I stole time away from work on Friday for lunch with my friend, Patrick. Last month, when I encountered him by chance out strolling in my neighborhood, I dug into my pocket and gave him The Vixen Divorcee’s business card. After we parted I thought, “Georgia, are you insane! What were you thinking? Now he’s going to think you are the biggest bit of inane mental fluff imaginable.”
Why did I have this reaction? Because Patrick is an 80-something- year- old retired professor. Because our conversations usually revolve around our favorite American authors and the history of our part of town. We go out for English teas together. We attend lectures on edifying, mentally stimulating topics. The world of the Vixen is neither his world nor his era.
Or so I thought. Until Friday’s lunch, when he pulled two slips of paper out of his pocket. One was filled with notes about what he particularly loved about The Vixen Divorcee. This sweet, gentlemanly acquaintance of mine loved my blog and wanted to remember the details that enchanted him.
The second slip of paper contained this poem by A. E. Housman. I knew that Patrick had been married, but his divorce happened long before I knew him. That personal realm was not part of our discourse. Until the Vixen changed everything.
“Into my heart an air that kills…”
by A. E. Housman (1859-1936)
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
On Friday he shared his story with me. He told me how he read this poem over and over again in the early days of his separation. He said, “This poem told me that someone understood. Reading it was like telling my pain to a friend.”
I jumped off a precipice when I shared the Vixen Divorcee side of my life with Patrick. Instead of being hurt, I landed in the safety of a warm and generous heart. This is how friendships are built, isn’t it, by sharing pieces of ourselves with each other?