An Ode to Ferdinand...
Wherever You Are
My companion's son Ferdinand, together with my companion and I were walking down the street shortly after I had met Ferdinand for the first time. It's a perfect memory. We were the three of us walking together abreast down the block in front of the co-op building where my companion, my two children and I lived. Street on one side, elementary school and playground beyond the street; us on the sidewalk tripping along like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz just before she met her third companion. On the other side there was a narrow grassy strip with small spindly trees, then the co-op complex.
Ferdinand said, "So this is your world" to both his Father and I. He said it like he was part of a screen set. Not as one of the characters in the production but more like a member of the audience and beyond that, like one that's been baffled throughout a performance art piece and finally starts getting "it".
It was those words that brought to my mind the Dorothy slash Oz vision.
It has ended up so far, that Ferdinand doesn't like my world, or his Father's for that matter either, since his Father shares my world and I his, but the crux here is my world, or so I've been told.
Both his Father and I regret that.
Processes always take awhile and the end, or this end with Ferdinand, was no exception. There was a while between our first meeting and the end, which I was told I was a part of; but I saw no real action at the end; saw no blood, saw no suffering children, so my part was intellectual.
We had made decision to live aboard. Ferdinand had come for Sunday supper regularly for several months until, because we moved aboard, we moved to another location in the City.
After our move Ferdinand only came for Sunday supper once. It was a very special occasion. There was contact between Ferdinand and I despite no Sunday suppers, but it would be a ride in the car after I had been picked up from work for purposes of taking care of business. He had had lunch with his Dad and was being driven home. That kind of stuff. Not Sunday supper. I would enter the car full of work and tired and the odd one out and we would chat my companion, Ferdinand and I about my work or the music on the radio or business and then Ferdinand would be dropped off. My sincere "How's it going?" or "What cha been up to?" would always be answered with a simple "Fine" or gobble de goop.
"What cha been up to?" I'd ask.
And the reply could be "What cha been up to. ..Boo Boo Bee Doop. Hickity, hickity, hickity, loop."
I had no come back for that.
Sometimes I'd get annoyed and speak sharply to Ferdinand asking him how I was supposed to respond and he'd laugh. I don't know if he was laughing at my bafflement or his secret joke or simply just laughing or I'd just go with the flow, be the odd one out or bitch about work or simply stare out the window of the car until Ferdinand was dropped off.
"See ya next time."
"Time. Slime. Grime. Chime. "
It had been better when he came for Sunday Supper. We'd talk about family and what we'd all been doing, Ferdinand, my two daughters, my companion and I. We'd sometimes watch TV together and there were dishes to do and plates to clear and such things to fill in the quieter moments.
The Last Supper with Ferdinand was with his half-sister Fantasy. They had both came for supper on the boat just before Fantasy was flying out of the country for a year. It was close to Christmas but not there yet. I may have felt an urge to put on a Christmas CD but resisted it. It was a nice supper. I believe my companion felt bad because the roast was overcooked. I didn't cook it. He did.
Fantasy washed the dishes afterwards and we sat in the salon and talked for a time. There was an occasion when Ferdinand and Fantasy went out on to the back deck to have a bit of privacy. One wonders what they were scheming?
During our after dinner talking Ferdinand was waxing about his girlfriend. He was not waxing poetic. He diminished her. I was embarrassed and tried to say what needed to be said without making a scene.
I didn't have time to provide lessons.
All in all, it was a good supper and it was nice to see Fantasy and Ferdinand even if the roast was overcooked.
I hate to loose people but I seem to misplace them all the time. They die or life circumstances change and...
They're awfully hard to find once they've disappeared like that. Oh, you can phone them up or write them a letter ~ sometimes ~ but that doesn't make them found.
I've lost people when we've been living in the same house.
I hate it.
The next day after our supper with Ferdinand and Fantasy, while I was at work, my companion received a telephone call from his son. Ferdinand was in trouble.
"Big trouble!", he explained to my companion and my companion relayed to me after .
My companion went rushing out to help his son and while he was trying to help they had an argument. My companion told me they were driving along in the car and Ferdinand said something very unflattering about me. My companion told me he jammed on the brakes and ordered his son out of the car right then and there.
They have not seen each other since.
Ferdinand telephoned my companion a few months ago. The telephone call did not make my companion feel any better.
His regrets did not diminish and neither did mine.
The telephone call did not go well. Ferdinand spent most of the call telling my companion what was wrong with me and the rest of the conversation telling my companion what was wrong with him.
We have a lot wrong with us, my companion and I.
I have been in similar circumstances I think, to the place where Ferdinand found himself telling his Dad what was wrong with me and what was wrong with his Dad, trying harder than I knew I could control, but I tried anyway and I got better.
Ferdinand was reckless with his Father and I. He tried harder than he knew he could control.
It changed his life.
His life could change again.
I have been in similar circumstances, I think, to the place where Ferdinand found himself telling his Dad what was wrong with me and what was wrong with his Dad, and I don't hold it against him for trying.
Trying is a good thing!
Ferdinand should know these things, and so I write this story .
I'd tell Ferdinand, but he's lost.
I seem to have misplaced him.