(Editor’s note: Written a few weeks back, but somehow I forgot to post. Sorry).
My husband called from Hyde Park with our son, who was playing in the water kiddie park in an attempt to beat the heat. The bus home was delayed, so I’d have a few more minutes of quiet while I finished up some knitting that needed to be done before we left on vacation on Monday. I decided to give my hands a bit of a break (finishing pieces is so time consuming!), and my eyes rested on the far corner bookcase, where my ‘old’ books sat.
When you move every few years for a job, or for love in the last move, you get pretty loose with mementos. Lugging your life around isn’t really an option. I estimate I’ve donated about a 6 bedroom house’s worth of stuff over the last 20 years or so, but that’s the way it is. But I’ve always been precious with books, choosing to carefully carry the best of them with me. A well-loved copy of J.O.Barr’s “The Crow” caught my attention, and I curled up on the couch to re-read it.
When the paper fell from the pages, I almost didn’t remember why it was there, and then a flood of memories came back. The book was a gift from an impossible boy – impossibly good looking, impossibly smart, impossibly funny. When you do summer stock, and on campus, you yearn for a quiet spot, but Bryan never felt like an intrusion. We bonded over geeky things, The Crow being one of them. I remember finding the book and note in my costume bag before a show, and crying, but not knowing why. Before we left, I gave him my copy of Sandman #75, “The Tempest”. I don’t think I ever saw him again.
So, to Bryan Richards, I thank you. I thank you for a sweet gesture that 15 years later, made me smile. As my son grows, I’ll read this book to him, and he’ll read it himself as he gets older. It will give him the same cold comfort it gave me.
It amazes me how many Bryans come into our lives – people who touch us in a myriad of ways, teach us something, give us or take from us, and finally ebb, rapidly or falteringly, from us.
That’s all. Sometimes, that’s all there needs to be.