Galveston, Texas: On Doing Things for the Last Time

STUFFEDANIMALSsingingtowers

When do we do things for the last time? I remember a box of stuffed animals in my parents’ garage–until one time I dropped by the house and noticed the box was gone. “I gave them to the Good Will,” my mother said. “Some little child will enjoy them.” I was in college, old enough to know I shouldn’t feel sentimental about a box of stuffed animals.

Girls can keep their stuffed animals, even display them on their beds, but boys can’t. We want a man to love his wife and children, but not the stuffed animals he left behind. At least we hope he left them behind–I include myself in that, because I, too, am a product of the sex roles I grew up with. If you showed me a twenty-year-old who still slept with his teddy bear, I’d say there’s a guy who needs a gentle prod into manhood. But if I walked into a young woman’s bedroom and saw a teddy bear on her bed, I wouldn’t think anything of it other than perhaps to mentally spin off into visions of sexy young men vying to replace that teddy bear. (I’m very adept at envisioning sexy young men.)

Would the Good Will even accept used stuffed animals? Maybe my mom gave them to the trash men but thought, wisely, that a lie would be better for her twenty-year-old son who had, so far, not shown himself to be a tower of strength or emotional stability.

The day I discovered the box missing, I remember asking myself when I had last played with my stuffed animals. When did I last hold and talk to one of them as though it had life? When did I lay it down without realizing I would never pick it up again?

Photo above of Colin, who blogs Singing Towers.

OFFATSBAYOUwikimapia.org2

On a weekend spent at my sister’s apartment on Offatts Bayou in Galveston, Texas, my ex-wife and I made love for the last time of our six-year marriage. A Saturday morning. Thunder and lightening woke us, and then rain clattered on the roof and sang throw the drain pipes that ran down the sides of the building. We got out of bed and went to the window to watch the downpour, before we got back into bed for sex.

How could we do something so significant as to make love for the last time and not realize we were doing it? After having done it for eight years–“young years,” when eight of them amounted to a third of our conscious lifetimes.

By that weekend in Galveston we were at a stage in our marriage where I was actively and openly bisexual, while my wife patiently stood by. How much more easily could we have undone our marriage had we not been soul mates.

My family  isn’t from Texas, but my older sister lived in Galveston for 18 years. She married the man who lived downstairs from her Offatts Bayou apartment. One of our younger sisters met her husband on the beach in Galveston while staying at that Offatts Bayou apartment. I find it strange that three significant family events happened in an apartment where our older sister lived for only a few years, 1700 miles from our family home in California.

I use the Offatts Bayou apartment as a location in my novel-in-progress, set in Galveston. In the book I re-live waking to the Saturday morning thunderstorm and making love, only my fictional couple are in an Airstream trailer on the west end of the island, where my sister owned a lot during those years, and they aren’t yet engaged.

 

The photo of Offatts Bayou, middle above, by Kelly B. Walker is from Wikimapia.org.

 

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