When I was a daily frequenter of barns there was always a radio. I never knew if the radio was for the horses or the people but I kind of suspect horses, I seem to remember somebody telling me it was to keep them from getting lonely at night. The station was tuned to talk radio, rarely music but sometimes a classical station playing ever so softly in the background. I remember hearing what may or may not have been the PBS News Hour, I remember the stock report, and I remember waiting, just waiting for Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story and hoping somebody hadn't gone and changed he station because there was no way in hell I'd ever be able to get it back in time.
If I got my timing right, being watchless and all, my ride would be finished, horse curried, watered, and paddocked until supper and I'd be up in the hay loft or perched on my tack box wiping down my tack for the day which I could make last right to the punch line. I had some super clean tack for a while; a fine patina on the bridle leather and my saddle was as smooth and supple as, ok, no, not the proverbial baby's butt, I established the ridiculousness of that objective. It was smooth and supple. Good enough.
I miss Paul Harvey. His stories were funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but funny is what I remember, or heartbreaking and funny. But definitely NOT what you were expecting. I got so I'd try very hard to anticipate 'the rest of the story', I guess most of us probably did this, but I never could do it.
After all these years Paul Harvey came to visit me personally. I didn't recognize him at first. He showed up in my Facebook feed giving me one small part of the story at a time and since I didn't have a whole lot of interest in hearing the story those pieces rattled around in a glass jar for several months before they started snapping into place. I thought that might be the end of it but Mr. Harvey kept talking and I kept throwing sound bites into the big glass jar. This wasn't really a problem; I established up front that none of it affected me directly.
The thing about Paul Harvey is he just keeps talking and as mundane as the story sounds (and this one didn't actually sound mundane, but still), he talks until the very end when he drops the punchline which I don't want to call a bombshell because it's often not that at all and this story, well, it's a story with a punchline and it bears telling if only because the story which started back in January, 2013 with such a bang has come out the other side with, well, a punchline.
He might kill me for this but I think he's a little too busy to be reading right now if he's reading at all these days :)
In just under a week and a half Portnoy is getting married. I don't know when they met. I don't know when the relationship started; I think a bit less than eighteen months ago but maybe just a bit more than a year but none of that really matters, if you're sure, then you're sure. What I do know is there wasn't much overlap between the very end of our wrap-up and the very beginning of their working out whether or not there was anything worth pursuing. I know this because I was given the choice to hang around or not. I chose not. Please, people, surely somebody knows me better than that. Or, as my first husband used to say, you must be high. Anyway, given where he was coming from I guess it was a fair enough question.
It took a while but eventually I saw something on Facebook that swung a two by four across my midsection and despite the fact that I'd taken him out of my feed I couldn't erase everything. There was a name and suddenly there was a face. I clicked on the face. Something's not right. I followed the link into the profile trying to figure out what I was looking at. The page wasn't in total lockdown so there was enough information to give me near heart failure. None of this made any sense. I could not reconcile this with the guy I spent two and a half years with. On more levels than I could count I couldn't reconcile it.
In December they took off for seven weeks on what turned out to be a very long trip to many parts of the world. I couldn't reconcile that either. He'd never been able to stop working for more than a week and best I could tell his wife hadn't been generating enough income to keep her going. I decided he'd figured out something I just couldn't figure out what he'd figured out but in the end it wasn't relevant. Not my life. To be fair he'd asked to tell me, at least something but I'd refused to take the call. I'd still refuse to take the call because honestly, I don't need to know.
Quite by accident I heard the phrase 'gone by summer' and my heart sang. He will be gone by summer and I will never have to see him again. This is what it's going to take I think to cope with my choices because I just can't reconcile them. And well, that's my stuff.
In a little more than one week, a man who was damn clear he was highly unlikely to ever get married again, much less divorce his wife any time soon, who could not see a way clear to changing his life in any way, would never abandon his community or the two dances he ran, a sixty year old man ill-equipped to retire any time soon will marry a perfectly lovely twenty-seven year old woman and leave town.
And that's the rest of the story.
We don't get to ask what is he thinking. We don't get to ask what is she thinking. We don't get to ask any sort of question at all. We don't even get to ask how I feel about this (other than the holy shit, please go far, far away moment). We just get to have the mic drop. And this:
Perfect. It is absolutely perfect. I didn't see it coming but I could not have made a better choice for him.
Now I have a horse to put away and a barn to put to rights for the night and probably some homework to finish up.