The New Frontiers : Iceberg Ahead

(This is an update of the 29 yr. saga of a boy, me, who loved a girl, and how we lost each other, and the consequences since. To read the whole story, links to The Days Before Tomorrow can be found at the end of this post.)

“On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world” – John Mayer

“If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons”. – James A. Baldwin

For those of you following the saga of my “adopted” children as I learn the lessons of unofficial fatherhood, well, here’s a bit of an update.  Due to very unusual circumstances, I can’t fully explain the full story. I promise though, once I am in a position to, the tale will be there for all.  After all, it’s been 29 years so far ever since this whole epic tale began, so what’s a few more months I suppose.

First, on the weekend of September 22nd, my daughter Georgia, despite my pleading for sanity and time, my attempts at bribes and more, had married her Shanghai fiancé at the tender age of 18.  Despite HER requests, calls, texts, letters and emails, I stuck to my guns and did not attend the ceremony so long as her natural father and grandmother were unwelcome themselves.

In the months since our reunion in June, the canyon between her and her father grew ever wider as her outrage by his treatment of me was apparently unforgivable. As the one she now sees as father, she had truly believed that I might cave and be there to give her away. Armed with literally hundreds of love letters dating back to the 80s and 90s, she would remind me of one memory or another almost every day in the hope that nostalgia would rule the day. But, I refuse to be the reason for a wedge between father and daughter, and more importantly, I still believe it was a mistake, but it’s one that seems to be karma. In so many ways, I realize that she, out of love, did a drastic act out of love despite the consequences, so much like that fateful day when I did the same to break up with her mother. Life IS a circle, and it looks like history is doomed to repeat once more.

Now as for my new “son-in-law”, well, he’s from Shanghai, and has studied in schools in Europe and Canada. I don’t know what the hell he’s going to do with a Fine Arts degree exactly, but so long as Georgia isn’t footing the bill for the both of them and he can prove to me that he can pull his own weight, then I will keep an open mind as best I can. I still wish my old friend and the true dad would get his act together and help his daughter, but it’s not my place in the end. All I can do is love her, as best I can as if she’s my own kid.

But this wedding and everything that’s happened in the background is causing all sorts of other issues that I can’t elaborate on. But it looks like I might well have to take an active hand in this, and plan to go back to Vancouver for a few days for a special trip. Fair enough, as I like the city, have some friends there (especially the most awesome Alexandria and Kimm), and it’ll be nice to explore and see what’s going on there.

As for my “son”, I couldn’t be prouder. His internship in Whistler is almost over, and at one of the best restaurants in the country. Once complete, he’ll be back in Vancouver for a few months of studies before looking at starting another internship. So far, his 3 choices are at home in Vancouver, to be with me in Calgary or take up an offer in Vegas. I really want to get to know him, and I’m personally hoping he’ll choose Calgary, especially with my newfound friendships and associations with the food industry in town. With his pedigree, I have little doubt he’ll get a chance to work at some of the best places in town. Buuuut, I would thoroughly understand if he chooses Vegas instead. I mean, would you give up the chance to work in Todd English’s Olives, or any of Ramsey’s restaurants and so on??

But even there, there’s a special tempest up ahead, and I hope that Terry can find a path to safe harbour. Again, I can’t explain what exactly, but there WILL be an update on this event way way sooner. If my old friend and his dad reads this, your son needs to talk to you, and I want to remind you that your kid is absolutely awesome. Keep that in mind, and thank for raising him to be such a dedicated, focused young man. He’ll be great.

Soooo… that’s about the best I can say in public for now. Come what may… I am proud of these two kids. Sure, there’s a lot of drama, unbelievable emotions all of us had to go through this past year, and I know that it can only get worse. But in the end… I love them as my own kids. And I will do my best to be there still for them, disagreements or not. It’s what she would have wanted, and it’s what I do.

Back soon all.

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For new readers who would like to understand the whole story…

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

#MONDAYBLOGS – RANTS ON FAITH: WHAT WENT WRONG PT 4

So now you know the bits that knocked holes first in my trust in the church, and then in my sense of belief.  All faith really is in the end is a surety of belief combined with unbridled trust.  I disagreed with the Church in virtually all of the hot topics, couldn’t reconcile the comedy of errors that comprised the writing of the Bible, and found that the teachings spoon fed me through my life were at heart to me, violations to human rights and dignity… and that was just the start.

As the years went by, I honestly started to be truly embarrassed and ashamed to be Catholic. But I found that virtually any and all permutations and combinations of Christianity were no better as it was all founded on the same mistakes and philosophies that I was opposed to.  And as I thought about it, I realized that it really didn’t matter about the religion in question, as that while the rituals and names of the deity in question were different, they were all basically a variation of the same belief whether it be God, Allah, Yahweh, Kali, Zeus, Odin or even the Man in the Sky. Religion then and there ceased to mean anything to me.

What was I exactly? I ceased to believe in any spiritual being, and even found myself quite outraged to have ever been part of that mindset. Back in high school, a fellow classmate, Dave M, had described himself as a secular humanist and not a catholic. Those words echoed back to me in those days of revelation, and I decided to check deeper into this. And it was in that definition, I finally found a truth that rang true.

“[Secular Humanism] posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions. Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith. Along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy. Many Humanists derive their moral codes from a philosophy of utilitarianismethical naturalism or evolutionary ethics, and some advocate a science of morality.”

In other words. we control our choices and define our humanity, good or bad. More importantly, it means that the decisions we make, the people we are, isn’t because some deity somewhere had defined us as such… it is because we are responsible for who we are and what we choose as our actions.

With this, I found that a great weight had lifted from me, and strangely enough a fair amount of self-hatred as well that I never realized I was burdened with.  I still didn’t quite understand it, but a chance viewing of this debate with Christopher Hitchens put it all into perspective:

There it was. Religion poisons everything. Sure, there are examples of non-religious violence and so on, but compared to the carnage through the millennia, it wasn’t even a close comparison. And with the old saying, the truth will set you free. And without the shadows of religion of any sort, I now found myself with a new feeling… anger and rage to all things religion. That was a new one.

End of Pt 4. To be completed.

#MondayBlogs – Rants on Faith: “What went wrong” Pt 1.

I just spent a weekend for a sad duty, but one that was enlightening as well. My best friend’s mother had passed, and as he is my brother in every way that matters to me except biologically, I had to come to offer my support for him and his family. His mom was a pleasant, charismatic woman, a teacher, a seeker of knowledge and one who I always regarded with warm feelings and pleasant thoughts. She was a woman who loved, whether it be her son and daughters, her husband, or their large family of grandchildren, brothers, sisters and extended members. But I learned for the first time, how that love was extended to people in need, her students, fellow church goers and more, and I can only laud her that much more as she was loved deeply as well by all. Good on you Mrs. P, as I believe that the measure of a person can only be seen in the end by the tears of those left behind. As such, she was truly a wonderful, cherished person and I am proud to have ever made your acquaintance.

But this put me directly back into the path of faith and belief, as people who know me, know that I am very much an anti-theist. I see that religion is not so much a solution to problems as it is the source of those problems. But more on that later.

This was the second funeral I had attended in as many months. The first, was a tragic death of a friend of my gal from Lou Gehrig’s disease, and not long after the birth of her first child as well. She was one of faith, like most in the Filipino community usually are. But her memorial service actually angered me, infuriated me to a point that I would have walked out if it wasn’t for decorum. From the readings, to the psalms to everything said and told by the people (except for one unfortunately monotone presentation of the late person’s life), every single message was thanks be to God for making this woman’s life a living hell with this disease, and that everyone should be thankful. And as I looked around, every single thing that this woman represented wasn’t because she herself was a good woman, but because it was God who made her so and all credit belonged to God, not her. I saw this as an insult to her memory, and definitely one that demeaned her, made her achievements, her joys and her sorrows not of one of a remarkable young woman who fought against the oncoming tide, but one that it was all great because God had all the credit in making her act as she did. It had struck something fundamental in me, as credit was being stolen and more so, and I’ll get back to this shortly.

Mrs. P’s service however, still in the same context of God, was a celebration of her life. Sure faith and God might have led Mrs. P into certain decisions, but in the end, she was a person of true and virtuous character. Yes there were the hymns and the readings, but in this context, it showed that this remarkable woman was someone whose loss is something that we will all feel, and all would miss in so many ways.

The next day, I went to visit my parents, and some friends in Montreal. But the 2 very different celebrations was in my thoughts. Conversation with my folks eventually touched upon my relationship with my nephews, and, with faith on my mind, asked my mom’s opinion on whether my change from faith to atheism might affect my relations with my sister. She had chosen to raise the kids as Catholics as well, and I’ve stayed quiet around her as it’s not my place to dictate anything despite personal reservations. Instead, she mentioned to me how upsetting it has been to the both of them and how my activism against religion specifically hurts them, and how they wonder what they did wrong. It’s from this conversation where this blog entry comes.

As I bounced about in the skies above Canada on my way home today, all of these events of faith the last few days, reminding me of my own decisions, and wonder a bit about how that belief had given my friends and family comfort, and how it gave some a direction as well. And most importantly, how I’ll have to make those I care for and love understand why I have left that belief because it was right for me. So the only way I can express myself properly would be through what I know best… my writing.  SOooo… where to start.

The beginnings….

The path from faith and belief to what I like to describe as a growing up stage wasn’t one that was too difficult, but I can’t call it easy either.

I was given the typical Canadian Catholic upbringing.  I was brought to church every Sunday to hear the sermons and sing to the hymns.  I did the altar boy thing, dressed in the robes and brought the wine and the tapioca host circlets to be transformed into the blood and body of Christ.  As I grew up, my role changed to that of one who served to one who taught, and did my bit to spread the word at mass, doing the readings, being a part of the youth faith groups and the occasional forums.

And no one can say that I wasn’t given the right encouragement either.  I went from Catholic elementary school to Catholic high school.  My instructors were priests and deacons. My parents are staunch Catholics, and can only be described as true believers of the faith.  They themselves served the church in as anyway they could.  Dad would help Father Tou of the Chinese Catholic Church with the regular affairs.  Mom would volunteer years of service for convents and the like.  On long car rides, Mom would lead the family into a round of prayers with the rosary, saying the Hail Marys, Our Fathers and proclamations of the mysteries over and over down the highway.  My godparents would lavish religious items from time to time, and celebrate my entry into Catholicism with parties and dinners. My grandmothers, both of them, can only be described also as believers, though in many ways, I would even say zealots to the cause.

I myself, can honestly admit to being a zealot at one point as well.  I went to daily morning masses in High School, would join in on the prayer events at school and home and even considered a calling to priesthood.  I would pray on my own, asking for guidance and strength to be the good Christian, the good Catholic.  I even wondered from time to time what it would be to be like those who would go out into the deepest darkest lands to spread the Good Word, converting the heathens and the unfortunate who would never had the chance to know HIS love, and be envious by their bravery and faith.

I feared Hell, Purgatory and all that, and would go out of my way to do good deeds like every Catholic boy who believed that there is some cosmic ledger out there weighing the good and the bad.  My classmates and I would even go through a weird “who’s the better Catholic” game of oneupmanship unofficially to see who really was the most faithful, the most believing.

In all that, I was fated to be a true believer, a soldier of the faith. Everything that could have been done to me, with me, by me and for me that could make me believe was done after all. So, as my Mom and Dad, plus the other members of the Lo family might ask and wonder why I turned away… I thought it was time for me to answer their question…  exactly “what went wrong”

End of Part 1

The New Frontiers: Breaking the Cycle

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn.”

-T H. White, The Once and Future King, Unknown

Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers who turn into mothers, So mothers, be good to your daughters too

– John Mayer, “Daughters”

Since Xmas,it’s been a hell of a roller-coaster life.  Here’s my recap for new readers (you can read the full story in “The Days Before Tomorrow“).

  • 29 years ago, I met a girl who I loved. We never did end up being a true couple, but still ended up in love with one another.
  • Almost 22 years ago, I deliberately broke her heart, and mine, out of what I believed to be the greater good. (Covered in The Days, Pt. 2)
  • 21 years ago, she married a man she liked, not loved, out of confusion, spite and so on. (Covered in The Days, Pt. 3)
  • 20 years ago, she gave birth to my spiritual step-son, Terry, named after me and appointed me as his godfather and guardian should something happen.
  • 18 years ago, she gave birth to my spiritual step-daughter, Georgia, also named after me, and again appointed me godfather.
  • 10 years ago, she divorced that man and tried to reconcile the years with me, of which I was unavailable physically, and as I ponder, possibly even emotionally at that time.
  • 9 years ago, she was killed by a drunk driver, and I was banned from the kids as a possible kidnapping risk (covered in The Days, Pt 4)
  • 2 years ago when Terry turned 18, he looked for me and found me on social media. He then started to watch me from time to time wondering if he should approach me or not (explained in Unintended Consequences)
  • Last Xmas, both kids finally did, and I wrote the Days over several weeks for them to explain the whole story of their mother and me. (explained in The Days, epilogue)
  • Last month, we were reunited for the first time. While it’s wonderful to be back in their lives, I find out that history is about to repeat, as Georgia is very much like her mom. (Covered in The New Frontiers)

In the past month since reuniting with “my kids”, I’ve been forced to navigate between my obligation to the kids, loyalty to myself and my own family, and the memory and last wishes of a woman now 9 years gone.  Georgia, upon finding out the full story of her mother, myself and the mistakes made by all parties involved, has distanced herself from her father and grandmother. For better or worse, she has told me that I am, and have always should have been, her father. More so, she, at the tender all knowing age of 18, has decided to marry a 24 yr old Mainland Chinese foreigner who I have no idea if he’s even a Canadian citizen. Finally, as her “one, true dad”, it is my responsibility and duty to give her away at her sudden rush wedding in September.

Damn it. I hate it when people know how much importance I place duty and honor as part of my life. I hate it when my beliefs in modern Chivalry are tested at such extremes. More so, I believe she has a point. Georgia in another world and time, should have been my daughter. She should have been the little girl I’ve always wanted to raise, and be there for her first day at school, her first date and first night at the prom. In her, I see so much of her late mother, and while I have no regrets of the life lived thus far, I do wonder about that path not chosen.

I don’t believe for a second that this is right. I didn’t earn the right to be her dad. I’m not the natural father who did all of those crucial life events with her, but the past is forged with heavy chains that hold us all still.  My love’s ex-husband still refuses to talk to me, and so far as I can tell, wants me to deal with this mess. The grandmother is not an ally either in this matter, as she’s been cast out with her son-in-law. Making matters worse, she still bitterly despises me for my part in the choices that eventually led to her daughter’s death.  Terry, well, he’s a great 20-yr old kid who may know his sis too well, and has advised me on when not to push it too much.

In the end, the choice has been left to me, and I’ve been undecided long enough. September is coming up fast.  Friends who have followed The Days have been advising me, and I came to a conclusion finally.  But it was a conclusion I probably always knew would have to be.

This is wrong. Period.  And 20 minutes before I started writing, I told her. (She’s not a happy camper.)

Probably not to the surprise of anyone despite sage counsel, I will NOT step away. I will not get into a family war, or be the cause of one like before.  But until either her father or Georgia smartens up, or hopefully both, I will support her in any decision that will give her time to properly live a little bit first. If she moves in with the guy, and I get a proper chance to know him, I might even consider giving her away, but ONLY if there’s no hope of reconciliation between her father and herself and I’m satisfied that they’re in it for honest reasons.

All those years ago, extreme choices I made led us all into a place that I could have never imagined possible. Subsequent choices that my 1st love made, turned a tale of lovers lost into an outright Greek tragedy. That was the beginning of a cycle of hurt, of sorrow and lost chances. I can’t let this cycle repeat with her daughter. I won’t. She needs to be free of this legacy of what us, her mom, her dad and myself did.

More so, I need to be free. I just want a fresh start with T & G. Is that really too much to ask?

To Georgia, my beloved goddaughter, this is my decision and my reasons.

I fully believe that any marriage in the here and now, is a mistake, and is a decision based partially on defiance and maybe even anger against the sins of your late mother and your fathers…. both of us.

I WILL support you in any way I can to live a little, travel a little. In the semester to come as you study law, why not consider moving in with him for a little bit. If it’s honestly love, and one worth pursuing, then what’s the harm of a little time to give you a chance to study and live. I need to be assured that he is a good man and this is something that has an honest chance, and that’s something I don’t have right now. I’ve known him for 2 1/2 hours in real face to face time, and to put it honestly, all I want to do right now is to “grab the proverbial shotgun” and chase him off. 

I love you. I always have. I am proud of your achievements. You remind me so much of your mother, my heart honestly aches with the pain of loss and sweet memory.

But I can’t support a mistake, especially one without your true dad at the altar. Georgia, I will be a part of the solution, not one that continues the cycle of mistakes and anger. There may be no hope between your dad, your grandmother or me, as too much has happened. But there’s always hope for you and them, and they acted always to protect and guide you.

Think about it. I’ll be here for you.

The New Frontiers: Repeats, Reunions and Restorations…

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive. It’s pretty dense kids who haven’t figured that out by the time they’re ten…. Most kids can’t afford to go to Harvard and be misinformed.”  ― Kurt Vonnegut

Before I go on, I’m still not going to post any pics for the foreseeable future.  Outside of their first names, I want the kids to still have a measure of privacy.  I am writing this with their full knowledge and permission, but I am now trying to be a little more restrained due to circumstances.

Well, it’s happened.  I’ve met my “kids”, and in all honesty, I still don’t know what to think.  The first meeting I had in mind kinda went awry, as WestJet inexplicably flew well over 90+ minutes late.  Add processing and the rest, and my late but still ok 9-something pm landing suddenly became one that happened a little before midnight.  Needless to say, by the time I I got out of the gates, the kids were absolutely exhausted.  Given that Terry had to get back for lunch and dinner service in Whistler the next day, the meeting I wanted to have with them both together pretty much was blown out of the water.  Georgia just went home, and we would find a time to later meet.

Terry

Terry stayed over in Vancouver that night, and met me for a pretty early 6:30am breakfast in a Chinese café-bakery.  (By the way, highly recommend New Town Bakery on E Hastings, it was simple, inexpensive, hot and simply rocked.)  In the brief hour or so that we talked, he was simply a joy.  Obviously a child of the 00’s, his Star Wars was Anakin Skywalker and the Clone Wars.  Linkin Park was his Sting and the Police and he never even heard of The Doctors 1 thru 8.  He’s bright, analytical and determined to be a chef no matter what.  He’ll make it, I have no doubt.  But he’s also a little awkward socially.  His focus on his craft has made him appear to be a little cold, even aloof to an extent.  Still, once you do get to know him, you can’t help but respect him.

Georgia

On Saturday, I had went out to meet an old friend I had never met face to face in 15 years.  It was fun, exciting and a grand old trot down memory lane.  But as all good things, it had to end a little early as I had promised a friend to pick up some Dragon’s Beard Candy from the Richmond Night Market.  On my way there, I noticed a text from Georgia, who was already there and we agreed to meet.

Remember, until this weekend, all of my communications with the kids have been entirely on the phone or via the net.  Everyone has a persona they assume online, whether it be one that’s daring, brave, meek or silent.  But in person… ah, there’s the rub.  The cute little 8 yr old girl I remember is a very different 18 year old girl, and one that I bet her mom would have tore her hair out over.

It’s not that Georgia is a bad girl, or some wild child who drives parents to drink.  It’s that she’s so very much her mother’s daughter.  I see so much of my old love in her, and so many of the special qualities that made me so charmed and enamoured even now over 3 decades.

Georgia is smart and clever, quick witted and open.  She is a caring, loving blossoming woman who you can’t help but fall in love with from the start.  She keeps the same insane schedule that her mom did at this age, with most of her days already prescheduled weeks to months in advance.  It’s that drive that made her mom such a star to UBC, and when properly focused, will make Georgia a contender in the days to come.  The problem is that just like her mom, she wears her heart on her sleeve, and is incredibly pig headed.  Terry told me that once she’s made a decision, it takes a small miracle to make her reconsider.  Like me, she has a flair for the dramatic, and makes life changing decisions at a whim as she will follow her heart.  And more importantly, she has a sense of justice based on her own beliefs and is quite willing to defends those decisions to the death.

Unfortunately, this has led her to three decisions that I wonder how much came from me (somehow) and how much came from my old love.

– After reading “The Days” and finding out so many things about her bio dad, and my deep unusual relationship with her mom, she’s stopped talking to him now altogether.  She assures me that she came to this decision herself, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve traumatized her with the truth.  Problem is that, what choice did I really have as well?  I wasn’t about to lie to protect the false reasons why I was abandoned the kids after the death of their mom, or my complicated feelings for her even after all of these years.  Nevertheless, it’s been months since she has had more than a 3 word conversation with her dad, and I feel so horribly personally responsible for this.

– She’s about to get married in a few months, about the same age when my old love and I had once considered the future together.  Worse, it looks like her taste in men is about the same.  Her fiance was working at the Richmond Night Market (hense the timing), and he’s CHINESE.

– She’s asked ME to be the one to give her away.  She sees it as things going full circle, and that I was supposed to be her dad.  I am honored that she asked me, but it feels quite honestly wrong in a lot of ways.  I don’t deserve this pedestal.  I was with her mom in a quasi lost love relationship for over 7 years. Her real dad raised her for most of her 18 years.  He has cared for her, loved her, and sacrificed so much for her that I can never ever repay.  This is his spot, and his honour not mine.

Now let’s get back to where this mess is about to lead.  I’m not going to comment much on her fiance for now, since I really don’t know the guy at all.  All I know is that he’s from Shanghai, studied in western schools and is 24 years old. I have no idea if he’s getting his citizenship, or if he’s even a landed immigrant.  He speaks english with a bit of an british / chinese accent, and apparently works at that market on the weekends.  He seems to genuinely care for Georgia, but I can’t get over the fact that they started seeing one another only months ago…. and now marriage???

I haven’t had time to really think this all through, but this feels so wrong.  I’m trying to respect her decision, but now I think I have to be her father to try to talk sense as she’s presently lacking one right now.  She won’t talk to me at all abotu how her dad is, and what are his thoughts.  I’m actually a bit surprised that he even let Georgia move out at this age for that matter, assuming he even had a choice.

I’ve gotten advice from a few friends here and there, but I still have to think for now. I can tell already that my wife is going to have some problems with Georgia, which is another consideration I’m will have to factor in. So many lives, so intertwined in the decisions I soon will have to make, and all from a single desperate moment based on an ill-conceived haphazard plan. Wow. If there is some sort of afterlife, I can just imagine my old love just looking on in total puzzlement and disappointment.

But there is one thing for certain… I promised someone special and dear to me that I would always be there to strive to be their father, mentor and friend.  I promised her that I would always be there to try to guide them on a path that would find them their own happiness, and to avoid the mistakes that my old love and I made that will always haunt me.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo Channing, All About Eve

The New Frontiers: Courage, Children, Comical Circumstances and Catastrophes

It’s been weeks since I touched on the aftermath events since writing the Days Before Tomorrow.  Where I left off, the kids and I had made arrangements to meet at the airport on Friday the 21st where they can finally have a chance to see their would be father, or at least what they once called cool Uncle Terry.  Weeks since I gave the kids the total story of the events that led to their mother falling in love with me, and the catastrophic reactions that has led to the very unusual circumstances we all find ourselves today.

Since then, the countdown has only become smaller.  Time has creeped up on all of us, and there’s only scant days left before I see my kids again.  And yes, I still see and believe them in so many ways to be at least partly mine.  As I learn more about them, I see so much of their mother in them, and how she must have tried to inject a bit of me into them despite genetics and distance.

T is 20 (almost 21 soon), and he’s studying to be a chef.  To put it bluntly, their mom was never a particularly good cook admittedly.  She was skilled in so many ways, such as a keen analytical mind, great dexterity on the volleyball court and a musicality on the piano and cello that had to be seen to be believed.  One of my fondest memories in fact, is when we just quietly played a musical duet with her cello and my flute in a Montreal park one night.

Their dad has a great mind for organization, but he’s not much of a cook himself.  But I’ve been a foodie and home cook every since my teens, and I’m betting that T’s own skills and goals must have been in some way influenced by their mom and me.

G is studying to go to law school.  She possesses an empathy that goes well beyond her young years, and an equally keen mind that can bring truth from shadows with laser like precision.  I’m getting close to her in many ways, as I’ve always wanted a daughter of my own, and I’ve inspired her to follow and complete the footsteps her mother started all those years ago.  My first love never did finish that law degree, and I hope that G can finish that path, or if not that one, then any path that finds her happiness and love.

But my wife was right in one thing… I should have said a bit less when I wrote the Days.  I was so concerned to give the kids the full story, that I didn’t give a proper analysis of the consequences.

Damn.   I really am rusty as an economist.  A good economist can find trends and patterns in the present and the past, and recommend a course of action.  A great economist can take that same data, recommend a course, but also predict the unknown results to the best of anyone’s ability and be ready for the consequences.  I once thought I might’ve had the basics to be a great one, but not having used those mental muscles for so long, I guess I’m just a 1/2 decent one.  Where the heck does all this past paragraph fit in?  Well….

The kids have stopped talking to their dad and their grandmother.  Those two found out that 2 of the pillars of their family life was partially built on lies, and have taken it out on their dad.  They didn’t know about the no contest over custody when their mom and dad divorced.  They didn’t know about the restraining order about me.  That and the whole story on how she and I loved and lost… and they’ve had a LOT to think about over the months.

It probably also didn’t help much that I told the both of them to take their time and try to focus on school and so on.  Both of them had this burden of truth placed upon them just before school finals and so on, which was bad timing on my part.  But now that’s all done, and we’re about to enter a new adventure.

Where am I?  Terrified really.  I’ve loved these two ever since their mom made me their godfather (despite my relatively near total lack in faith strangely enough).  What if I’m not what they envisioned me to be?  Despite the blog and calls, at the end, they still fundamentally have the mind’s image of me from the viewpoint of a 11 yr old boy and a 8 yr old girl.   Do I have a place in their lives?  Do I even have a right to even BE in their lives?  So many doubts, and so many fears and worries.  But I broke my promise to their mom once to be a part of their lives and to be like a father to them.  This is my second chance… and whether they want it or not is entirely up to them.

So with that all now mentioned, I’m going to be a bit self-indulgent and write the following directly to T&G:

Kids. I’m not your dad. I wanted to be your dad, but it just wasn’t to be.  You HAVE a dad.  He was there when you first spoke, your first steps, and your first McD Happy Meal.  Despite a lapse in judgement, he loves you both deeply and has been there and raised you where I couldn’t.  So cut the guy a break, please?  Forgive him?  Because in the end, no matter what, he’s your true family who has looked over you and protected you over your entire lives.  And I will always thank him for that.  Today of all days, FATHER’S DAY, it’s a good day to mend these fences and be a family again.  This is your cool Uncle Terry ordering you and I’ll bribe ya with sushi if it helps the process (kidding… the sushi’s mine… you can have a Japadog though). 

Remember, your mom did love him, as much as she did me.  And you two wonderful kids are the results of that love.  I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of even a moment of your growth, but it’s in large part due to him.  I love you both, and see you soon, but give him a call now or I’ll kick your asses in the airport.  Love, Terry

Ok, as for those of you following this saga… more to follow very very soon.

Fortes Fortuna Juvat.  Fortune Favours the Bold. Wish me luck.

New Frontiers … A Start

03-31-2014, I accidentally sent the link to this post and not the post intended for this week. Click here to read the intended post

A warning, but this is from my personal view and that as a writer.  As you know, “The Days” was a telling of both mine and her story over 29 yrs.  I’m proud of it and I poured as much of my spirit, and channeled as much of hers to convey to you how much we cared for one another, as my gift to Terry and Georgia, and as a cautionary tale in where a simple pure love can evolve into something twisted and unusual.  I truly believe as is, this chapter of my life could not possibly end more eloquently, if melancholy, with the reunion to come.  

But, it’s a tale that’s ongoing and evolving now into uncharted territory.  As such, The Days will continue, but as “New Frontiers” where I begin to explore my future with having T&G hopefully in my life.  This could suddenly end in June, or may well follow me for another 29 years, but in this, I am daunted yet excited to see where this could unfold in the tomorrows to come.  As it will progress with real-time, entries will probably be quarterly or even annually at best.  More so, to protect the feelings and trust of T&G, please understand that from here on, I probably won’t have the liberty to be as open and free with my words and experiences as I was with The Days.

Speaking again as a writer, I believe that a sequel is rarely as good as the original, so if you decide to preserve the purity and raw experience of The Days in your minds and opt out, it’s perfectly fine.  Nevertheless, if you’ve decided to follow, close your eyes.  Take my hand and take that first step with me.  Come.  Follow me down that rabbit hole to Wonderland.

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“Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” – Margo Channing / Bette Davis, All About Eve

“Too many couples break up without understanding the consequences for their families.” – Iain Duncan Smith

I don’t regret writing The Days Before Tomorrow these last few weeks.  I’ve had a few days to think about it the entire tale, and despite many doubts and some regrets in being so open with certain details, in the end I believe I’ve done our story justice.

Many of those ghosts I had are still there, but maybe a little quieter for once.  The reunion to come has brought me a sense of hope, though fear as well.  I’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest apparently in the lives of T & G, as so much they believed was their very existence has been shaken to the core.  In other words, I’ve opened Pandora’s Box, and there’s never any returning again to those innocent days.

I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if I just found out who the heart of your mother always belonged to, or that they were to be the children of their godfather after sudden loss.  I can’t imagine how it would feel, as my own parents have been together for 45 years and thankfully as much in love with each other as they were from the start.  Despite the headaches, the arguments and the strife that comes with such longevity, they are very much the model of what I see is a loving marriage, and I take inspiration from that.  In so many ways, no matter how much they might drive me crazy from time to time, they are still very much my heroes and I can’t imagine life without them in my skies.  But T & G were virtually orphaned at a young age, with a father who rejected custody out of some unknown reason, and a mother who was taken from them by a capricious whim of fate.

I have so many doubts right now on whether to continue writing.  I’ve tossed a grenade into the relationship with their true father, and placed doubts in their bond with their grandparents.  My talk with Georgia after she read “The Days” was illuminating to say the least.  There’s been so many lies and tales behind my disappearance, as apparently my sudden refusal to take the children was because I was in prison or something so mundane.  The kids always knew that I was close to their mom, but now know that I was so much more.  They had no idea about the restraining order, or that the sudden move to Montreal was inspired by the faint hope that She and I would finally get it right.   And now, they understand as well why their mom shared with them one little thing that comforted her, and myself, over the years…. our mutual love of lightning and thunder in the night.

The kids are adults now, and despite my doubts, they deserve now to know the hidden truths from all of these years.  But it’s a lot to take in… and I will speak with them again very soon.  They’re quite upset, and I want them to take a few days, weeks, months, or whatever time they need to absorb and process it all before we speak again.  Such an influx of truth can never be easy, and for that, I am so truly sorry to them.  But, as I told them, and it’s in the hope that my once friend will read this as well, as he is still their FATHER.  He was there when they took their first steps. When they said their first words.  The school plays and the soccer games.  I can’t fault him for a moment of weakness, and only feel gratitude for having the patience of Job.  It couldn’t have been easy to raise the kids, no matter how amazing they are, who were named after another man.  It definitely couldn’t have been easy to allow her decision to inexplicably raise the children Catholic, or have a reminder of past sorrows by naming me Godfather.  From what little I know right now, the kids have been loved, and cared for, and cherished as a loving father would.  I’m not the kids’ father.  I wasn’t there when it mattered, and I did the very same by not fighting for them when my time to step up had come regardless of legalities and battles.  I’m at best the distant uncle, but now he might well have to cope with my return.  I am grateful, and I hope we can settle on a truce for the sake of family.  I’ve known him for over 35 years, and we’ve both loved and suffered by these games of the heart.

One story is ending, but a new one has begun.  Welcome to the New Frontiers.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The Days Before Tomorrow … Pt. 4

“I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, I can’t do anything to change events anyway.”   – Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl    

“After all, how often do we get a second chance?”  – Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

“No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.”   – Carroll Bryant

“She’s still in love with that f***** and did this to hurt him.”

“They’re divorced.”

Those words bounced around in my head as I sat there reading the divorce papers again and again.  This mad game had taken a whole new dimension, and I found myself in familiar territory once again in matters of Her, namely utterly confused and stunned once more. A few years of peace had gone by, so I shouldn’t have been particularly surprised that the past was returning to haunt me again.

A few hours later, She called me, a little afraid, a little meek.  The voice of the confident woman determined to keep me close had changed to that of a small little girl, one unsure of herself and her world.  This divorce had been in process for months, even years, and she had struggled to find the right time to tell me.  We spoke a little bit then cut it off as we both needed to process the news.  But despite it all, we avoided the elephant in the room, that for the first time since the whole mess began, the two of us were effectively single.

A few more months went by, and we spoke haltingly at best.  I really didn’t know what to think, and she was still embarrassed about her choices all of this time.  Worse, being across country, there really wasn’t too much either of us could do at the time.  She had a home with 2 kids and family on the west coast.  I had a job, and my own friends and family on the east, but realistically speaking, I could have left pretty much any time.  Why didn’t I?  I would probably say pride, or hurt or work or all of these things.  But I think the real reason was pettiness.  All of these years that she struck back again and again out of my emotional break, I didn’t have the same deep feelings as I once did… or maybe just buried those feelings out of a survival instinct.  The marriage.  The kids.  Being a godfather.  Seeing the mess unfold in front of my eyes.  Each and every act made was like a dagger to me, and they cut deep.  Could we have forgiven each other and made the right decision for once?  I personally strive every day to be a better person… even a little bit more.  But after 20 years of trying to hurt one another out of love of all things, I just didn’t know if I had it in me.  I had felt tired, and needed a change from the whole mess (plus I was deep in another one with a redhead (my weakness) I was kinda dating in Ottawa), so I took a job with a company in Ottawa.

I think the Fates must’ve been laughing their asses off that day.  At that exact same weekend when I moved into Ottawa, I got a surprise call on my cell from Her…. from MONTREAL.  While I was unsure of my feelings, she had not.  I had been essentially her one true love and had worked behind the scenes to moving back to La Belle Province.  So secretly, She took on a new job at McGill University as a researcher, and had been preparing to move back with the kids for a year try out.  She had taken a leave of absence from her work, quietly found a place and a school for the kids, set up the essentials for her family, and then once she thought she was ready, calmly made her call.

This definately wasn’t a moment of Serendipity, or even Irony… just pure tragedy I believe.  She called my cell to my still-Montreal number, and surprised me with the news.  No, not surprise, I would say absolutely and totally shocked me.  It started with a cheery hope to meet that night, to renew, talk and reevaluate our situations, and her absolute desire to be my wife.  I was just dumbfounded, and let her talk on and on, of her regrets, her loneliness through all the years, how much she missed my words of encouragement and mutual attraction, and how we finally had a chance to make everything right.  My first real words shattered her heart once more.  I told her that I was now in Ottawa on contract, and how I didn’t have the option to return.  I told her that I still cared for her, but I had so many many doubts about us ever coming back.  I told her that I still cared for her, but I wasn’t sure if I could be her husband.  And to the sound of her tears and sorrow, I asked her to give me a little time to think about it.  We would talk many times later over other issues with the kids, and to give me time to get used to possibly being their dad by having them stay with me for a few weeks.  We talked about her dad and mom, and about her new job.  But I never could have known that one conversation was the very last one I would ever talk to her about our feelings.

In March 2004, She was killed.  It was a car accident by a drunk driver.  It was quick and sudden, stupid, senseless, and she never had a chance. 

In April 2004, I was busy looking for a summer day camp for the kids, as I had been transferred by work to Calgary of all places.  At least in Ottawa, it was close to Montreal, and I had all sorts of resources to draw upon thanks to being a true son, although Asian, of Montreal.  As such, I didn’t really know my new city all that much at the time.

I was supposed to take them in July for a few weeks, and given my work schedule at the time, I had decided on putting them through day camp so I could spend the early mornings and evenings with T & G.  I was researching amusement parks, theme parks, trips to Banff, Medicentres for emergencies, food recipes and the 1,001 little things that I needed to know to make sure the kids would be fine and have an awesome time with me.  They had never spent more than a few days at a time with me, and definately never actually lived with me, so I was trying to do my best to be ready for them.  I was still unsure of my feelings for her, but I knew that those two were in so many ways, my kids, and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for them.  What I didn’t expect was a lawyer coming into my computer shop instead.

It was bright and sunny.  A Chinook was going through the city bringing us a stunningly hot day.  The air was strong, though a bit acrid.  But overall, it was a day full of promise and light.  To me, that’s how it started, but the rest of the day was dark and forsaken.  This man entered my store, and gave me a letter explaining why his presence.  The woman I loved with all my heart was dead, and our future together was now comprised of ashes.   I didn’t even read any further until he asked me simply, when would I be ready to accept the children.

I really didn’t understand anything at all, but as she had full custody, and that I was both official godfather and appointed guardian should something happen to BOTH parents, I was to receive the kids.  As He had not contested custody at all originally but still alive and well, some legal twist had awarded me custody.  Suddenly, all of that research became even more important, as I was now their father though I really didn’t understand how if He was still alive.  I always thought that his natural parental rights superseded any legal ones I might have had.  Why’d I have to be so right?

Only 2 days later, I was proven right.  Her dad walked into my shop, calm yet you could practically feel the air aflame with his silent fury.  Since her death, her parents had stayed in Montreal to care for the kids and to settle her affairs.  They had viewed this whole mess up close over the years, and probably never forgave themselves for agreeing to my mad breakup schemes, and never forgave me for being the man their daughter wanted.   He spoke calmly, yet precise in his intentions.  The kids were to return to their custody, and eventually be reunited with their dad.  I was supposed to agree to it, as I didn’t stand a chance legally, and they would spend their last dollar to bankrupt and ruin me if I fought.  That meeting me had destroyed their daughter, and ruined all of their lives.

I listened to all of this, speechless, with only sorrow and guilt overwhelming my being in every way that mattered.  I asked for a day, to absorb all of this and to ponder.  He granted it, sure in the righteousness of his position, left and told me he’d be back the following day.  I made a few calls, to lawyers and friends to get their take on the matter.  And in the end, they all agreed with me with what I knew myself was true.  The father was still alive, of good character, with the support of his parents and her parents.  I had the help of my own friends and family, but I couldn’t in good conscience bankrupt my family in a foregone conclusion.

The following day, I met her father in a cafe.  He already had a lawyer waiting with him, and I signed away my parental rights once and forever.  I broke my last link to her, and broke my promise to always protect her kids.  And to add insult to injury, they imposed a 5 year restraining order on me.  I was to never contact the kids again or even be able to approach her grave.  In a few days, I had lost my first love, and then lost our kids as well.

End of Part Four.   Epilogue to follow.

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 1 – An Introduction

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 2 – Shattered

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 3 – Betrayal and Hurts

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow … Pt 3

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” – William Congreve

“Hatred ever kills, love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.” – Gandhi

“I was born when you kissed me, I died when you left me, I lived a few weeks while you loved me.” – Humphrey Bogart

In all of my wildest dreams, I never saw that coming. We were close in so many ways, even though we weren’t a typical couple over the years. But, it was because we weren’t a normal couple that I had made my mistake in thinking that this was something that could be solved in a sudden dramatic fashion. To put it mildly, I was stunned, and remained so for the 2 or so hours where they both told me how they fell in love, how they both felt guilty about me, how they wanted me in their lives no matter the distance and more. To them, I was now family, like the happy go-lucky brother. In all honesty, I felt a bit like I had created a bizarre version of Frankenstein’s Monster, one that was now coming for my blood for the sin of brutal creation.

So I played the game a little further and served as their Best Man, and I think I played my part well. Should I mention about the bachelor party I hosted? The actual event at the altar where I smiled and cooed, all the while wanting to leap out of a window? How about the wedding banquet, quite modest thankfully, but still filled with those little games that everyone loves to watch. No one said if I looked upset or angry, though her parents did take me aside and told me that it was my fault that this happened and I should have been there on that altar instead. But realistically, my only thoughts were on how much I wanted this to end, and to wash my hands of everything and disappear from sight.  Little did I know that even long after the night ended and I returned to Montreal, she had other plans in motion to keep me close.

A few short months later before Xmas, I was told there was a surprise coming.  While admittedly not particularly thrilled, I had to admit I was a bit curious to see what she had in mind.  I was pretty much expecting maybe copies of the wedding photos?  A thank you gift?  Maybe a visit?  Who knew what it could be really?  I was still feeling the sting of the wedding, and I knew in my heart of hearts that this mess was entirely my fault.  I mean, I knew she would be upset with losing me, but I never in a million years thought she would rebound in such a strange and unexpected way.  Little did I know, that was just the beginning.

On Xmas Eve, they came around to my door bearing gifts.  I wasn’t surprised, as I expected something along these lines. The meeting was brief, as they had other doors to knock and people to see, but they did tell me to keep my New Years’ Eve free. I should have lied and said I had plans or something, but that would have been futile. All of those years of written notes and secret whispers had made her a human Terry lie detector for the most part (with of course the exception of when I shoved her). So I went about my daily holiday business of too much turkey, tons of family and friends and so on, but my mind remained a bit at unease knowing THE day approaching.

New Year’s Eve actually started to be fun. Being the geek I am, they surprised me with a private room and a few matches of Laser Quest of all things. It seemed to be a genuinely pleasant approach to that night that I never expected. There was of course a blind eye to the case of sparkling wine brought into the room, several pizzas and laughter between the 3 of us and their friends all around. We talked and reminisced, went over the elementary to college years, the disastrous first date ever, odd arguments about horror movies and so on, and I was honestly starting to relax and enjoy the company. Famous last thoughts I suppose.

Throughout the night, I noticed that while we were all enjoying the bubbly, she had stuck to apple juice and so on. She was never much of a drinker, but then, it was New Year’s Eve. And as the final few minutes of the year arrived, she stood up and poured a very small amount of wine into her glass and made a toast. First was a toast to her new husband, then her friends and family and then as she put it (and I so have those words burned into my brain in 24 point Helvetica type), “To Terry, the dearest friend, sweetheart and soon to be UNCLE and GODFATHER TO MY SON.” I so dearly wished right there and then for those laser pistols to be fully functional and lethal so I could shoot myself.

There was a lot of cheering and toasting that night. I felt sick and left the building, trying not to faint or throw up on the ground. It was a particularly cold night then, but I honestly didn’t even notice as both shock and a bit of fury had gripped me. I thought I was done and over with her, but now I saw that she meant every word about keeping me close. And as with stupid me and my code of chivalry, I felt obliged to say yes when I wanted to just scream. I looked back at the door to Laser Quest, composed myself, went back inside and apologized for my sudden reaction and accepted the honor. Months later, I got to meet my first godchild ever, and could you believe the coincidence? He was named Terry too.

By the way, did I happen to mention how unusual it would have been for me to be the Godfather? I was born and raised catholic, and lived across the country to boot. She was protestant, though He was catholic as well. Moreso, my belief in the Christian faith had already begun to wane back then (I’ve since become Atheist) which didn’t exactly make me a very good candidate. She didn’t care, and if He did, He didn’t tell me then. So annually, I would send gifts and notes to my godson to read when he was older, and every so often I would see them in Montreal or I would go there. A few short years later, Terry was followed by a second child, a sweet little girl named Georgia. I should have guessed, as my middle name is George. But if things were getting weird, she didn’t let me know.  (I’m a bit thankful there weren’t more kids. My full name is Terrence George Bing Nung Lo, which incorporates my chinese name as well.  Somehow I imagine in a parallel universe a kid named Bing being teased mercilessly in a playground.)

This game went on and on, and I would make my regular phone calls to the family and talk to my godkids. He had become a successful restaurant manager while the wedding and children derailed her studies in law, but still managed to get a degree in accounting somehow. I stayed in Montreal, finding new loves time and again, but somehow always watching them go up in flames in one way or another (Those tales are for another soap opera tale in the future). Still, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, as we all found our lives going their own separate paths as they should.

It was a Saturday in July that I called to wish lil’ Terry a happy birthday. But instead of the formalities of saying hi and so on, Terry passed me on to his grandma. She was expecting my call, and wanted a chance to tell me her mind. She had told me that HE had left, and moved away with another woman with kids of her own. She, my 1st, was now a single parent to the 2 kids, and that custody was entirely hers and that HE didn’t even contest it. Her mom then told me the rest of the story, of the fights and the counselling that went on in the background. The regrets she had by acting so rashly by marrying him, and the hurt and pain behind it all. How She had insisted on naming both kids after me, and that I had to be their godfather. Her mom confirmed all of my suspicions and more, and then lectured me about how it should have been me and her daughter from the start. Many more words were passed on, but the final word was from the Court of BC. I was faxed copies of the divorce papers, and besides “Irreconcilable Differences”, there it was written in HIS handwriting just under HIS signature:

“She’s still in love with that f***** and did this to hurt him.”

End of Part Three

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The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 1
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 2
The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind
The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers
The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword

The Days Before Tomorrow … Pt 2

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!” – Scottish Poet, Robert Burns

“You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it till the petals fall” – Songwriter Alan Roberts, Sung by Peggy Lee

So there was the impasse.  She didn’t want to leave.  She didn’t want to leave ME.

As we walked together after that moment, she couldn’t imagine life without my irregular notes in her door, or the awkward silences as we both danced around our feelings all of those wasted years.  I couldn’t imagine the nights not spent talking on the phone as the lightning roared and the heavens thundered.  Just the way she would grin silently as classical played on into the air, or the scent of her hair.  So many things I realized I would miss.

The following day, I secretly skipped class and went to talk to her mom.  She had long known about our almost secret relationship, and was always encouraging me to take it to the next step.  In her eyes, her daughter had a boy who truly cared for her, was kind, considerate and sincere, but more importantly, one who cared enough for her girl to give up his world.  And I did, so the plans proceeded.

I made myself less available day after day, and the notes became shorter and shorter.  Comments on life and love, spirit and music on the page evolved into simple gossip and banter about my “brothers”, inane school events and complaints about the Quebec government.  I tried to portray a callous, unfeeling Terry who was unworthy of anyone.  I ceased to walk over to meet her in the mornings, and would “forget” about our rare special evenings in exchange for nights of popcorn and movies alone or with my best friends.  The campaign, I knew would be long and hard, and I was going insane in thought.  My spies in her midst, her mother and father would continue to argue and rant on their end to ensure her departure and feed me information.  It wasn’t very successful, as she saw through the whole ploy with laser like accuracy.  Worse, she tracked me down at my favorite McDonald’s (well, yes, I wasn’t much of a foodie admittedly back then), sat down, told me to quit it, and kissed me on the cheek.

Time was running short, and I really didn’t know what else I could do.  The problem with having written hundreds of pages of my feelings and thoughts to her, is that she knew me fundamentally deeper than any person alive.  Deadlines on events that deal with life situations weren’t really something I was particularly good at, especially when considering  it was with one who loved me so well.  So I went back to her parents and we talked one more time. In the end, we all agreed, there was only one action left to do… and it’s one that has always scarred and shamed me in so many ways.

The day we broke up was not a particularly exceptional day, but it’s one I will always recall.  For those who know me, I have cherished in my heart the code of Chivalry and the pursuit of knightly honor to be my most highest belief.  In fact, that dedication was always greater than what I once believed as an evangelized youth, my comic books, movies and geekdom highlights.   As the days counted down to the final cut off to accepting the scholarship came close, all I could think was acts of desperation.  My sweet girl  had it in her mind that she wasn’t leaving and was just going to wait and work a bit until a time would come when we both could leave and excel.  But in the meantime, the days had become a monotonous routine, where we would meet, then argue about the lack of time left, then kiss, then allow her to enrapture me with the joy of her presence and then argue again, and then have her remind me that I’ll be forced to quit it pretty soon so I might as well stop there and then, and the day would progress as it would.  This time, I added a few more factors… the presence of her parents and a deliberate dedication to be ugly, to be angry and to be evil in the basest manner possible.

I won’t go through the full details, but the ambush was successful in raising the tension.  Voices were loud and angry as we were pleading and begging, and then (and with prior secret approval) accusations about me would be made and so much more.  But in the end, as it all came to a head, I did the one thing I didn’t want to do but realized was the only thing I could do to turn her passion away… I raised my hand, and in front of her family, shoved her hard onto the floor and started the first move to a follow up action.  Her mother knew I might had to do that.  Her father didn’t… and with that shove, the air in the room stood still.

I was thrown out by her dad, and justly so.  He didn’t punch me, but I honestly hoped he would.  Since growing out of elementary, I had never raised a hand in anger against a woman ever, and I couldn’t believe I actually did.  She looked out at me from her living room window, stunned, and angry.  She was always strong willed, but with that one act, I shattered every image and belief she had in me.  And as dearly as I wanted to run back in to hold her, to apologize and beg forgiveness, the anger of her father had put an end to that.

She called. I didn’t answer. I wrote no notes. I never walked with her again. Camelot had fallen, and to free her, I shattered both our hearts.  And in those months to come, we had no more contact no matter how much we both wanted it.

Here is where fate decided to give me a good s***kicking for my audacity to strike a woman.  In those months, I got word from her mom about how depressed she was, and how all our efforts might go to naught if she dropped out instead.  I had done my job too well.  But to tell her that I attacked her to force her to go to school and it was orchestrated??  I foresaw a pretty angry woman getting off a plane, and then throttling her family, and then me.  So what to do, what to do … when inspiration hit.  Maybe if I had a friend show her around, cheer her up, maybe she’ll improve and I even knew who to befriend her.  He was an old friend of mine from childhood, who moved to that city long ago but we still kept in touch.  Friendly, outgoing, emphatic and simply a nice guy, I asked him to see if he could look her up and gave him the full story on the event that drove her off so he had some reference.  That wasn’t a great idea in hindsight.

Months more went by, and as the days passed, while I missed the regular notes and her presence, I still did my best to go on.  The first summer was the hardest or so I thought.  When lightning struck, I looked up and closed my eyes trying to imagine her near me, letting the sound of thunder rumble through my body.  I still wrote, but this time it was notes to no one.  And as the notes piled, the amount slowed down to a smaller flow, and then a trickle, and then none.

It was in August that I got a call.  My buddy who I had asked to keep an eye on her was in town.  Considering that I really owed him one, I wanted to hear everything, but more importantly, offer some payback for a favour I never could really ever repay… or so I thought.  So feeling nostalgic, guilty and 100s of other feelings, I met him at le Biftheque for a good ol’ fashion steak dinner.

I always loved that restaurant.  The old classic wood and barn look that hasn’t changed in decades.  The dim lighting and the chuckwagon red and white table clothes.  The fresh bread baking all the time, filling the rooms with the scent of utter joy and pleasure.  And most importantly, the booths, where I walked over to meet him… and HER.  My sins had come to roost.

Awkward really doesn’t even begin to explain the next few hours.  I was stunned, guilty, lovelorn, angry, sad, and probably everything else you could expect.  Honestly, if I had the chance to put my fist through the wall, I probably would have gladly.

As the evening progressed, I barely heard anything they were telling me to bring me up to speed.  Eating was probably the last thing on my mind, but I focused as best I could to ignore the banter… until the last few words.  While he was keeping her company to cheer her up, they fell in love.  And with me as a lesson for the follies of not making a final decision, they decided to get married as soon as possible and flew back to Montreal to ask for my permission.

You know, they say the road to hell is paved in good intentions?  It definately is.  In my “good-ness”, I was the architect of this Titanic, but now looking desperately for that chunk of ice on the horizon to put me out of my misery.  And on they talked, and explained, and then came the special request, an iceberg worthy of this ocean of hell.

“Terry, we want you to be the BEST MAN.”

End of Part Two.

—————

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 1

The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 3

The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind

The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers

The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword