Hawk always calls me late in the evening. After he’s spent his day doing all of the things a retired man does. That’s when the lonely quiet hours come. After the sun has gone down, and the neighbors have all gone home. When he’s alone in the emptiness of his dream house.
At the time I couldn’t see that’s what Hawk was doing. I was there to talk to. He had pictures of me from my profile on the dating site. he had no pictures. He was a faceless voice on the phone. He was kind and light-hearted, intelligent and a good conversationalist. Whenever there was a moment of silence in the conversation.. he’d say.. “tell me what you’re thinking.” And I would share what things were going through my mind. I felt somehow comforted by his voice. I guess that maybe I had some lonely quiet hours too at the end of the day.
I was learning to live alone. Hawk had already been alone for over a year, but it seemed as if we were both venturing out into the world after a hibernation. A time of licking wounds. I had left my marriage. I felt like I was doing wonderfully. The whole world was open to me now. I could do anything, be anything. I just had no idea what that was.
Hawk saw me in ways that I couldn’t. He told me I was beautiful. I didn’t feel beautiful, but I thanked him for saying so. I didn’t really see myself. I had no idea how I appeared to other people. I had been invisible for a very long time. I would look in the mirror every morning as I dried my hair and put on my make-up. I would see a woman there, I just didn’t know who she was. But now, this voice on the other end of the phone was telling me things about me. He said I was so cheerful and kind and that he looked forward to talking with me. As we shared the happenings of our days we would delve into the emotional waters of the dreams we both had yet to find. We were finding soft, warm comfort in these evening conversations.
I didn’t have many people in my life at the time. My family and friends were still adjusting to the separation. I felt very alone. My need for adult companionship was at the top of the list. So when Hawk would talk about coming to pick me up on Sunday for a drive, I felt so much excitement. I’d spend some time choosing what I’d wear. Wanting to look just right in his red convertible. But when Sunday would come, Hawk would call and say, “I guess I’m not quite ready to meet you yet. I want to , but I just can’t.”
I would say things like, “that’s okay, I understand” But inside I’d feel so disappointed. I’d cry and feel terrible and alone. Then in a couple of days Hawk would call again. This time he talked about taking a long weekend trip together. He’d share about his new camper and how he’d love to take it out for a few days. And I’d imagine how fun that would be to explore some place new with someone new. So again we agreed to meet for lunch, a chance to get acquainted. And again Hawk called to say he was sorry, but he just didn’t feel right about meeting me in person. He even said that he thought I should go find someone else and not wait around for him.
I thought I’d been patient, I thought I’d been cheerful and fun. I thought… but now I cried. Then I wrote. For the first time in over two years, I wrote.
Six weeks later, out of the blue one fall evening, I got a call from Hawk. He apologized for sending me away. And after talking for a couple of hours I asked him to meet me in person. Right now. He said yes. We agreed to meet half way between where he lived and where I lived. Of course, The Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.
It was dark and quiet there when I arrived. I wondered if he’d really come. I was afraid he wouldn’t and I was nervous that he would. Then I could see headlights coming from around the curve in the road… it was him.