Tuesday, August 22, 2023

To Victoria

 Saturday was a recovery day. The party and all the preparation had exhausted me.

Steve and I took Sheba for a walk around 9:30 and then we went to the Farmers’ Market and loved it. It was fun to be with Steve because everything interested him. He bought some gorgous socks from a weaver and a bouquet of Sweet Peas.

Then we took off for Silva Bay to have fish tacos from the Firetruck Grill. No one was there, so it was lovely to be there in total quiet. I usually go on Sundays when there is a craft market and music, and it is always very busy.

We came home to chill and for me to do some watering. It was a mild day, but there was forest fire smoke making the sunlight dim and yellow. At 4:00, our neighbourhood potluck party happened. I did not want to go, but Steve did, so we went, and I must say that I’m glad that I did go. It was fun seeing so many neighbours that I knew, and Steve had a ball because, well, because it was a party and he loved parties.

Then we watched a movie before bed, and I slept like a rock.

Sunday began with a big watering of the gardens and a quick cleaning and tidying of the house before we left for Victoria. I wanted to come home to order, not chaos. Although I will miss Steve terribly, I will be happy to be eating far less and back in control of my agenda. It was a very busy week. It was go, go, go every day. I loved it, but I was baked.

We left the house at 9:30 to catch the ferry to Nanaimo and drove under clear but smokey skies to Victoria where we were meeting up with Don and Fernando whom we both have known for decades. They have built themselves a spectacular and unique home that is ideally suited for overnight guests. We are all very good friends. We were together from 1:00 in the afternoon, until bedtime at 10:00. And again, at breakfast.

As I recall out time together, I am tearing up. I felt so loved by everyone in that room. We’ve known each other since the 80s and been very good friends. My hugs were so sincere and meaningful. 

All my life, my friends have been my family. I think about Doug and Marilyn Downey many times every year. They are my origin story. With them, I felt wanted and appreciated. They were my antidote to the Tyrells. We were put into different academic streams in grade seven, and it was like a caste system. I never spent time with them again.

I couldn’t replace them. All that was available was “dating” new friends as sex became part of social selection. I found friendship with young women. When I met Dwight in the late 60s or early 90s, I had all I had with Doug and more. Both Doug and Dwight have given me the gift of brotherhood. What I feel for them is what I would expect to feel for a brother.

When I came out, a peer in the theatre business seduced me. I had a brief relationship with him. It was my fault it failed. I lost all desire for him. I met Steve in 1980.


We broke up at a party. I arrived late, and it took me forever to find him at the party. It was a large party of the Vancouver Film Festival, and I suspected he might be somewhere private with someone—you know, private with someone, doing things people like to do in private. When I finally found him, I said something about not wanting to be at the party, and he replied, “Good. Go home.” The next morning, we ended our relationship of 14 years.

He's a party guy. We went out to our favourite restaurant one night. To me, that is a party, the server is part of the party as, sometimes, are other diners. It’s a performance. The clothes are carefully chosen and mildly flamboyant, he explains all his choices to the server. He loves attention. Sometimes I feel like I’m participating in an experiential theatre piece for an audience of one. Me. The server plays herself.

It's weird. It’s psychological when you add alcohol. He was mildly this way when I met him. He’s almost a performance artist: STEVE, part Noel Coward and very gay. I loved the offstage Steve, and still do. Performance Steve sometimes embarrasses or disappoints me, but offstage Steve is a true brother and I love him. I always will We’ve been great friends since we broke up.

Besides the meal, we had our party here, for ten guests. He changed his outfit half-way through the evening, and served absinthe, poured into a glass through a burning sugar cube after dinner. I’ve given Steve the performer a name (like a drag queen’s name). It’s Dick Innuendo, because he takes many opportunities to put a sexual twist on things said or words used.

People like him, I think, because he is such a party guy. He is high-energy and positive. He is every party’s cruise director. He want’s everyone to have a good time. Over the past six years, he’s come to visit for at least 5 days. His visit is deeply felt. When I came home and saw the wildflowers he’d assembled in a vase, I lost it. Last night I called Dwight and urged him to cycle onto the ferry and to Pinecone Park.

Driving down to Victoria, over the Malahat highway that goes high up over a mountain, it’s really, really beautiful and dramatic. In other places there are hugely romantic views of fields of hay, green vegetables and corn. Steve spent a fair bit of time looking at his phone. I don’t think he mentioned the landscape.

I am so, so extraordinarily glad that he is in my life.

I finally got something from Bronwyn, the woman I’ve been talking with about being the gardener for Pinecone Park. She sent me a proposal to add mulch, manure, and plants. I replied:

I’d like to talk about additions, as part of a plan such as this one: 

1.     Clean, cull, move established plants to appropriate places.

2.     Identify and select additional plants.

3.     Discuss watering systems.

4.     Maintenance plan.

I hope that she likes my plan because I like her. She’s not a good business woman based on my experience so far.

While Steve was here, I ate the way I used to. I had full meals, ate a White Spot burger, and three full means one day, and lots of sweets. I’m glad I did it because I want to throw it all up. The best thing about coming home was seeing my cats, but then came being back in control of what I eat. I really like my new approach to food.

Next, I start rehearsing and I must do a fair bit of watering. 

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