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.