I cannot believe that I am doing this. It seems like such a 12-year-old girl thing to do – Dear Diary – Today I met a new boy!!! He’s so cuuuute!!. But in these days of the pandemic, with me working at home, I need someone to talk to, even if it is only me, and it only involves written, not spoken words.
My ex-wife Marianne would laugh at me for this. She used to say that I wasn’t “in touch with my feelings.” We used to fight about that. She would accuse. I would deny. The ‘big fight’ that ultimately ended in our final break-up began with her telling me that very thing. And me denying it completely, and telling her I was not a ‘touchy-feely kind of guy. I was just a regular man.
So here I am in 2022, writing in a diary. So what do I say, “Hi Fred. My name is Fred. And I am feeling lonely.” There I said it. What is supposed to happen? What do I do now?
Later that Same Day
I found what I was looking for. The local paper still has an old-fashioned ‘personal’ section of the paper, in which you can advertise your availability through posting a short description of yourself. You are not allowed to post your name. This, I believe, is a good thing, as I live in a small town. I can imagine my co-workers giving me a hard time in our weekly zoom meetings, making fun of what I wrote. I certainly do not want anything like that to happen.
A rule of the personal page is that you just post a number to identify yourself. Mine would probably be 77, after the year of my birth.
Later that Same Day
This is what wrote for the personal column in the paper. I hope that you approve. I know that you will not mock me.
To Whom It Might Interest
I am a 45-year-old man. I’ve lived in this town all my life, except for a few too brief vacations. I’ve had the same job since I graduated from college. I was married, but am now divorced. That is the boring part of me, especially with my beginning four sentences in a row with the word “I”. The most interesting aspect to my life now is that I have recently started to write a diary, not something that I have ever done before. It is the most interesting part as it has begun to teach me a lot about my emotions. It enabled me to admit that I was lonely, that I needed someone in my life. I have to say that, before writing the diary, I was far from being in touch with my feelings.
If you respond to this mini-biography, we can go to what used to be my favourite bar, a place I haven’t gone to in years. I did not want to go there alone. That is all I have to say right now. Hope to hear from you.
Well, tonight is the night. I know that it might have been better to not build up my hopes. But I know myself well enough to know that that would not be possible. I can’t block excitement. That is just the way that I am. I don’t know whether I had ever realized that before.
I was only a toddler of two when Rupert Holmes released his hit song, “Escape”, more popularly known as the Piña Colada Song. My parents loved the song, so I heard it a lot, and could a part of it. It is about a guy who reads in the personal column a piece written by a woman who, among other things, loves piña colada. He is getting tired of his ‘old lady’ of several years, so he responds to it, agreeing to meet her as ‘a bar called O’Malley’s. He recognizes her as soon as she walks in. As she does him when she casts her eyes his way. She is his ‘old lady’
That was my experience last night. When I walked into O’Toole’s, I looked for someone holding up a card with 81 written on it. After spotting it and staring at the woman for about 10 whole seconds, I realize that the person was Marianne, my ex-wife. She on her part looked at me with my card with 77 written on it, and said with a smile, “Fred, it’s you.” She stood up and we moved carefully but quickly to each other, and gave each other a big hug, not something we did a lot when we were married.
When we came back to my place shortly after O’Toole’s closed, I showed her you, Dear Diary, and I gave and received the second big hug of the night.
John Steckley is a retired college professor. He taught Sociology, Physical Anthropology. and Indigenous Studies and wrote the textbooks for all three courses. His primary area of research is the language, culture and history of the Wendat/Wyandot people. Since retiring in 2015 he has started writing short stories, some of them about his three-year-old granddaughter.