Finding Home, Step by Step
We stayed on Out of Step Island all night. The air grew cold and the breeze grew colder, but Meg and I just huddled together and talked. We talked about our lives, and our futures, and our dreams. We talked about fears and sad moments. We talked about loneliness and regret. We talked about moments of joy so powerful you feel that you could grab the whole universe in a giant hug.
I don’t think I’ve ever really talked with someone like that before. Journalism tends to attract strange people — people who want to see what’s going on everywhere and tell the world everything, but who don’t know how to bridge that gulf between people. It’s easy being an interviewer talking to an interviewee. It’s a lot harder and more confusing sharing secret thoughts with a friend.
I couldn’t talk that way with Eliza. To me, Eliza was a goal, like getting an interview with the President or winning a Pulitzer. But my musings during Meeting and every day since then have shown me that I never really got to know her. Not the way I’m getting to know Meg.
Funny thing about a relationship. Just looking at the other person and drooling isn’t enough. You have to listen, and open up, and make yourself vulnerable as hell. It’s painful in a strangely wonderful way.
You also learn things that have been staring you in the face all along. I learned that Meg is far more attractive than she seems at first. I know it’s funny to say that, but it’s true. There’s a peace and a charm and a depth to her that emerges only after the viewer grows up a little bit. I also learned that Meg has plans to succeed her father as president of GSI, which could make the future pretty interesting.
In addition, I learned that Meg has been paying attention to me far more closely than I had ever thought. At one point, in the depth of the night, I got to wondering how she knew so much about Eliza and the situation in The Village. I mean, she says she had never been there until the referendum. So I asked her, and she hit me with a big, sturdy chunk of The Obvious.
“I’m Gemstone, silly,” she said with her wicked grin. “You never figured that out? Gem is Meg spelled backward.”
In my own defense, I have pointed out several times in this blog that I’m an idiot. Now I’m going to have to read all my back blog entries to see what she wrote to me. I’m sure it will take on a whole new set of meanings. I’m also going to enjoy finding out just how interesting and crafty Meg can be.
When we returned to Town, I scurried off to file my column — way the hell late, I know, but Kate the Great Fisher had no way to reach me on Out of Step Island — and then I went back to The Stump to write this one. I took a long nap first, though, and then I cracked open a warm beer and sat on the hood of the Island Car, trying to think of something to write.
I wasn’t sure what I would say. Would this column be about Meg? About the Nation of Grand Seal Island? About the rapidly impending end of a wild and bizarre summer?
I still don’t know. I’m just writing.
The Referendum Rally ended quietly. The Village People all headed south shortly after they realized that Archie was going to talk all night long. We all anticipate a lot of wrangling with Washington and Ottawa, probably with more visits by rusting warships and obese veterans, but I think Henry’s ready to stand his ground, and I doubt that either Superpower wants to push this issue to bloodshed. I suspect that the great nation of Grand Seal Island will simply be allowed to exist on its own, out of the way and out of mind. That’s the way this island has existed for decades, and our newfound status as a walk-on player on the world stage won’t really alter things that much.
So in some ways, the world is back the way it should be, with the Townspeople doing Town Things up north, and the Villagepeople doing Village Things down south. And me — I’m stuck in the middle for one more night. I’ve done a lot of thinking, and I’ve talked a lot of things through with Meg. I never knew it before, but I do my best thinking when I’m talking with someone who cares.
I climbed down from the Island Car and poked inside The Stump. Small chunks of rotting wood filtered down through the damp air as I fished out my CD player and popped in some fresh batteries. I fired up my Garrett Jones CD — the “Blue Dog Diner” — and I sang along with the lyrics until I fell asleep on the bed.
Tomorrow, I’ll write my last blog entry for The Sun.
— Donovan Graham, “The Shadowless Writer”
Comment — Gemstone: Evidently, Sherlock Holmes has nothing to fear. ; )
Comment — SunTanDude: Van, man. Even I knew that was Meg. Where was your head, man?
Comment — BobbyBoy886314: Your last blog entry? We’re going to miss you, Van.
Read previous blog entries in the Island Wars story by clicking here.