Saturday, August 11

Thoughts for Ian.

When I was writing yesterday's post, it got me thinking about a man named Ian, who had come into our lives soon after we moved over here to live.

GOM decided he wanted to be a coffee shop proprietor, & of course that soon became reality. He found a shop he wished to buy, & purchased it quite quickly.

GOM likes people, & thought it would be something akin to keeping a hotel, without the alcohol, & long hours.

It is a very different kettle of fish, as he soon found out. Certain parts of it were still people oriented, & many a good conversation was held over coffee. But quite a few of his regular customers were elderly women, who liked to bore him to death chatter to him. He, being polite, would listen, & answer. But after the 4th or 6th airing of the bunion operation, or the street mugging ( "...they snatched her purse! She was always SO terrified of being robbed, she carried all her papers, & all her jewellry about with her!") he began to tire of some of the conversations. The elderly ducks still adored him, because they thought he was "Such a good Listener" When in reality, he was bored witless he didnt really listen.

And there were young people, who were funny & cheery, & worked at a nearby Bank. They began to come to work early, so they could call in for coffee, & a couple of laughs before the Bank opened. And soon they began coming to collect coffee for lunch from GOM's coffee shop. Where he also made toasted sandwiches, & sold cakes, grudgingly baked by Meggie, at the rate of 2 Carrot Cakes per day, & several Chocolate or Coffee Rolls a week.

And sometimes I would be called upon to make extra cakes, & rush in to help out in the shop. And often, would find one of the young tellers, helping out behind the scenes or making their own cup of Cappucino, while GOM did the food. One girl was a lovely Indian girl, whose train got in early every day, so she had time to fill in, before work. And one young man, Ian, just liked to spend time talking to GOM.

And there was a young girl, Mandy, employed by GOM, who was cheerful & a good worker, but was often late for work.

And the young Bank tellers became friends with us. And Ian in particular got friendly with us, & our children. And he began to come to visit us, in our home at the weekends. And he gradually became quite a part of our lives. He got on well with our kids, & he had a great sense of humour, & a very kind heart.

Ian's mother had raised him alone, having divorced his father, who Ian detested, when Ian was young. He had 2 sisters, & they were older, & had moved away. Ian's mother had a chance to buy a small 1 bedroom unit, so Ian was to be 'homeless'. So he asked us, if he could come to board with us. And after consulting the kids, we agreed.

And for the most part it all worked very smoothly. Ian had a nice car, & he was generous running the kids about, or taking me to the dentist, which was a real ordeal, as I was having sedation for the visit. (I always have horror dentist stories to tell.)

Ian seemed to have friends, but we never met them. We were not sure if he had a girlfriend, but he often talked of a girl who, he said, had a crush on him. For the most part, he seemed content on the weekends to just spend time at home or visiting his mother. Our kids used to come to help in the shop, on Saturdays. Until our son could no longer stand the "boring stories of the old Ducks! Dad! How can you stand it!!??" And he did a deal with us, -he would stay home & tidy the house, & our daughter would come to the shop. So that worked, & our son did a great job keeping the house tidy & clean.

And Ian, well, he went out with his friends or read in his room.

After a time, GOM was approached by two people who were very keen to buy the shop. One was a woman who was a customer, & she just loved the whole place, & the style of food & coffee. The other was an Italian man, who was determined he wanted to buy the shop. So, GOM decided to give them a trial to see if they really would like it. The lady soon decided it was not as easy as she had thought, & it would not be her cup of tea. Plus she didnt wish to bake cakes! So that left the Italian man, Alex.

Alex came & blundered about helped for 2 days before a long weekend. After the long weekend he was back, all keen & eager. The fact that he had forgotten everything GOM had taught him, didnt phase him in the least, & he was just as keen to buy the shop. GOM suggested he think it over for a while. After all, making toasted sandwiches with the cheese slice still wrapped in the plastic is not a good customer-friendly plan! And he never seemed to get the hang of fluffing up the milk for the cappuchinos. (Mind you, neither did I, & the bank staff would tease me & ask for 'flat whites'!)

Anway, Alex came back, still determined to buy the shop, & GOM decided he had heard enough old lady stories to last a lifetime. So he sold the shop.

And we thought of returning to New Zealand. So we put our house on the market, fully expecting it to take 6 moths to sell. And the first lady to see it, wanted to buy it. And she wanted all the furniture. Since we had bought the furniture to suit the house, it did all look nice, & was almost new. But we decided to keep our furniture, & moved into rented premises to wait while we decided what our next move would be.

And Ian came with us, still happy to be part of our family. And round about then, we started to wonder if Ian was sure about his sexual orientation. He started to go out in the evenings dressed in very odd clothing. And began wearing studded arm bands, & neck chokers. Oh well, we thought, he is gay.

He finally denied it to us, though none of us had said anything about it. It didnt bother us, & it was his life to live. I did lie awake & worry about him getting home, just as if he was mine. And some nights he didnt come home, & that was a worry, too. Looking back, I think he may have been at a crossroads, of a kind, trying to find his 'true self'. Which would be very hard, I would imagine, given his background, & parents.

Finally he decided to move. And he would call to see us from time to time, or give us a call. And we were invited to his 21st, which was a nice party until his horrible father turned up. What a nasty man. Meeting him, went some way to explaining how Ian came to be Ian.

And finally, after we had moved to the new house, he came to see us, with a male friend, that we think was his partner. So I hope he found happiness & some peace. He had moved to Queensland, & he seemed happy. And it was lovely to see him. Because we were very, very, fond of him. And I wish him well, whereever he is now.

Cat Stevens, Bitterblue


bluemountainsmary said...

Meggie - wouldnt it be odd if Ian or someone who knew him was reading. And wouldn't it be fantastic for Ian to know how fond of him you were (although I am sure he knew that). Stranger things have happened! and in your world of adventures it might!

meggie said...

Oh Mary, I really hope so! I wondered about using his real name, but decided to go with it, as I would truly love to see him again. He was so kind to me, always, & we were so fond of him. He had a great sense of humour, & used to call me his 'adopted mother'.

Leigh said...

I hope Ian does read this and make contact with you. It would be lovely for you to catch up with him again.

Alice said...

Whew, I read Ian's story with some trepidation, thinking perhaps there was a tragic twist somewhere. (No, Meggie, I know that not all of your stories are harrowing

So I was pleased to read that all is well, as far as you know.

You and your husband really are 'people people', aren't you? You both seem to have a great rapport with people from all walks of life.

joyce said...

Ian must have truly appreciated your taking him in. We have boarded numerous strays over the years and it's always nice to run into them again. I hope Ian reads your blog and gets in touch again. It would be nice to know what he's doing now.

fifi said...

what a LOVELY lovely story...
I hope he reappears!!

Bren said...

I have a similar story. A friend of my son lived with us as his own mother died when he was little and his step mother never liked him. He was a sweetheart! He graduated high school and we took him to the airport to board a plane for the Army. I felt like I was letting my own child go. I heard he married and had a child. We would get sporatic letters. It has been 7 years and a few weeks ago, my son texted me and said can you come quick. I flew over there as I thought something was wrong. There sat Jason and his wife and baby. He just returned from Iraq! Oh I hope you see Ian again someday!

Ian Lidster said...

Of course all 'Ians' are at heart very decent and caring people. Some of us, blessedly, haven't had to go through such an identity crisis in terms of who we are or what our procliviities are. Very interesting story.
Ian (a different one)

sheoflittlebrain said...

Another lovely story, meggie. I too, seeing Ian through your eys, now think of him fondly and wish him well.

Joke said...

What I want to know is what the deal is with that neck thing.


P.S. I always wince at stories with horrible fathers...

velcro said...

That was a lovely story Meggie. I do hope that Ian sees it one day


meggie said...

Hi All, I think Ian is wished well by everyone who knew him. He would have made a wonderful nurse, as his compassion & gentle nature was so caring.
Over the years we have had a series of, as Joyce puts it, 'strays'. We both have soft hearts for the underdogs.
J- I will just say, Blue Oyster Bar, Police Academy One.

Guðrún said...

Interesting story as always. You are a great writer Meggie.

Tanya Brown said...

I hope Ian looks you up someday. It sounds like you were there at a critical juncture in his life. Doubtless you meant a lot to him, something of a surrogate mother.

Thimbleanna said...

Like Alice, I read your story thinking something bad was about to happen. I've missed your stories Meggie -- I have so much to catch up on. You've had such a wonderful, rich life with such interesting tales!