July 29th, 2003

Reconnecting with Michael...

Lisa called after work to tell me about their phone numbers changing. At the end of the conversation, she said, "I don't know if this is off limits or whatever, or if I should be telling you, but..." This is usually the beginning of some story about my parents or some incident that has taken place.

She told me about being back in touch with Michael, that his girlfriend had left him, and that he was very, very lonely. She had worked on, and finally succeeded in, getting him to go to court with her to reduce the childcare payments that he is supposed to be paying (and, of course, is way behind on).

She told me that his car is so bad off now that he pretty much drives it to work, has to fix it, and then drives back home. She said they've had dinner a couple of times, and that he has agreed to let her drive him around so he can look for another car. She said at the last dinner, at the end, he asked about me.

She caught him up on some of the things I've been doing, including my Tour de Friends ride. She said, "and then, just before we parted, he said, 'When you talk to my brother, tell him I said hello.'" She told me that he was afraid to contact me for two reasons: 1) he didn't know if he owed me money, and 2) he didn't know if I would speak to him.

I asked for his phone number, and she gave me his cell number. I called him immediately. He was at work.


"Michael Martin?"


"This is John Martin."


"Wow. Wow."

"How you doing?"

We caught up a little. I told him about mom and dad's anniversary coming up, and how great it would be if he would go, and surprise them. He at first said, "No. There's no way I can go. I'll lose my job. I'm self-employed. You don't understand."

I told him if he could get the time off that I would fly him down, and pay for what he wouldn normally have made for being at work that day. He said, "Oh no. I've never flown. I can't do that."

"I'll put you on a train then."

"Maybe a bus. I could go on a bus."

We talked some more, and I could see that he was getting totally overwhelmed with everything -- the reconnection with me, the possibility of seeing the extended family, flying, time off work, etc.

I said, "Look. I'm flying out tomorrow morning. You think about all this, and I'll call you back when I get back from Arizona, and we'll see what you think you can arrange then."

"Okay," he said.

"I love you," I said.

"I love you, too, John."