Soon after we met,
Ted asked me out to dinner.
I said “yes;”
he heard “no,”
and forever after he was convinced
that I was not interested in him romantically.
Maybe I wasn’t,
because we became just friends.
soulmates in a way,
but never lovers.
In some ways, I think he knew me better than I knew myself.
He would tell me that I was crushing on someone before I had any idea—
or was it rather that because he suggested a crush, I developed one? Hmm.
He was always generous in his gift-giving
(I remember the day, soon after moving into my new house,
arriving home from work and seeing
a gigantic Tiffany’s box on my patio).
Ted ate at fine restaurants, traveled first-class and generally lived large.
But he never forgot his working-class roots—
he claimed to be the first man in his family to wear a tie to work
(having been a lawyer before he opened his bookstore).
He supported numerous non-profits and schools, usually requesting anonymity.
“Don’t let your right hand…”
Ted was a fan of all things Hitchcock.
One time, we met up in San Francisco to recapture the scenes in Vertigo.
We visited all the sights and stayed at the hotel in the movie.
He thought because I am a Madeline,
I should pose for the Madeline shots
(like pretending I was going to jump into the water beneath the Golden Gate Bridge).
He would have been happy if I wore a blond wig for the picture,
but I drew the line.
He wanted me to move to southern Oregon
and work with him in his bookstore.
If that was a test, I failed.
Too far (three flights each way).
Still, we talked several times a week
until he got esophageal cancer,
and then we talked several times a day
until he had to get a trach
and talking was too difficult for him.
Then just I talked.
We only argued once in the thirty-two years I knew him.
Mostly, he made me laugh and helped me enjoy life.
He trusted me, and he loved me.
I loved him, too,
and I miss him every day.