Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chapter 4: Musings on Love, Life, Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Caveat emptor: this is a work of historical fiction in process. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and titillate the guilty.

Rockridge, February 2005:

History bears out that love has been fleeting in my life. Men come. Men go. They die. They bury themselves in high-powered jobs and careers. They’re crippled by unresolved issues like pesky wives, mothers, mistresses, girlfriends, and all those overwhelming insecurities. Some have been rich. Some were famous. All were handsome, charming, brilliant, focused achievers. Some were just bad choices. Some, like my errant Daddy, twirled me around the yard and made me feel loved, at least for a while. Then again I suppose each of the important men in my life has twirled me around the yard a time or two . . . then went away.

The truth is that Trevor Fincham and I been observing one another from afar for one full year and had been circling one another’s wagons for fifteen years before the gods conspired to have us meet at Cole Coffee. I’d been waiting all my life for a man like him to come into my life.

My earliest live sighting of Trevor Fincham remains etched clearly in my mind. The winter rains had lifted and the sun sparkled on the sidewalks and storefront windows along College Avenue. The sidewalks were clamoring with joggers, new parents carrying their newborns in a baby Bjorn, dogs walking their owners, and friends chatting in the cafes. Bart trains would occasional whistle by, making a quick stop at the Rockridge Station for passengers to disembark or board for a day’s shopping in San Francisco.

Dressed in my Saturday casuals – tight jeans and a black turtle neck with my blonde hair neatly coifed, I too radiated sunshine that day as I stood in line a the very popular Peaberry’s Coffee at Market Hall. In my line of vision to the street stood a tall, fit, bald scantily clad man perspiration gleaming from his nearly bare shoulders. He caught my attention as I stared out at the chaotic social whirl of the café. I gasped as I felt a tinge of excitement in just viewing this magnificent male specimen. Perhaps it was the oversized trendy tank top that he wore over his very brief white running shorts, or his long tanned runner’s legs, or that he reeked masculinity, or that he projected an innate aliveness. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

A thin, pale-faced young woman with poofy mousy brown bobbed hair askew stood mutely next to him. Picking at her face, she shifted back on forth in her running shoes and baggy shorts while he animatedly chatted with friends and passers-by and ignored her. She stared into the nothingness of life – bored, unhappy, disinterested, eager to move on.

Adonis’s eyes met mine. He looked me up and down, smiled broadly, and focused his eyes on mine. A momentary connection was made. It was as if I had known him my entire life. Who was this man? Where he had come from? Where was he going? And why was this young woman, surely his daughter, so forlorn? And would I ever see him again. But of course, I would, and did.

I had no delusions about the mysterious Trevor Fincham. He was married and for me that was that. However his mind fascinated me. We quickly became good “café friends.” Over many months he sought me out at Cole Coffee, a favorite with locals who eschew the likes of Starbucks. We shared a cup of tea, good conversation, a few intimacies, stories of our families, laughter, an occasional friendly hug as friends will do and a kiss on the cheek. Trevor was fun. I liked him immensely. As the months progressed, his drop-ins during the early morning hours increased. Friends began to tease me about my “handsome Englishman.” “He’s after you, you know.” “He’s got a thing for you.” “He’s here to see you.” “He’s in love.” “Go for it, Morgan.” One friend suggested that Trevor was most probably gay because of the dandy way in which he dressed. Perhaps she was just trying to discourage me, but then again it is Oakland, nearly Berkeley. I do confess that I looked forward to those mornings when Trevor was waiting at the café or arrived unexpectedly. He brightened my day.

But . . . a very big but . . . I was in denial and wondering about his lack of respect for his “young wife” who must surely love, respect and appreciate him for all his brilliance, charms and amazing good looks.

Trevor confided that he and his “young wife”, as he always referred to her especially in the company of other men, were buying a seaside cottage up the California coast. He was excited, eager to get to work making improvements. She had her trepidations, mostly about money. He sought out the sage advise of Martin Goldberg, taking him to lunch at Eccolo, a trendy Berkeley restaurant, with, in my humble opinion, high prices, bad food, and even worse service, be it ever so popular.

Marty let it be known every so subtly that he enjoyed the privileges attached to being the wealthiest man at the café. I found him to be just another aging rich Jewish entrepreneur with bad teeth, thinning hair, black clothing, and a plethora of hot black cars, one for every day of the week. Marty owned a trendy highly successful shopping and office complex. yet he regularly harped about the quality of his tenants and their merchandise, as if he were actually struggling through this life. Occasionally he provided a food review of the latest trendy Berkeley restaurant though generally he treated most of the plebeians at Cole Coffee with polite disdain and extreme caution. He eschewed commitment and lived in fear that some woman would desire him and his millions. Quite frankly I’ve slept with rattlesnakes who were more appealing that Marty Goldberg.

Trevor closed on the his dream property on his fifty-eighth birthday and announced that he was going to throw himself into renovating and reengineering the deck of his cozy seaside cottage, his diversion during a much needed sabbatical. He veritably bounced with enthusiasm. I was happy for him.

In a moment of reflection Trevor politely offered, “How would you feel about my introducting you to Marty?”

I recoiled in disgust, my smile turning into a frown. “No thanks, he’s not my type.”

Trevor looked embarrassed then added, “You’re right. What was I thinking? He’s a money-grubbing miser who lives in fear that some woman will run off with his millions.”

Trevor walked me to my car and gave me a friendly English hug, climbed into his blackCorvette convertible, waved goodbye and vanished for a time as friends will sometimes do.