C & I have been together for a year! Holy mackerel! Didn't see it coming, I tell ya. Maybe it's time to take a break from the sailboat saga and delve into a little background: A year ago I was living in a big gay rambling farmhouse in upstate New York. C was living in Rockaway, surfing his life away, and working as a farmer for Queens Farm. I visited his farm, he visited mine... nothin like vegetables to get the old wok hot, ya know what I mean?
So vividly can I remember him visiting the farmhouse for the first time. I'd been out in the dirt moving rocks and I was downright filthy. He rolled up the country road in his little pickup truck. He'd come straight from the city and was downright filthy. No shoes, no shirt, just a pair of lime green swim trucks, a crate overflowing with vegetables, and a twinkle in his eye big enough to reroute a satellite. Also Rosario Dawson was at the house for the weekend (No big deal, only my image of envy/perfection along with maybe Penelope Cruz, who both have the legs/skin/hair/lips I'll never attain in a zillion reincarnations). Her mom, Isabel, is old friends with my housemate. Isabel is this thunderous matriarch, and I was wary of how she would take to C barging in on her dinner preparations. Little did I know C has this trick up his sleeve called fried green tomatoes, which softens the hearts of lions, tigers, bears, and women. Later that balmy night we had a bursting summer feast; tables set elbow to elbow with friends, neighbors, and guests. He charmed the seeds right out of the sunflowers. Afterwards we stayed up til the wee hours chattering excitedly about big dreams and big futures, within which he dropped the boat dream on me. It went something like, "Can't wait to have a farm... yaddah yaddah family... blah blah blah vegetables... but FIRST, I WANT TO BUY A BOAT AND SAIL AWAY WITH MY LOVER ON A GREAT BIG ADVENTURE." And I couldn't reply because I was busy scooping the starry-eyed putty that was my heart back into my body cavity.
Anyway that's how it all started. He's a dreamer and I'm a hooker. No! He's a hooker and I'm a sinker. No? You know what I mean. So who are we?
C (written by K): Fun maker. Early riser. General jump up and doer. Vegetable whisperer, earth harvester, and composter. Wave rider and Ocean jumper inner. Waterfall cowabunga-er. Maximum snacker and smoothie master. Garbage picker upper. Traffic hater and pollution detester. Joke maker. Smirk smiler. Romantic doer. Blue eyed twinkler. You Tube tutorial watcher. Boat book highlighter. Frustrated glasses wearer. Unabashed road rasher (he's got a scar collection that looks like a polynesian archipelago). Essentially he's an action-packed funhouse of adrenaline, snacks, and colorful shorts that came out of Zach Morris' closet. Or he's taking a nap. Living with him ensures that I never sleep past 8, take plenty of ice cream breaks, and always, always, pause to salute the sunset.
We'll be cooking and he's got say, a lemon, in his hand. He'll turn his twinkle eyes on me and toss the lemon behind his back and over his shoulder. The idea is that the lemon lands in his outstretched palm, but he never looks in order to catch it because he's too preoccupied grinning that smirky smile that says, "I've got charm on tap and you're crazy about me," meanwhile the lemon is going every possible direction, getting it's brains bashed out on the floor while I laugh and he grins like Willy Wonka with a gobstopper in his pocket. That's C.
K (written by C): Yes, this fairy of the miniature, mistress of the mural, does exist. She is flesh and bone, and when you prick her she bleeds (not that I go around jabbing her with needles all day). She comes to life everyday with a series of wriggles and coos, then methodically makes her way to a hot cup of tea as black as coffee. Her best mornings are spent purging bound up thoughts, worries, passions, wild ideas, and restless emotions in either her handmade journal or her weathered yellow sketch book. After breaky her creative energies begin to flow into one of several directions. Most often she's off to the locket laboratory, where she shrinks down and enters through a little mouse door. A combination of paint fumes, podcasts, and nips from sneaky stashed elixirs keeps her in a psyco-smellic haze; while her tiny brush mixes tiny paint to create tiny worlds into tiny orbs of joy (or just commemorating people's dead pets). Other days you might find her painting big letters on the sides of buildings, so that even the most unaware, phone-absorbed New Yorker can find their way to a hot plate of artisanal Mac & Cheeze.
Every now and then the stars align and our free days coincide, in which case we ply the mighty waters of New York Harbor, readying our skills and taming her sea sickness for the Le Grand Voyage. Hard to believe that one year ago I reunited with this tree lovin, nose scrunchin, sauce makin, speed readin, skinny dippin, accent weavin, wander/wonder lustin, fungus findin, real photo takin, urban loathin, cuddle monsterin, and overall seamstress of the silly. Her eyes are Big, and they consume the world around her like a wetland absorbs a river, endlessly filtering the beauty and contamination of life until it reaches her hands, and all those droplets of inspiration pour through her fingertips and onto the canvas. Miss K's the biggest, brightest, most beautifullest little gal I've ever met, and I can't get enough of her. At this point, if you're not barfing from all that sappy mush, you're probably asking yourself: How did this schmuck get so lucky? ...... And I really don't know?
So how did we get here? That's what I want to know when I meet people making unusual life choices. I certainly didn't plan on arriving here.
Me, I grew up in the misty grey pillow of the Pacific Northwest, nursed on drizzle and swaddled in flannel. Land of tall cedars and vitamin D deficiency. Over achieving art geek fighting for early independence. C was raised by wolves in the Midwest, and came up bareback riding deer, getting grease under his fingernails and trekking the territory of questionable mind-altering substances, adrenaline rushes, and Grandma Shirley's game dinners. I found art school. He found outdoor ecology.
C, little newbie that he was, pioneered over to the PNW to Lopez Island and learned how to crew on a sailboat up to Alaska, where he conquered glaciers and put some hair on his chest. Fell in love with the ocean and all that. Later hopped east to farm in the Hudson Valley and hock vegetables in the city. C moved to Rockaway a couple days before hurricane Sandy and rode out the storm in a wetsuit on the second floor of a flooding house prepared to be swept away. In the aftermath co-founded an arts-n-survival-skills program with a few other magical unicorn humans teaching kids about food, shelter, crafts and yahoo. Surfed his arms off, farmed around, and lent me books one day at a fateful backyard barbecue (Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, and The Good Life, if you're curious (nerd-city)).
Nigh on 11 years ago I moved to NYC, little newbie that I was, and blitzed through various jobs putting no hair but plenty of city grit on my chest: Restaurant industry fresh meat doozie brunch shifts, hustling here and there, painting on the side and eventually hired on at Evergreene Studios. Lovingly opinionated Russians driving me to tears over poor paint strokes and all that. At the twist of the economy dip changed over to middle school octopus diplomat, juggling the turbulent lives of pre-teens. Always always always painting on the side until signs, murals and miniatures grew to a tipping point of survival. I shirked off the city for the Catskills a couple years ago until I ended up at a fateful backyard barbecue in Rockaway Beach.
Here is what my past self keeps reminding my current self: What you expect to happen doesn't happen! Every future horizon I peered out upon never came to be what I anticipated. All that frenzied imagining of delights or anxiety of potential threats! (I'm going to be famous! I'm going to have to work in a cubicle! When I move to Italy my hair will get thicker! When I move upstate I'll die alone with cats!)
What actually did come to pass was always more complicated, and always more interesting. Last time I looked at my future I thought I'd be buying a tiny house in upstate New York and scouting out a sperm donor. Now I'm living on a sea creature with an ocean-eyed adventurer preparing for the arms of the Atlantic.