Monday, December 28, 2009

bob (lyn)

Our relationship began with food, of sorts. 

It was February 13, 1970.  A cold winter’s night.  I was with some friends at Tufts.  I don’t remember exactly how our conversation started (though I do remember that it ended in his dorm room), but I met Bob as he was buying  ice cream from one of those traveling ice cream trucks.

At 19, Bob was tall and lean.  An ex star quarterback of his high school football team, Bob’s athleticism was obvious.  What began that chilly night in February, expanded and contracted for many years after.  Bob was my college love.  He was smart, handsome, fun, and a real guy’s guy.  I admired his decisiveness and his unbending sense of right and wrong. 

Over the years, Bob and I have stayed in touch.  He now lives in California, is married, and has two grown kids.  We see each other rarely as his job never takes him East, and I never go West.  He’s invited me to his home but it’s unlikely I’ll go.  I like to be surrounded by people and buildings and am afraid to stay in a house by myself.  Bob lives in a breathtakingly beautiful, but isolated, area of Napa Valley.  His nearest neighbor is miles away.  In fact, were I to visit, I would stay in a little cottage on his property about a mile from where he and his wife live.  As if that weren’t scary enough, he tells me that he’s killed (with his shotgun yet) rattlesnakes that he’s found in his garage (and in his neighbor’s kitchen).  I am too much of a city girl to be able to spend a night in a remote cottage where rattlesnakes lurk.

The last time I saw Bob was in November 2001 when he came to New York and together we went to a surprise 50th birthday for a mutual friend of ours from college.  It was also with Bob that I went to ground zero, as prior to that, I hadn’t felt strong enough.  

Bob is the same person he was when I met him so many years ago.  

Today he calls.  We speak every four or five months or so, but it’s always comfortable.  In discussing what’s new, I tell him about my weight loss.  Bob has only known me as thin, so I ponder telling him about the weight I had gained, as I am embarrassed, especially knowing how disciplined he is.  From pictures, I can see that his 58-year old body looks similar to his 19 year-old one.  Bob runs, eats well, and would never be overweight.  But he and I have never held back with each other, so I tell him about my last three months on Weight Watchers. 

And then he tells me that his sister, who I also remember as being tall and lean, is a Weight Watchers instructor in California.  It makes me think that maybe that’s something I can do too.  Or even more.  I'll write to Weight Watchers in the beginning of the year.  That's one of my New Year's resolutions.

In so many ways Bob is the perfect male.  Hard-working.  Intelligent.  Smart.  Strong. Handsome.  Interesting.  Funny.  Thoughtful.  If only he weren’t a Republican!

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