This time last year I had known Rob for about ten days. He introduced himself to me via a PM (private message) on the YWBB (young widows bulletin board) in response to my response to one of his posts. He had posted about his daughter, Jordan, commenting on his teenage like behavior and I had replied, jokingly offering to be his evil twin as we seemed to share many of the same behaviors. His reply message to me was entitled, Hey there Evil Twin. Our hailing each other as twins proved more prescient than either of us could have known at the time. He offered an ear via email despite the fact that he’d recently had a bad experience with another person on the board. Someone who had contacted him, and he misunderstood the true intent behind this woman’s reaching out to him. Despite that he reached out in friendship to me anyway. He had been reading my posts, sensing that we had much in common and also they occasionally made him laugh.
We began writing to each other off the board on December 18th which was just short of a week later. We nearly stopped communicating a few days after that when he told me I reminded him of a character from the Chuck Palahniuk novel, Fight Club, and I googled the character only to discover she was a support group junkie and a nymphomaniac. I was more than taken aback, and he was profusely apologetic, and persistent, and we continued writing. Now Rob tells me that his initial impression of me, based on my posting on the YWBB, was way off, but I have since watched Fight Club and I can see why I reminded him of Marla Singer. He remarked the other day that “last time this year I was on the verge of fucking things up” and I had nearly forgotten all about it. Later that evening I went back and reread the letters from that week and the week of January 1st. I was at a low point then, and I remember how much I looked forward to hearing from him, reading his emails. They weren’t necessarily grief-related, and they certainly weren’t romantic or even leading to that way. They were just the kind of emails you would send to and receive from a new friend. Full of information about daily goings on and sharing interests and interesting things. They are long letters. I have plans to print them out someday and bind them for posterity – whoever that might end up being.
A year ago tonight, Rob was in Vancouver with the girls and Katy and I were just getting back home from Christmas Eve dinner with friends who are like family. Tonight, I cooked a Chinese feast and we were all together. I don’t think I could have imagined this back then. Even though I knew I would someday meet someone and know love and marriage again, and even though I thought I would be lucky to find someone just like my new friend, Rob, I don’t think I was quite ready to imagine it was Rob. Or he me. But we were closer than we knew.
Merry Christmas to all my friends out there.