Sunday, May 23, 2010

Brian 2

So met Brian and Mac. Two hours later they were still sitting together talking as if they'd known each other much longer. By the time they decided to go and get dinner at a nearby restaurant they were fast friends. Kindred spirits. In an ancient book there is a story of two men whose spirits were Knitted together. Knots tied so securely that they wouldn't, couldn't come undone. Brothers bound with something stronger than blood.

Over the following months, between the shared meals, walks and coffees, Brian had taken more frequent trips back to his parents home in Florida to care for his aged and sick father. Eventually Brian stayed on for weeks until his Dad passed away. During this time Mac's and Brian's communicaes were limited to text messages, voice messages and short phone calls when Brian was out of the house. The occasional email to one another expressed their desire to be nearer to each other and to be able to talk while looking at the others face. A longing developed, an affirmation that they suited each other and that they enjoyed being in the company of the other.

His father's death was hard on Brian. He had worked diligently to be the best carer possible, bringing comfort and strength to what can only be described as an agonizing journey toward death for his dad. Brian expressed to Mac that he simply wanted to return the love and care his father had given him as a child.

Mac was almost surprised when Brian asked him to go to the beach house at Inlet Beach with him right after his father's funeral. Mac had initially declined not knowing what such an invitation actually meant but he agreed to think about it overnight. Brian's gentle and persuasive words worked. And the next day Mac was taking the eight something hour drive toward the Gulf of Mexico. Brian's voice was clearly happy as Mac called to say he was on the way and he'd be there that afternoon.

Their embrace upon Mac's arrival was sweet. Mac had forgotten what good hugs Brian gave and he hoped that Brian thought the same. "Mmm, good hug," said Brian, and went for another one.

Their days at the beach were filled with good times. The comfort that two men can enjoy in simply remaining quiet in each others company is a rare thing. They shared that comfort. But don't begin to imagine that's all they did.

They spent butt numbing hours riding bikes at an easy, cruising speed around the neighborhoods adjoining one another in the maze of expensive and delightful homes along the beachfront. Brian led the way pointing out one style after another, highlighting architectural features on various homes, pointing out the discrepancies in building code adhesion and so on. Whenever they came to a corner where there was the danger of a pedestrian stepping out in front of them Brian whistled cheerfully as a warning that worked most of the time. One particular incident gave rise to the ongoing joke about looking for nine year old girls for Brian to run over with his bike.

That short vacation for Mac was one of the most liberating times he'd ever experienced. Brian had Mac floating in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time ever and took pictures of him laying on the sand as the waves pushed sand up his swimming costume. Brian was the first person that Mac was able to confide in about so much. Jill, fatherhood, his concern about Clay not wanting to talk to him, new singleness, a future. Brian listened.

Brian took pictures of Mac to send back to Clay and Harrison. He wanted to make sure there was plenty of contact between the father and his sons. In hindsight it was perhaps a deep reflection of Brian's desire to hear from his father. Never the less, the time at the beach was too short really and Mac drove back to life in Atlanta while Brian stayed on for a few more days. They were the last days that Brian spent at his beloved father's beach house with the white walls and the seats on the roof and among the mature gnarly trees.