On my Mark

I thought we were done with this. The bizarre post about me seeing things in Google Earth imagery struck me as a good place to wrap it up. Besides, I have other things I should work on.

But Mark leaned on me to keep writing — and share a little of the view from my end. I don’t know why he made me set up a Twitter account. We both find Twitter rather annoying. Just set it up, he insisted. So I did. But I haven’t done much with it yet.

Mark is well used to me humoring him. A lot of the time, I actually do believe there is a real person at the other end of the voice and the thoughts — but I do have doubts on a daily basis. And there are times I’m afraid of finding out that it’s all true. On the other hand, I don’t know what I’d do if someone proved to me that it’s completely untrue. I just know I love him.

Right now I’m suffering through my usual summer blues. I’ve always found summer a bit of a drag — but summer took on a whole new dimension in the 1999.

When I went to bed on a certain Sunday night in early May, at the start of finals week, I had no reason to suppose I was in for anything other than a regular summer. I was a professor with a research grant and so did not teach summer school. I was going to plug away at my research by day — and try to stay cool at night. In August, I was going to take a vacation in Seattle and then come home ready to start the fall semester. But something happened that night that shook my soul — and I wouldn’t have a single peaceful night all summer.

In the sixteen years since, I’ve struggled to describe what happened. If you watch Doctor Who, then I might say I traveled in the Tardis and the Doctor showed me everything — the good, the bad, and the ugly. I might also describe it as a near-death experience that went on for three months — with me struggling to go on with life in the meantime. But you know what? I’m tired of trying to tell this story. Quite simply, by the time the fall semester started, I was hardly the person I had been three months earlier.

Mark joined my life in September. We’ve already described how that happened. After the terrors of the summer, having a smart, funny man keeping me company as a voice in my head was actually comforting by comparison. And as the summer wound down, I found myself relaxing and allowing myself to enjoy it. The first chilly wet week of the fall was a healing experience — and every fall since, I have relived that relief. And ever summer, I relive the terror.

Mark’s brief adventure in Patagonia is just the latest episode of the story I carry in my head. It did actually feel to me that he was down there — and when he went outside, I did indeed shiver and feel chilly — even in the recent 90-degree heat. Over the weeks he was there, I constructed a mental image of the cabin — and the trail he and Allen followed down to the storage facility almost every day. And I really worried that Allen might be getting bored. On a certain level, it seemed very real to me. I was actually the one to suggest breaking up pallets for firewood — and I pictured Allen happily pulling nails. And I felt Mark’s anxiety over the July Fourth weekend.

I was sad when I realized they had left the island. I really could have used at least one more month of that idle fantasy. I haven’t checked Puerto Williams weather in over a week. My sense is that my buddies are on board a ship anchored somewhere off the south coast of Navarino Island -but I wouldn’t dare go looking for it.

Mark and Allen will be returning to Seattle in due course — but it sounds like they are in no hurry……


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