We never met Richard Feynman, he was dead by that time. Still, he deserves the credit.
I have known R, a different R, since I was 17. He was best friends with an on-and-off boyfriend of mine, a boyfriend I liked more as a friend, but loved enough to love when it seemed like the right thing to do. Anyway, this boyfriend shot himself the early part of this century, but that’s another story.
D, the eventual heroine in this story, and I met many years later, after I bought my horse. D had a 17-hand saddlebred, just about the only horse my Vandy wouldn’t cow kick. So the four of us covered hundreds of miles of trails, in blistering heat, in snow. D’s a short little thing, but she can stick a saddle, so was always around when I got thrown. She was also always around through miles of my boyfriends.
And I felt bad, you know. I had all this LOVE knocking at the door, and she was a bit on the lonely side. So I fixed her up with on-and-off, and the three of us went out. Instant dislike, no, that’s too mild, antipathy, antagonism, an-wehateeachother. But the one thing that came out of the meeting was that on-and-off challenged D (who is a finder by profession) to locate an obscure Richard Feynman video (Yes this was in the 90’s, we’re in video days).
Of course D found it, and gave the precious tape to me, which I carelessly tossed somewhere. It was my duty to turn said tape over to on-and-off, and I couldn’t find it.
How to tie this up into the great love story it is. The random universe that often turns cruel, can also turn kind. To show my penitence, I invited the two for dinner and on-and-off brought his friend R to the dinner, because R just happened to be visiting that night.
D and R fell in love at the table, even before the appetizer. Even before the wine. Madly in love, forever in love. Since that day, that day I tell you, they have never been apart for more than a few hours. They work, eat, sleep, talk, ride, travel together. They’re always touching hands. (I chide them constantly. “God, you’re disgusting. Give it a rest!”)
Oh yes, I found the Feynman tape, years later. In the trunk of the car I was selling, under an old saddle. To this day, D believes I had a careful hand in her great happiness. Uh-uh, it was a very careless hand.
But D would never analyze anything to that degree. With D, you're either in or you're out. Once you're her friend, and I know this for a fact, you can do no wrong.
(R got an absurd, ridiculously impossible diagnosis from a neurologist this past month. Fuck doctors. I believe in love.)