Getting to Know Her

We spent a long time learning about each other, Cynthia and I. We had intimate dinners, sipping red wine and listening to music. We went for walks when the sun was warm and played card games inside when it rained. She liked to watch the animals and birds that made their playgrounds on the creek that ran at the side of her property. I liked to watch her.

Cynthia devoured books and loved the combat of political discussions. She was a true feminist, believing that women were equal, not superior. This in turn gave me security in our budding relationship.

My passion was my boat and our cruises and fishing trips renewed her love of water, long forgotten after she had left the Sunshine Coast for the Interior. The imposed intimacy of the confined quarters on the boat displayed how much our differences and similarities were a cement rather than an erosion to the relationship. We laughed about our faults, smiled about our strengths.

Cynthia always had dogs, which she spoiled as much as she spoiled me. They often shared the confined space of the boat and sometimes the last piece of home made pie that Cynthia had made for me.

Time passed and we learned to like each other more and more, and depend on each other for things that we had been accustomed to doing ourselves. We made plans for the future. Since we were both well past 39 we knew we didn't have half a century together but we hoped for a few years.

When we met, we lived in different towns; I lived in Quesnel, she in Prince George. On the occasions that we weren't dining or walking or laughing together, we e-mailed each other. I knew nothing about her job although she knew lots about mine. On one occasion, she sent me this letter.

"I enjoy my job. I think I'm doing something useful, though many would disagree. It is stressful at times - am I going to be able to make payroll, pay my creditors, pay royalties to the authors? Why is this dumb shit threatening to sue me? Authors often think that publishers are not declaring all sales and are holding back on royalty payments. For me, though, nothing beats handing an author the first copy of their new book and watching them coo as if it were their first-born. I've seen sixty-year-old backwoodsmen get teary-eyed. Also, I get to have an impact on how this part of the country is perceived by others and how its history is remembered. BC is more than an extension of the southern coast and we are different up here. So I am passionate about what I do; a good thing as it doesn't pay. But then again I've been lucky or smart or both because I have enough resources, education and talent that if Caitlin Press goes under, I won't."

I was ready to join in her passion as she was ready to join me in mine. We just didn't have enough time.