The Id and The Odyssey: Episode 123

The Common

Rich was disappointed; he had to work the next Saturday. He wanted to go to New York, because Dennis was having his first book signing there. However, the next weekend he was going to be in Boston and Rich made plans to be there.
Rich rose early Saturday and arrived in Boston before 10:00 AM. Dennis’s signing was from ten till twelve and one until three. It included a ten minute reading every hour.
Dennis looked rather scholarly. His hair laid leisurely on his head like he gave it little attention and it fell into a wonderful crop styled only by nature. His tie was loosened and the top button of his shirt was opened. He wore a light corduroy jacket with elbow patches. They were crumpled enough to look as though he just finished writing the great American novel, a working writer not a golden boy. Two freelance writers interviewed him and snapped some pictures. Dennis at first seemed uncomfortable about the whole situation, but adjusted nicely.
Rich sat in the corner of the reading room at the bookstore. There was a sort of pride he developed over being there with Dennis. He knew Dennis as the writer who struggled and now having an opportunity to show his wares.
Dennis signed the last book and raised his eyebrows at Rich and mouthed, "Let's go."
He thanked the store owner and signed another twenty-five books and Rich and Dennis darted out onto the street.
"Let's take a walk," Dennis said. “I like walking in Boston.”
"Sure," Rich said. "How's it going so far?"
"They book is selling good in New York," Dennis said. "I've gotten a couple of favorable reviews. The readings were attended by about twenty to thirty people at each session and sold about seventy-five books at the signing."
"How's Peggy?" Rich asked.
“She's in New York, but will be back in Maine Wednesday,” Dennis said. “She has to finish some work which will take her to the end of September. She has two galleries in New York that will display her work, one in Chicago and another in San Francisco. She said she's made her last vase. She wants to open up a gallery at home. I hate signings. My publisher sent me to a few so I would get the idea. Some writers seem to like them. I'm a writer not a signer."
"What is ahead for you?" Rich asked.
"I may go to the west coast in mid October. My publisher and agent thinks that will be a good time to hit the coast with a few signings and then do a few in the Midwest on the way back." Dennis took a deep breath. “I don’t want to get my hopes up, but my agent thinks there is some interest in a studio buying the movie rights.”
“Dennis, that will be great!” Rich said. “Man, I am so happy for you.”
"Well so far this has been all about Peg and me, what about you?"
“Don’t be so modest,” Rich said. “Friends are for bragging to and they don’t talk behind your back for doing it.”
“No,” Dennis said, “I’m afraid if I say too much I’ll talk it away. I’ll begin to see and hope things that aren’t there. These things seem to take on a life of there own. So let’s talk about you; that seems more plausible.”
"What about me?" Rich said.
"Have you set a date for you departure?" Dennis said.
"In all likelihood it will be September 1st," Rich said. "That's pretty much etched in stone. All though a few weeks ago I was ready to tell Sam where to go and take off."
Dennis laughed heartily. "Sam told me he was coming down hard on you to try to make you a better writer."
"What!" Rich said.
"He told me he wanted you to write with some passion, not like the noodle heads that come out of college these days," Dennis said.
They strolled for another block talking about the weather and writing. They crossed a street and wandered into a common with freshly cut grass and dotted with maples.
Dennis' tone lowered. "Let's sit for a while," he gestured to a park bench.
They sat and Dennis leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. He looked across the street at a row of apartments shaded by oaks and maples. A soft breeze parted his hair. "What you saw last Summer with Peggy…"
Rich interrupted, "I'm not going to talk about it."
"I'm not asking you to," Dennis said. "All I want to say is thanks for keeping it to yourself and for not telling me."
Rich gripped Dennis’s shoulder and said, "I'm glad Peggy told you."
"How are things with you two?" Rich ask.
"Improving," Dennis said. "I'm taking it slow and so is she. I think we're going to Spain and then to France to ski this winter. We talked about it last summer, but we didn't want the excitement of a trip to be misinterpreted as love and commitment. That's why honeymoons are overrated. Some get married just for the great honeymoon. You got to think beyond that. I think honeymoons should be given only after five years of successful marriage." He leaned against the back of the bench. "What about you Rich?" You ever going to get married? Do you have a girl friend?"
"My life is so busy at this point, Dennis,” Rich said. “I can’t imagine going off sailing for a couple of years having a woman with me physically or emotionally. And I can’t imagine settling down or becoming attached to someone and all the time be thinking about my voyage. Logically one has to be put aside for the other for the time being. I can’t get a woman and let her go, but I can sail and get that over with.”
“Actually,” Dennis said, “Peggy and I have talked about doing what you are doing. Not to rob you of your thunder, but we wondered about such a trip; she could sketch it or perhaps paint it and I could write about it. It would make a handsome illustrated book.”
“Makes me want to find and artist to go with me,” Rich chuckled. “You have a great idea. If it doesn’t happen until after my journey is finished I’ll be glad to help you out, you know some advice.”
“What will you do after your trip?” Dennis said.
“I’m not sure,” Rich said.
“I assume you’ll have the newspaper,” Dennis said.
“No,” Rich said. There was a pause.
“That sounded pretty resolute,” Dennis said.
“I didn’t want it to sound that way,” Rich said, “but it is resolute.”
There was another pause. Only the breeze through the trees and the sound of birds were heard. A distant car horn, a few shut car doors, and sounds of traffic filled the background.
“I’d like to say something quite confidential,” Dennis said. “And I’m certain you are such a man I can tell this to and it will go no further than this common and god’s ears.”

Sure,” Rich said turning his head and eyes toward Dennis.