Monday, August 27, 2007

A Beginning

I have been struggling with the future direction of this blog. It is not my style to write a travelogue – the cyber equivalent of the friend with three carousels of slides from their vacation. I try to have a point to all of this, even if I am the last to figure it out at times. And I suppose as with much of this new life, the balance will find itself. But I have had a good and an interesting weekend which I thought worked – as we will see Carrie was not in full agreement – so at the risk of the slide show that never ends, here goes. If you need to leave just say you have to go the bathroom and slip out quietly.

Friday was slow at work – this is the end of August, so I head into the City a little early. The main event is dinner with eight other guys from the married gay group followed by a play at the aptly named Fringe festival. One of the men in the group did the lighting so it is a show of support for him and for a very fringe, very gay play. But first I drop my car and my bag off by my friend’s apartment. A quick hello and plans to meet later

Meet we do, a drink, a late dinner and back to his apartment for the night. (I do confess here to a certain jealousy of the sex bloggers.) The next day we head east towards the land of some beautiful beaches. All summer long we have talked of my joining him and his friend for a day at the clothing optional beach and today it is destined to be. I climb into the back seat of his car for the ride down – a vintage Mustang convertible – and as the wind buffets me, we hit the beach.

Now I need to digress: when I left the house Friday morning, I expected to be coming home, just late that night. Carrie says at the door: “I guess we will see you tomorrow sometime.” I nod, leave, drive five blocks and turn around. She is potentially correct so it seems an overnight bag is in order. The next day I call and Carrie is plain – she is fine: “Go and do your thing,”

Now I thought we were going to a gay beach, but I was suffering tunnel vision. This was a clothing optional beach, men and women, straight and gay, and a few families thrown in. It was a liberating place in a very comfortable non-sexual way. There were some nice men to look at and yes, some very nice females for the eyes also. And for those of us who love the ocean, the joy of not only swimming nude, but coming out and not having to endure a wet, sticky, sandy bathing suit: a joy indeed.

The sun is sinking and the Mustang is raring: back to the house in the burbs for a simple dinner. The man of the house is a restorer of vintage automobiles so the back yard is ringed with heavy blue tarps covering the carcasses of autos past and in the middle a simple patio, a table with many candles and an electric palm tree. And there the three of us sat, moonlight, candles, and “palm tree” for illumination, and if one looked carefully in the low light one might have noticed the lack of clothes on a balmy summer eve.

I make it home after midnight, quietly slip down to the basement and get some sleep before my “daddy” day. The next morning as I make the kids breakfast my ex calls – our eldest son is returning home after a year abroad and do I want to bring down the girls for a surprise dinner. Perfect – an opportunity for the three of us to give Carrie some space and have what will end up being an eight hour adventure. It is a series of trains – the kids will take them over cars any day, and frankly it is not a bad deal to be relieved of what is a very tough eighty miles each way.

We are on our second train emerging from under the Hudson, a daughter on each shoulder, when it strikes me just how lucky I am, what a perfect weekend I am living, the balance I have written so much of. Even the iPod is agreeable playing a little Bruce in honor of Jersey:
This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded
This Train
Hear the steel wheels singing,
This Train
Bells of Freedom ringin’

It is a joyful afternoon of reuniting: talk, hugs, food. All one could ask for.

This should be the close, but early on I mentioned Carrie did not fully share my view of the weekend. The issue is her perception that she had them all weekend except for an eight hour break - an issue for any separation, one that is accentuated by sharing a house.

I realize the inherent emotional volatility - truly the first week of trying to create a whole new balance for us both and I do believe we will, in our own inimitable way, find our way. But clearly there is going to be some rough patches along the way, particularly as Carrie feels trapped and I continue to make social opportunities.

But tonight as I go to bed, it will be with the strains of Bruce in my mind:

Faith will be rewarded.