I’ve seen twenty pictures of you throughout the years. Terrance sent them to me as either motivation to keep going or as a way to renew his threat. Or as both. Regardless, each one has been the highlight of my life. I would never know when they would come. Sometimes it would be with a package and sometimes just randomly. I enjoyed seeing you age and see how the years have affected you. Not because I want you to get haggard and old, but because it proves to me you are alive. I would always hold them up to the mirror and compare how we’ve each changed. In some of them you are smiling, in others you have a furrowed brow and are deep in thought. I remember in one you are on a beach on vacation somewhere smiling with friends. I was happy you were getting to experience the world.
I would always wonder what role you were playing in your life. Were you leading? Following? Were you an active participant or a passive observer? I would hope you were doing each at some point because in leading we gain confidence and in following we gain perspective. Both are needed for sanity I think.
The one picture that struck me was one of you working here, in this bar where I sit right now. Like I’ve said, you’ve served me brunch every week for this last year and it was the background in the shot that led me here at first with fear, but because I knew my contract was soon up I figured I would play the odds. That led to a time I’ll touch on later in depth, but I figured if I kept to myself, and didn’t reveal my identity everything would be okay. It wasn’t at first, but then it was. I’m not sure how or even if you think of the brunch me. I order the same thing every week so you might just call me, “eggs over easy, sausage, brown toast” guy or maybe something entirely different. It is here that I have to thank Terrance for proceeding with caution with respect to my brunches – with the exception of the third one – because seeing and speaking with you, even while I have been somewhat disguised and we haven’t talked about much besides the weather or sports, seeing you transported me to another realm. Interacting with you for the brief times during that hour each week was like putting a curtain in front of the last nineteen years and allowing me to forget the horror show behind it. It also allowed me to gain perspective and plan what I needed to do.
The years have treated you very kind. Thank you to them and thank you to you.