatly our conversations and wished that things might work out between us if only there was less distance she responded both positively and negatively. She said that we indeed got along well but that our situation, or rather my situation as recently divorced, is something that she considered to be a problem and that I needed to sort things out before pursuing another serious relationship, and that she didn't want to be a rebound. All valid points, I thought, but they suck because I like you.

And days went by where I found myself thinking of our conversations and wondering when we would next talk. I would sporadically check the diary site during the day to see if a new entry was posted or if I had received any emails from her. I began to think about the possibilities and the distance between us that had loomed so large in the beginning began to diminish in size and intensity. I was still healing and learning, and I had healed and learned a great deal by this point already, but I felt the need to respect Mudgirl's concerns. And then the conversations changed slightly. We still talked of all manner of things, but a small portion of the conversations was growing larger with each call, and it was the portion concerning possibilities and feelings about each other. Things like, "Five hundred miles is not bad. Why that is a long day's drive or a quick flight," and "I feel very strongly for you and I don't really have an interest in pursuing others when all that I have learned about you is all that I want." And then we admitted that we had crossed a line and were both existing in a space where we were leaving things unsaid. Unsaid on purpose because words spoken have weight and can not be taken back and we were nervous about the effects of these words on our conversations, on the other person and ultimately on ourselves.

And then one night she said these words, "I can feel myself falling in love with you." Time stopped, my heart beat faster and tears grew in my eyes. It was hard to speak. It was hard to think. The words that I had longed to say to her had come from her and I was overcome with joy and emotion. I told her that I was falling in love with her and then confessed that the statement was not entirely true because I had already fallen in love with her. And I cried on the phone. She didn't think it to be silly or trite or anything other than beautiful and it only made my feelings for her grow stronger.

So now you know that I have fallen in love with a girl I had never met in person. In a beautiful and unexpected fashion I am engaged in a romance. A true romance. I thought that I knew what romance was, and I thought that I had been involved in romances in the past, but now I know that I was wrong. Dead wrong. This relationship that we are cultivating is pure and true and is a love unlike anything I have known. You might ask, "Didn't you love your ex-wife?" and I will say yes. You might ask, "Wasn't it romantic with your ex-wife?" and I will say yes, occasionally. And you might ask, "Well, then, wouldn't you say that you had a romance with her?" and I will say, "No." That answer may have been different a year or a half a year ago, but not now. It is like taking a bite of the forbidden apple--there is no going back once you have acquired the knowledge and now it affects your perspective forever. My perspective has been forever and irrevocably altered since I have met this wonderful woman. She has shaken my beliefs to the core, surprised me with the depth of feelings in myself and has inspired me like no false muse ever could.

All this is great and wonderful you might think. You might also point out that a wonderful romance built upon words and emails and incredibly lengthy phone conversations is not enough, and I would agree. And so would my girlfriend, Mudgirl. It is because of those same sentiments, and the fact that we were being drawn toward each other with the power of two black holes passing beyond the event horizon of the other that I wrote my last entry on a plane travelling from Pittsburgh to Chicago where I would meet my love.

You greedy little monkeys, my readers, you are. There are some things that I will not share with the world. There are some tidbits that will remain in my possession like a precious treasure to be savored in private. But I will tell you this: The phone conversations would occasionally dwell on the possibility of there being no physical chemistry between us, no spark if you will. There were concerns expressed that our interaction might be awkward and stilted and that expectations had mounted beyond the ability of being met. And then my flight was delayed and the weather was shitty and I arrived nervous and frenzied and three hours late and she met me at the airport in the rain by the side of the road outside of the terminal. Our first contact was standing by the trunk of her car with traffic whizzing by and rain falling on our heads. I know that's how it was because I was there. I know there was traffic and rain and it was cold, the problem is, none of it existed for me when we met and I can not recall it when I think back to that moment. I only remember her getting out of the car in complete silence walking around to the back without taking any notice of rain and the two of us embracing in a hug. In that perfect moment I forgot all about the moon and the stars and the leaves and the world fell away and all that existed was each other and our love.

The weekend would have been perfect no matter what we did simply because we were together. I think I helped her solve all of the world's problems. I have never felt anything so profound in my life, and all that exists for me, all that I want, all that makes me happy and all that makes this world beautiful is waiting for me in Chicago.

You should know that I am crying.

I have never been so happy.

I love you, Mudgirl. I want to be your garage band king.

Yours, now and forever, Mobius.