Sunday, February 11, 2018

I get it

Today is my friend Reg's 60th birthday. He denies it with a full-throated insistence that he's 59. (Again.) Oh well.

It's not the lying about his age that bothers me. It's the depression that has accompanied this birthday. According to Henry, he feels bad about his life. They are heavily in debt. Their home is in bad shape (no a/c, no dryer). They are down to one car, and it's not new. The trip they took to Puerto Rico last fall was the first vacation they'd been on in years. (It's important to note that, between them, Reg and Henry work three jobs. Their financial hardship is not due to lack of effort!)

Reg cancelled his own birthday dinner and went to bed at -- get ready -- 5:30! I tried calling to wish him a happy day and cheer him up, but he was already asleep, and Henry was in tears of frustration.

He loves his husband so much. They have been together more than two decades and have shared so much. It makes him sad that Reg values himself and his life so little.

It sounds so sad when Henry says it of Reg. Yet I could say all the same things about myself that Reg says. Crappy home, dead-end job, insufficient retirement account. Add to that -- I don't have a successful romantic relationship of 20 years+. What does it all mean? What's it all been for?

But today wasn't about me and my existential woes. It's about Reg. So I began listing all the furry lives Reg has saved -- beginning with the beautiful collie, Toby, who had been abandoned by the side of the road because his hips weren't perfect and he wasn't breeding material. We came up with the idea that, if Reg wants to "leave something behind," when he dies the obit can say, "in lieu of flowers, a donation to the Key West SPCA." I know, it sounds like a bummer here, but it made Henry happy in the moment. And that's what was important.

But the call left me so drained, I took a nap. Even though my taxes still aren't done, and I have a quick turnaround freelance project waiting for me.

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