There is no way to prepare for this evening.
It is an evening for Dan.
I will be there to represent you Dan. I will be so proud as I always have been since that very first show I attended- do you remember it? It was July 3rd, 1999 at CB’s Gallery. Alisa met me at Port Authority in front of the Hudson News stand downstairs and she and I took the subway down to Bleeker and Bowery. I remember she had a little subway map in her wallet because she was a relatively new New Yorker living in Queens.
I still remember exactly what it felt like and looked like as I walked in- it was as if it was in slow motion. I walked down the little dark aisle in front of the bar and then there you were…I saw you playing- we were a bit late. I recognized something in your face…we’d only met once at this point about a month before and I’d forgotten exactly what you looked like. But I remember being so surprised…what is it about his face that I recognize? Something much deeper than the fact that I’d met him a month before. Something else.
Alisa and I sat at a small table by the wall. After you finished, I remember you going to talk to a group of your friends and then seeing me, “You came…” you said. And you gave me a hug which surprised me. I could tell already that you had a big fan base, but you still made me feel special for coming.
Then a big group of us- Alisa and I, and your college friends, went to a little cafe around the corner. You ordered Boston Cheesecake – I think you said because you liked Boston you’d get that which I found cute. “I like Boston- I think I’ll get the Boston cheesecake!” You offered us some…so polite. Alisa and I shared an iced cappucino or iced coffee. When we left, I remember Alisa went to the bathroom downstairs and your group of friends had started walking down the street, “Hey guys, let’s all wait for Alisa,” you said. Then you walked Alisa and I to our subway stop and told us to get to Queens (where I was spending the night with her) safely. I remember feeling bad that you had to carry the cello because it looked so heavy. It is the same cello that sits in the corner of my bedroom right now. There it is.
Alisa’s apartment was hot. I slept in a borrowed pair of her pajama shorts that were too petite for me. We shared a twin bed that night so maybe that was part of the reason…but I couldn’t sleep at all. For maybe the first time, I wasn’t trying to conjure up some romantic feeling for a cute guy- but instead something had grabbed hold of me. I was surprised by it. Why was it keeping me up?
The next morning we attended the same church that you did and there you were running around playing with all the little kids. I thought it was cute. Then we all went out for Thai food. I didn’t get to sit at your table and thought the people I sat with were boring. I remember making small talk but being frustrated that you were at the other table. We shook hands goodbye. It was the beginning of an eleven year romance- that goes on even now.
Did God know then? Was he happy to see his daughter- me – falling in love with this brilliant and kind man? Was he sad because he already knew what was going to happen? Christians are always saying things that give God those kinds of human emotions- “God is sad too,” they tell me. But I’m thinking emotions come in certain time brackets for humans. What would a being feel if he was all-knowing and could see past, present and future at the same time? I don’t think it would be happiness or sadness- but fullness…a fullness we have never known.