I shall be leaving two days hence for a two-week stay in Virginia. This is a direct result of the fact that, about three months ago, my brother and his wife finally became successful in adopting two children from Bolivia (no thanks to the Bolivian government, which had been impeding their efforts for two years). I will visit and be introduced as Uncle Clarence, and I'll put on my game face and try to enjoy it. I understand that many (perhaps most) people would think this a joyous occasion. I, on the other hand, am not much of a family person. Rather, the family that is important to me comprises the people that I've invited into my heart over the years.

Add to that the fact that I often do not particularly enjoy vacations because I most often am vacationing alone, and thinking of the aforementioned people that I left behind. Unfortunately, given that all but one of these people are male and so constituted as to make a homosexual romantic relationship impossible, my vacations always begin by leaving them. (Except for my trip to Thailand three years ago, a joint venture with my good friend Bernard.) Regardless of the beauty or exoticism of my destination, I despoil what should have been memorable by pining for the people with whom I won't be sharing those memories years and decades later.

So I'm not looking forward to this trip. In addition to it being for a reason that does little for me (did I mention, by the way, that children are not my favorite class of people?), this time I'll be leaving behind Edward, the most lovable person I know, and the best friend I've ever had.

Today was the day of our weekly volleyball game. I arrived at East Beach at ten minutes before noon, and a half hour later, called Edward's home and cell phones. No answers. At twelve thirty, I was in my car waiting for the red light at the egress of the parking lot, angry at the four-to-eight people none of whom had shown up, and thinking how unhappy I'd be if I didn't see him this weekend, when he called me. I told him that there was nobody there and I was just leaving. He said he was on his way with a friend, so I told him I'd stay. By the time he arrived, two others had also, and eventually there were six of us; enough for a good game, and two visitors joined us as well. We had a good two hours of play, and as we were walking off the beach, Edward asked if I'd had fun (yes) and apologized for the tardiness, explaining that he'd already voiced his displeasure at the other folks who'd kept him that morning. I gave him a big ol' smile, and he returned it. He can always make me happy, whether I'm full of self-righteous anger, or fuming at stupid customers I'm having to deal with. (For the last two days, he's been privileged to hear me swearing at the incompetence of these people as I continue working around their mistakes, and making my boss afraid to come into our office.)

Thankfully, the day turned out well. And our tentative geocaching plan for tomorrow may still happen. Edward is such a beautiful person, with a heart big enough to reach me while I'll be three thousand miles away. I wish everyone could have a friend like him. Edward, my dear love, I'm going to miss you.

Hopefully a visit with Mitzi will help. Got the cookies ready?