But wait did they? None of them drink, and though they certainly had their fair share of comedic times, it’s not a joke ….Let me start again …A writer, a photographer, and a musician spent a beautiful summer sailing through a global pandemic….but wait again, that’s not the beginning of the story, it’s the middle.
The perfectly fun, filled with adventures and laughter, middle…however there was a beginning to this story, and sadly an ending as well.
The photographer arrived on the NoFo scene fresh from Newport Rhode Island ….He was a bit of a Scallywag and the writer had to chase him for payment for the boat he left at her marina. He eventually did come through with the money and sailed away in good standing.
It would be months later when their paths crossed again on local common ground.
If you look up the word “scallywag” you’ll find various spellings and definitions. I use the term in the most loving of ways. I have somewhat of a penchant for cute rascals and find those who are clever but a bit mischievous endearing.
And the photographer was nothing if not clever and a bit mischievous….Yes, he was spiritual and a seeker on a path toward enlightenment, but make no mistake that impish grin and twinkle in his eye wasn’t the inner glow of sainthood.
The writer was in a fairly new relationship with a musician, and no new in town vagabond had anything on this guy. If the photographer was a Scallywag, the musician could be his leader….
While being in a committed relationship is not the ideal time to cultivate a brand new friendship with a member of the opposite sex, the writer was drawn to the photographer in truly the most platonic yet meaningful way. She openly connected with him regardless of popular opinion or protests from her partner.
It was during a brief rough patch in her still young relationship that their friendship was really cemented. He provided not just a distraction from her heartbreak, or an ear to listen and some sage advice, but a true insight and support. He seemed to not only understand her, but also the musician whom he did not yet really know.
It was him who helped her navigate her way through understanding and forgiveness and back to the man who would become her life partner for better or worse.
Now try convincing your newly reunited with boyfriend that your new best friend is a charming guy…And as much as you say “you’ll love him because you have so much in common…he’s smart and funny and a sailor like you” he remains suspect…Ugh, the writer has a predicament!
I suppose some may think her guilty of lies of omission but she continued the nature walks, long talks, and lunch dates. And while she may not have shared the details, she checked her motives and stood her ground that he was a friend she would not relinquish.
And then one day her perseverance paid off. The musician said “I need a hand with this rigging, let’s see if your friend really knows anything” < or something of the sort in that cantankerous kinda way. She shared the photographer’s number and upon the musician’s request the photographer’s afternoon was cleared and by evening the two were fast friends. Kindred spirits it would seem.
Their three way friendship became a smooth circle with no end or beginning.
They sought out monthly full moons to gaze at and photograph, sometimes by sea as they sailed to a nearby lighthouse or by land as they snuck around an old shipyard and watched the moon rise over the fishing boats.
They rode out storms of more than one type together.
There were literal storms, with pouring rain and gale force winds, during which the photographer and musician ran around securing boats, reinforcing docks, and moving fallen trees.
And then there were the life storms, like when the photographer lost his job, which unfortunately included his place to live. Off they went to load up his stuff and move him on in with them.
So that’s that…A writer, a musician, and a photographer cohabitated. They shared secrets and saw each other for who they were the way you only can when you truly drop all pretenses. They supported each other, encouraged each other’s goals (side note~ the photographer was a driving force behind this blog you’re reading) and had nothing but love for each other.
And now since I’ve found my way back to the middle I guess that only leaves the end, but even the end has its own beginning.
Yes they captured perfect moments during moonlit nights, sunset sails, front porch dwelling, and roaming through their tourist town eating ice cream, but there was also the reality that the photographer was a slob of a roommate, the musician was a bit brash, and the writer was, well…let’s just say… moody…
Ahhh life. It ain’t always pretty, and all the moments pass….the good and the bad…And the seasons change.
The fall came and now I remind you that the photographer was a vagabond. The warmer shores down south called him and off he went.
The usual promises were made to keep in touch and return but life happens where you are and people get lost in the distance.
I suppose that could be the end, but there are many kinds of endings. It was the end of the summer. It was the end of their lives being intertwined daily. Though none of them suspected it would ever be “the end” the end…
Winter passed and the photographer’s drifting ways had him drifting back to the New England sailing community he loved.
It was a spring day in May when the writer’s phone rang and she saw the photographer’s number.
It wasn’t the first time they’d spoken, there had been sporadic calls over the course of the months since they’d last seen each other. And as was their norm they never made small talk, they cut right to the chase.
“Your voice sounds funny, do you have a cold?” she asked, to which he responded “no I don’t have a cold, but I do have cancer”.
The typical questions. The answers as best could be provided. The plan made to go to him. The phone hung up. A good cry.
3 weeks. 3 weeks from learning of his illness, to the definitive diagnosis, to “the end”.
Within those 3 weeks the writer, the musician, and the photographer had one more perfect day together.
They looked at the ocean. They walked in the woods. They even climbed a tower. They spoke their words of love for each other. They embraced. They parted ways.
That was the true end of their physical time together. By the following week the photographer had left his body.
Death is funny. It can serve to soften ones imperfections in the memories of those who love them. Typically it brings those people who love them together. Not always.
The thing with free spirited drifters is they’re many things to many people and it tends to be in short but intense bursts of time. Even relationships that wind through the years have huge gaps of time and space.
Who may make sense during one piece of life may not make sense during another and sometimes all these separate lives don’t bode well when they unexpectedly converge.
You can’t get more unexpected than an unexpected passing.
Would the real “read his name here” please stand up?! He can’t ….he is gone …and we are left.
We are left with our grief, our memories, and our idea of who our friend was. Who we had been in relationship to each other, and at times that doesn’t align with the recollections held by another.
So who wins? Who knows him best? Who knows him for real?
Is it those who share blood? Is it those who have known him the longest? Could it be who knew him most recent?
Perhaps it’s all the above. Maybe we need not try and figure it out. Maybe the answer is not to look too deep into who someone was to someone else, but to hold close and cherish who they were in the moments they shared with you.
For all their beautiful moments, the photographer also captured the spaces in between smiles. The musician sang the songs that were sad. And the writer penned the stories without happy endings.
And there you have it, for one perfectly imperfect period in time, a writer, a musician, and a photographer were bound together by their truths.