Hold My Hand
Gabriel was a relatively free thinker. He wasn’t one of those gay guys that acts like a girl, and a stupid girl at that. Don’t we have enough stupid girls, Maria sometimes thought, without the gay guys adding to the population? Gabriel was also not on remote control of marriage, mortgage, and kids, hoping that the masses might know what they are doing. He might not have answers but he had questions. Perhaps, that was why he was an artist. He looked for answers in his art.
He mostly worked as a sculptor and so he was used to using his hands. They were interesting hands. Purposeful like a carpenter but soft like a musician. Sometimes, he took hold of Maria’s hand when they walked around Merri Creek which ran through Charlie’s hillside property. As he was generally an affectionate person, it seemed natural enough and neither said anything about it. They just enjoyed it; walking together, next to the creek, listening to the wind, watching the water, calmly talking about life. It made Maria think about the body and the ways we connect with each other through our body.
“Oh, don’t ask me that,” said Charlie when Maria asked her what she thought was the best approach to sexual relationships. “I have had problems in all my relationships.” Maria sensed that Charlie was about to go on a long elaboration of all those problems.
“What does Erdo say?” Maria asked quickly. Charlie turned her attention to Erdo.
“He says that we use sex as a way of trying to complete ourselves because we are so fragmented.”
That doesn’t sound very encouraging, thought Maria.
“He also says that we are drawn to people who have something that we need. By uniting with them, we think that we will be able to gain the coveted thing.”
Oh, that sounds even worse. “Does he say anything good about it?” asked Maria.
“Yes, he does,” said Charlie. “He says that even though our most prized personal bondings are generally selfish and egocentric, they are also our saviour. Through them, we learn to see the essence of ourselves, the other, and life. Our relationships are transformed and so are we. ‘Offer your relationships to God and you will not be disappointed with what is made of them,’ he says.”
Maria pondered that most people simply wanted to use sex for their own purposes, not be used by it for a purpose other than the one they had in mind. Life is tricky. Maybe, it is not so much deceptive as it is wise and kind and knows how to get our attention. That thought satisfied Maria and she felt it was a direction to head towards.
One morning, Maria was walking with Gabriel as they had arranged to meet for coffee while he was in Waldmeer. They decided not to go to Maria’s workplace, Waldmeer Corner Store and Cafe. There was only one other decent cafe in town. As Farkas no longer went to the cafe Maria worked in, he got his coffee from the other cafe and was walking out the door as Gabriel and Maria were walking in.
“Hello, Farkas. You know Gabriel, of course,” said Maria cheerfully. The air was thickening quickly. After a tense hello on both sides, Farkas decided he was not quite finished with the conversation.
“How are things in the city with the boys?” Farkas asked Gabriel with obvious ill intent.
Gabriel raised his eyebrows slightly and spoke in a slow and deliberate voice. “Yeah, good thanks. How ’bout you, Farkas?” said Gabriel pronouncing Farkas as F#ckass instead of Far-kus.
Oh my God, thought Maria. That’s a red flag to a bull. This is getting serious. She looked at both men, neither of whom were paying the slightest bit of attention to her. They were way too interested in insulting the other. Suddenly, it all seemed terribly funny. She couldn’t help but laugh. Both men were surprised and annoyed that she was interrupting them. They looked at her as if to say, Why are you even standing there? And, anyway, you’re really too weird, sometimes. Nevertheless, the tension had been broken.
“I don’t know why I was given such a ridiculous name,” Farkas suddenly said with a smile. “I have enough trouble in life without having to fight every Tom, Dick, and Harry for my dignity.”
Maria took the opportunity to leave her two friends. “I’ll catch you later, Gabriel,” said Maria. When she was half way down the street, she glanced towards them and could see that they were tentatively chatting to each other. Perhaps, not best friends, she thought, but with the respect that is due.