The Birthday Party

My daughter Sarah’s birthday party was going to be a poetry gathering event. On Facebook, all her poetry writer friends and musicians were invited to perform at an open mic. I was the “mom” of these events. I would help her set up and clean up, but most of the food was potluck style. There was generally from 40-50 guests and family members.


My daughters house in Lakewood was fairly small but it had 2 bathrooms and a large deck that expanded to a large yard and driveway area.


I was not expecting Dav Pauli to show up because the last time I saw him was on a 1st Friday event on Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. I was helping my daughter Sarah set up her poetry table in the Expo Arts building. Dav dropped by to view the table. I knew Dav casually from my daughters poetry events. I turned to him and blurted out, “Hi friend.” He looked like he just got caught crashing a private party. He stepped back and muttered, “I..I..need to go listen to my friends band, down the street.” He did a quick swivel on his heels and blended with the crowd who were slowing trickling downstream from us. I looked at my daughter and shrugged. Dav told me later, “ I didn’t know how to handle such a friendly greeting. It took me by surprise.”


When he signed up for the open mike at Sarah’s party, I heard people commenting with affection. “That’s Brave Dav.” He sang two songs which I don’t remember the titles and neither does he, but he said he sang them for me.


I was always flitting about, greeting people and being a gopher of food and drinks. I was going into the kitchen to check on something when I came face to face with Dav. I normally don’t feel comfortable talking with men I don’t know very well, but a little “safe person” detector gave me a green light. We engaged in a two-way conversation that felt natural in it’s flow. All the bodies squeezing by us were unnoticed as we became lost in our private space. We would have gone on much longer until I heard a voice call out my name, “Hi, Annie,” I turned to see the friendly face of Frank Kearns. I thought I would greet him briefly and return to my conversation with Dav. We did the usual, “Hi, how ya been and what’s new.” After I was done engaging with Frank, I turned to get back in the flow with Dav. He was gone.


I shrugged and then loaded my arms with my daughter’s food requests. After I set her food on the table I asked, “Hey, do you know where Dav went”?  


“No, why?”  


“Well, I was talking with him and he just disappeared.”


“Oh, he does that,” she remarked matter-of-factly.


I shrugged again, but couldn’t shake off the feeling of connection I had in our conversation.


Dav and I became friends on Facebook after our encounter at the party. We talked about our likes and dislikes until one day we began to feel more comfortable with going into deeper more intimate exchanges. For a couple of months that continued. I still was not going to give him my phone number or address.


Until, one day he asked me, “say, would you like to go out for some pie and maybe take a little walk after.”


“Sure, I said, I’m free this Tuesday afternoon.”


I had been seeing a therapist for about a year at this time. I had prayed in desperation to be connected with someone who would see my heart. I was surprised when my prayer was answered. I immediately connected heart-to-heart with Kathy and I was finally on the road to healing. I had mentioned to Kathy several times that I was content being single. She would smile.


But, this time when I walked in she had a knowing smile as she said, “I detect a glow on your face.” I giggled. “A friend asked me out for pie and I felt it would be good to have a male friend.”

“Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that.” She winked.


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