Join Prism Book Alliance® as Hank Edwards goes Outside the Margins today.
2016 has been a whirlwind. Any one else out there feel like it should still be March? Of, like, 1995? Is Earth spinning faster these days or am I just getting older? Whatever the case may be, I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately (like, A LOT of thoughts… like at least a dozen) and a few books over 75,000 words that have hit the editing process one after the other. Whew! Look for those to be available in the next few months.
With all of that thinking and time flying by comes changes. There have been changes with my mother’s health (getting better, so all looks good there), changes at the evil day job (nothing good ever comes out of a meeting request with the subject “Team Organizational Announcements,” does it?), and changes in my friendships.
There’s one friendship in particular I’d like to touch on today, but to get to today we have to go back in time to early summer of 2014. I had just changed jobs and taken on a whole new role to boot. This new company is big (global company, about 1,500 employees at the office where I work) and space in the building was limited so I was placed in an open corner area at a folding table with a group of other new hires also at folding tables. I really liked the space because there were a lot of windows and our backs were to the windows so we could see people approaching and quickly shut down Facebook or Amazon or whatever other slacker thing we might have been doing.
A woman hired in shortly after me and they placed her at a table nearby. I’ll call her Delilah. She was fun and sarcastic and we hit it off right away. After some conversation we learned we lived about six blocks from each other! We started to hang out after work for dinner or drinks in our fun downtown area and each others’ homes. We went to movies and watched wacky TV shows and drank wine and ate delicious food. She liked my writing and supported the dream, always encouraging me to keep at it. My husband and I in turn encouraged her to believe she’d meet someone special at which she’d roll her eyes and say, “Yeah, yeah.”
We all had fun together.
When Delilah’s contract ended and she was between jobs, she would come to our house and play Wii Tennis with my husband. I would come home after work and find them in sweaty lumps on the couch. Sometimes she’d stay for drinks and dinner. She found work soon enough, but was lonely here in Detroit. She wasn’t meeting any eligible men and was feeling like it was just time to give up on the thought of finding someone and falling in love. She’s of the age where Tinder is just a bunch of bullshit and noise and the thought of dating made her feel exhausted. She doesn’t have a searing need to have kids and she’s fiercely independent, so she’s not “husband hunting.” She wants a companion, someone to spend time with and share her life.
My husband and I continually told her you never know where or when you’re going to meet someone. He and I met almost 22 years ago on a gay bowling league (I KNOW!), and we couldn’t imagine our lives without each other. She would smile and nod in that polite way that let us know she was thinking “Shut the fuck up, I’ve heard your song and dance before.”
Feeling over Detroit, Delilah started job searches in other cities. She needed a city to be liberal and diverse, and did hours of online research to find places that would meet her needs. The middle of this summer she found a month long contract job that seemed challenging enough for her to learn new skills and contribute to a large corporation. The job was in Portland, Oregon. At first she was hesitant – it was a long way from her parents who live in the Detroit area – but she finally applied. After a quick phone interview, she got the job. Excitement turned to stress, however, as she realized she now needed to find a place to live, figure out what to pack, and arrange for someone (us… well, my husband mostly) to care for her sweet little rescue cat, Baby.
To save money, she chose an AirBNB room to rent rather than a hotel. She threw some clothes into a huge suitcase and, sooner than she expected, she was on a plane headed for Portland. Once she arrived, the house and room was, of course, less than advertised. The job was tough and a couple of co-workers were dicks. The city wasn’t as inviting as she’d hoped, and the area where the AirBNB was located wasn’t very conducive to walking. She was feeling depressed.
To top all of that off, she learned the house in Detroit where she rented the lower flat was going to be torn down to make way for a new mixed retail and living space structure. This meant when she moved back home she’d have just weeks to find a place to live for her and Baby and move her stuff. Her misery was compounded.
But… There were other renters at this AirBNB. Delilah started to mention Milo, a younger man who was also staying there. He was a software developer and understood the work challenges she was experiencing. He was also a bodybuilder. Yes, that’s right, a bodybuilder. In that crappy AirBNB on the other side of the country, Delilah met a younger bodybuilder who liked to cook. Milo was in the country on a work visa and so understood her feelings of alienation and disassociation.
And, best of all, he understood her humor.
And did I mention he was a bodybuilder?
They talked and cooked together in the shared kitchen, discussing spices and flavors and sharing recipes. They watched TV shows on Netflix and talked about movies and books. Milo started meeting Delilah at the train station at the end of the day to drive her back to the house in his car. He complimented her outfits and told her she looked pretty, and one time he brought her flowers.
The relationship developed from a simple place – a shared space that allowed them to get know each other without the trappings and pressure and bullshit of “dating.” When Delilah came back to Detroit she was much more relaxed than when she had left (shocking!). Her cat, Baby, snuggled with her for hours. We had her over to dinner and listened to her talk about Milo with contented (we tried not to be smug) smiles.
And now, today, Delilah is packing up her small car with personal belongings and breakables (including sweet Baby) and starting the drive from Detroit to Portland, Oregon. She had one of those moving cubes in her yard last week that she stuffed full of furniture and personal items she couldn’t live without. After that was full she started giving things away. I stopped by her house this afternoon and stepped around the boxes and bags of items to give Baby some pets and snuggles and to give Delilah a big hug.
I’m happy for Delilah, but sad to see her go. I know it’s easier these days to communicate long distances, and she’s a friend with whom both my husband and I will keep in touch. While it won’t be the same, it will still be good.
Delilah has a large, two bedroom apartment waiting for her and Baby in Portland. Milo is not moving in right away, but he’s nearby and is eager for her to return. She’s going to take it easy and not push herself to drive a crazy amount of hours each day, so it will take her five days to get there. She’s also got tranquilizers for Baby so they can both sleep at night. Good planning.
Romance. It’s not just a word to describe a genre of books and movies. It’s an ingredient for life. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, a meet-cute that might seem trite or staged in a book or movie, can actually happen and change the map of your life.
Go west, sassy and wonderful Delilah, and Skype us when you get there. Enjoy getting to know that younger bodybuilder you so deserve, and don’t forget to let Baby rub up against the laptop camera when we Skype.
About Hank EdwardsHank Edwards is a curious mix of practical realist and feral dreamer, with over a dozen books published. His body of work covers a host of genres from gay romance to humor, paranormal to suspense, and mystery to time travel romance.
He is also a member of the Story Orgy group (www.facebook.com/SOGroup), a clan of writers who post free gay romance reads to their blogs every Monday morning and self-publish steamy stories based on writing prompts. Find his posts atwww.hankedwardsbooks.com/hankerings.
Like his Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/hankedwardsbooks or www.facebook.com/venomvalleyseries), favorite his Amazon page (www.amazon.com/author/hankedwards), and follow him on Twitter (@hanksbooks) to become a true “Hankie.” You may also visit his website at www.hankedwardsbooks.com or send along an email to email@example.com.
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