I don’t get many likes on Facebook. I’ll post a picture, and get a handful of them, more so if the picture includes my cat Hugo. People love Hugo.
There are reasons for this, the most notable of all being that I don’t have many Facebook friends.
This is my fault. A good chunk of Facebook friends are people from the way back past. My way back past--basically every moment I spent going to school in Great Neck, New York--was horrible. Consequently, I unfriended a lot of people.
(I’m getting to the photo at the top of this entry, which has a wonderful story behind it. Really.)
I tried refriending them, but the mere sight of their names caused me to remember those years. Virtually all of these people had nothing to do with those horrible times, but it didn’t matter. A name would lead to a memory, and these names often belonged to wonderful people who often had friends from way back who did indeed play a part in some horrible times in my life.
So, alas, I unfriended them again (and upset them, I'm sure) so that I could face my past on my own terms. These things have been fuel for some good writing. When these memories come to me without my being ready for them, however, I talk about them, and that’s usually a mistake.
People’s faces take on horrified expressions when I discuss these times. They look away. They mumble something about being busy, and the conversation ends.
(I’m almost at the point where I’ll discuss that picture. Honest. Things become very positive shortly, I swear.)
I say all this because for a number of people, this past year was sort of my way back past compressed into one 365 day period. It was, for many people, just...horrible.
Perhaps that's why the photo that I posted the other day got so many likes.
The woman in the photograph is Megan. She is brilliant, fun, interesting, wise, supportive, almost saintlike in her kindness, and wonderful in many other ways.
In addition to this, she is really good looking.
People who know Megan would say that this assessment is a gross understatement. They would say that she’s probably one of the best people they’ve met in their lives.
They would also say that anyone she considers calling a significant other is the recipient of a gift whose value is beyond measure.
Finally, they would say to this significant other “treat this woman right or I’ll come looking for you.”
Megan tends to inspire that sort of thing.
We dated briefly in college. We remained close friends. I went on with my life, and she went on with hers.
I married. I divorced. I wrote Meg. She wrote me. We chatted on Facebook.
Yes, there is much more to this story. There is, however, another person involved in this story, and I don’t wish to say anything that would embarrass this person. As it is, my praise of her has probably embarrassed her enough.
Anyway, before even meeting (we had not been in the same place in years), we thought it wise to write to each other a whole lot, get properly reacquainted, and then actually meet and see how things went.
Things went well. They continue to go well.
Okay, they continue to go really well.
I’m incredibly happy here, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, the picture above is from my fiftieth birthday. She took me to this amazing restaurant in Boston, and I had Beef Wellington for the first time. We saw Blue Man Group.
It was magical. It continues to be so.
It is one of those things where people at work smile when I talk about it. Somehow, they are not nauseated. I like to think that in addition to being polite, they find something life affirming in the fact that someone can find such happiness this far down the road.
There is no doubt that the huge number of likes for this photograph is due to the fact that so many people adore Megan. She posted it on her page and proceeded to get many wonderful comments.
Still, if I may say so, from my end, it really has been as if every single one of my limited number of friends has joined those who seem to be saying "oh, thank goodness...SOMETHING good happened this year."
It was a tough year. A year without Leonard Cohen at the end of it is difficult enough.
Then there’s all that other stuff. People have written enough about the guy. I figure the best way to deal with him is to give him as little attention as possible, so I will not write about him here.
Maybe people need that photograph this year. Maybe they need a reminder that wonderful things can still happen in the middle of many horrible things happening.
Horrible things happened things happened this year, just horrible.
But for me, a wonderful thing happened.
Happy New Year.