I can’t remember the last time I had been away from George for more than a week. The last time may have been in 2010 when I had back to back weekend away trip with my lacrosse team. Needless to say, I was thinking long and hard about it throughout the day. I had several emotional breakdowns today. When I first woke up, to when I got into my car and arrived at work. There may have been about a 30 minute calm during the span of 7:30-10am. The littlest things are starting to really upset me. I couldn’t find my iTouch today and I nearly went into cardiac arrest. Not to come off as a complete spoiled brat, in my case I have tucked away in the folds all the small notes George wrote me whenever he got me flowers. I saved every single one of them.
I also started thinking about what George was wearing the first time I saw him. I always remembered he was wearing a blue track jacket, but it turned out it was red. We met at Wilkes University in the Creative Writing Graduate Program. At the time, I was the Graduate Assistant for the women’s lacrosse team and it was the only graduate program I had any interest in. George enrolled in the program because it was a low residency and was fairly close to NYC. At the time of the first semester we took together he was living in Atlanta. He was anticipating moving to NYC for work transfer and to receive treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The stars must have been aligned that year for us to meet in the winter of 2007-2008. Just about 6 years ago around this time we first learned about each other.
When I first saw him I was smitten right away. I’ve never seen anyone like him, and he was handsome and charming. He had a Bill Clinton type of social engagement. I’ve heard Clinton has the ability to make anyone in a crowded room feel like he is talking directly and only to them. George had that too. He was incredibly upbeat and could make anyone feel extremely special. I remember coming back from that first residency and talking about the guy from Atlanta who dabbled in stand up comedy. It was love at first sight. Although I always called him Dennis and not George. I learned later on that Dennis and George were one and the same. A Finkle is Einhorn epiphany.
From that first residency there’s one notable story that I always found somewhat embarrassing but relatively funny. So at the end of each residency there’s a big celebration with dinner, awards and then an after party. Student, faculty, mentors anyone in-between let loose. At the after-party, I was feeling pretty comfortable and intercepted 1 drink at the bar. When I decided to engage in this mischief, one person had caught me in the act. George just watched with a grin on his face. It’s a smile that continues to radiate in my memories.