It’s late afternoon already and I’ve spent the better part of this day writing about ex-husbands and shame. It’s exhausting. And I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten yet today. If only someone would come by with some yummy, delivered food, it would be perfect. This is what artists need, someone to take care of those mundane details of life while we’re busy and engaged in the creative process. It’s what many of the male artists in the world have enjoyed, in the form of their wives. Maybe that’s what I need – forget the husbands, I need to find a wife to take care of these things.
Then I could just write and write and write, which, once I begin, is all I really want to do. Like today – up on the balcony, mostly alone, sometimes with Luke and James nearby and the words flew onto the screen effortlessly. Time stood still … or kept on moving, I guess; but I was completely unaware of it. There was no place to go, nothing to do and I felt completely freed up to sit and write – I can’t seem to so easily find or create this kind of time and space at home; and yet here, now that I have a very comfy guest house in which to create home, I am doing so with ease. And so very grateful!
I took a break to go and get some food before nightfall comes and while I can still leave room for dinner. Tonight is pizza night with Luke and James at a nearby place they swear is like eating in Italy. With that recommendation, how could I resist? We tried to go last night, but the restaurant was closed. So a quick visit to the Indochina Restaurant where I had a most delicious bowl of tofu and vegetables in sweet and sour sauce (nothing like the s&s I know at home) and then a hurried return home as I saw the sky clouding over and heard thunder in the not-so distance. I got caught in a downpour the other night and wasn’t keen on a repeat performance. As well, I left the fan and a few other things out on the balcony and wanted to return before they were damaged.
So I’m back now and instead of sitting on the open air balcony which is sure to see rain any minute, I’m downstairs at the main gathering table under a palapa roof. This is the place where Luke serves his gourmet breakfasts each morning, in which I haven’t yet indulged. I’ve enjoyed my tea, though, while the other guests have gobbled down his creations. He did throw together a lovely smorgasbord of leftovers last night after the pizza bust; and while I wasn’t terribly hungry, the salad, potatoes and whole grain breads with hummus hit the spot.
Everything about this guest house is perfect for me at the perfect time – I feel so fortunate! And one of the greatest delights, when I’m feeling social and not writing away, glued to the computer screen, is having met Luke and James. They’re from Manchester, England and like me, when they arrived here, they were travelers. In casual conversation, the owner mentioned to them that he was leaving to return to Belgium for six weeks and had four of those six weeks covered, but not the first two. Just as casually, they replied that maybe they could look after the place in his absence – by the next morning, Luke was in the kitchen and they were well on their way to managing the place. This was particularly fortuitous for me, as Peter the owner would have closed the place and I wouldn’t have been able to stay here.
Luke calls me “Our Writer in Residence” – could he possibly have any idea how much I love that?! He even delivered me a glass of ice water the other day as I was writing on the balcony with the sun steaming down on me – service with the sweetest smile!
Now they’re sitting nearby watching me as I write about them – how can I, as an American, tell the truth about these British blokes?” “With the greatest of ease,” Luke says, after all, I’m American. He blushes at the slightest mention of anything remotely inappropriate, which of course, makes me want to say the absolutely most inappropriate things I can think of!
Luke and James are just 28 and are the cutest boys I’ve met in a long while. Luke is the essence of exuberance – his smiling, boyish face beams joyousness; he’s outgoing, bubbly, warm and friendly. He works in community organizing and social activism, particularly related to housing issues for disenfranchised people – a Social Worker we would call him in the States; but Social Workers don’t have such a good reputation in England, unfortunately – their (our!) illustrious and important history having been usurped by the contemporary reputation of people who take your children away.
James is a palliative care nurse in the country that’s been a worldwide leader in the field. He’s a bit more reserved, but only initially and is equally warm, present and engaging. They’re ‘proper’ in that English sort of way that’s entertaining to us Americans and their humor tickles me with uproarious laughter.
They’ve been partners for 10 years and their union is now legally sanctioned by England’s civil partnerships law which was enacted in 2007. They had a wedding ceremony about which they speak with pride and pleasure. When I first arrived, I noticed how easily and comfortably they spoke of their partnership and their lives together, as naturally as any couple might and certainly ought to have the right to do. They made no effort to conceal who they were together and they couldn’t yet know how I delighted I was to witness their love – they’re loving and kind and sweet with one another. This is how it ‘should’ be, I thought, for anyone, for everyone who has created loving partnership. While it’s taken way too long for this to be true for my dear LGBT brothers and sisters; and while there’s still a very long way to go, I celebrate that finally, finally, things really are changing!
So we did go out for that pizza dinner, along with several others staying here at the guest house. And as promised, it was scrumptious. Both James and I chose the Wat Phou pizza which boasted tomato sauce, mozzarella, goat and gorgonzola cheeses, olives and oregano – OMG, it really was the best pizza I’ve had in ages! But the best part of the evening was spending time with these dear young men who I feel fortunate to think of now as my new friends.
For the first time, they’re coming to the States in February 2012 at the end of this, their year-long trip – and of course, they’ve chosen San Francisco as their place to visit. I’ve promised to connect them with some of my Bay Area boys, who I trust can show them a good time (ahem) – they’re a bit worried about what that might mean, but I’ve assured them they won’t be disappointed!
Thanks, Luke and James, not only for taking such good care of me here at the guest house, but for the sweet gift of our new friendship!