We met back in 1986. I was in recovery from the highs and lows of a couple of savage years spent in Canada. Regrouping in Switzerland was supposed to solve all our problems. The grass is greener there! Hannes and I were going to try and make this thing work out.
A friend invited us to a downtown Zurich club. The usual - stage, live music, a DJ, tiered seating and a mosh pit up the front. We slid into one of the back rows up in the balcony.
First thing to note was that, everyone, I mean everyone, seemed to love the DJ. They were shouting things out to him, dancing and singing – everyone seriously adored him. At first, I thought it was some kind of magic show. Tricky smoke screen. Paranormal vibe.
I suppose that's why when he looked at me – with those eyes- like I was the only one in the room – it took me by surprise. I hadn't even dressed up. I'd put on a bit of weight in Vancouver. I felt fat. And my boyfriend was sitting right next to me. It was unnerving. Nice but unnerving. And when I say that he looked at me, it was, instead, a gaze. As if he was looking right through me. He knew everything about me.
We kept going back to the weekly gig, and I'd have the same kind of feeling. I had the impression the DJ wished everyone would just shut up and leave the room so we could be together and get to know each another.
I just cried. Each time I just sat down and cried buckets of tears. It was embarrassing. He was everything I had been looking for in a friend. And yet I hardly knew him.
He made everyone feel special.
I was unfaithful right from the start.
He also loved others, but it wasn't the same - I think I was unique or at least he made me feel that way. For some reason, I didn't feel the slightest jealousy.
I had heard of his book. A book that made every bestseller list every year. Translated in over 600 languages. I'd tried to get into it during my university years. It was tough going. On par with Homer's Odessey or Plato's Republic. Part One was a family saga with a science fiction quality. The sequel was more straightforward and made some sense. Dylanesque in the way he saw humanity. Blowing in the wind.
So now that I had actually met the author, I dusted off the copy we had at home and gave it another try. Still complex. But it was beginning to make sense.
I contend that the invitation I had all those years ago changed my life. If someone had said that I would meet him and immediately fall for it, I would have laughed. But that was that. I did.
Our friendship has been rocky at times. Heaps of misunderstandings. I've listened to gossip about him and read the reviews which have caused me to think twice. But, you know what, he hasn't ever done anything wrong by me. I see that way he cares. He's always there for me. His political views and social justice platform shows he gets it. And He keeps on loving me even when I'm in the wrong.
And today we share another milestone. Resurrection Sunday. We joke that he has two birthdays.
I'm making him a panettone and scooping out the middle - empty tomb cake. He'll love it.