Sunday, September 9, 2012

Someone Saved My Life Last Night

Last week just wasn't my week.

Without going into too much detail or listing the reasons why it sucked big time ("massive migraine that lasted for days" wouldn't even be near the top of it!), I'll simply say that it was possibly the worst week of 2012 so far and leave it at that. Ironically, it also happened to be the week of a major win: I haven't had a drop of nasal decongestant since last Saturday night. But who cares about beating life-long addictions when everything else seems to be falling apart?

Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. Bad weeks are an occupational hazard. When you're a writer, you learn to take your punches and quietly lick your wounds. You have to develop thick skin (which I always seem to be shedding), and when you're writing a book, it needs to be several layers of impenetrable. This week it seems everyone's been wondering how my book's coming along (I've finished it -- thanks for asking), completely unaware that writing it is far from the greatest challenge.

Trying to find a publisher for a book -- especially one based on the expat recollections of a gay, black man, not exactly the main character that leaves bottom line-minded editors envisioning dollar signs, despite the hot-topic status of both homosexuality and Barack Obama -- can be the professional equivalent of Sisyphus pushing that rock up up up the hill and then watching it slide down down down. My life has become a Greek myth, without the randy gods and goddesses. Where's that hottie Apollo when you need him?!

I know that it's supposed to be all about the process, the journey, but in some ways, this one has been kind of tortuous, especially on my psyche. I've gone from being a relatively well-adjusted person with high self-esteem to one whose self-confidence is flagging to all-time lows. Be careful what you say to me. Chances are I'll take it personally.

The other day, the cashiers at my local Bangkok supermarket happened to break into riotous laughter just as I plopped my purchases down on the counter. I was certain my fly was open, or maybe it was my piteous attempt at saying hello in Thai. It never even crossed my mind that it might have absolutely nothing to do with me.

"Sa-wa-dee-krab." I whispered it because I was pretty certain I was saying it wrong. By the time I'd paid for everything, I was so distracted by the snickering, convinced that it was all at my expense, that I flounced off without so much as a "Khob kuhn krab" (thank you), or whatever.

Then last night, as I was smarting from my latest perceived snubbing, wondering what it would take to boost my spirits and return my confidence to somewhere around normal, I imagined the impossible.

Who says miracles don't happen? Within minutes, my faith in the impossible was restored by an email. It was from the person I least expected to hear from last night but most wanted to. If I could have picked anyone in the world to reach out to me last night, it would have been him. It was actually the message I'd wished for when I blew out the candles on my birthday cake this year. Better four months and one day late than never.

His timing was impeccable -- or maybe it was mine. He actually sent the message on Friday via Facebook, but I didn't notice it until Saturday night, just as my blues had begun blaring with near-overwhelming intensity. He wanted to say that he's been thinking about me. He misses me and hopes everything is okay. Of course, he asked about the book. For once, I didn't mind the question.

His kind words and perfect timing not only made my night, but they actually got me looking forward to what the next seven days might bring. Not such a bad ending to the worst week of the year.

"Someone Saved My Life Tonight" Elton John

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