1. This film, The Beautiful Fantastic, that I just watched and accidently happened upon, took me by surprise. I didn't know of this amazing actress, Jessica Brown Findlay until now. At first glance, having read the brief synopsis, I thought it might be heavy, laden with too much quirkiness and was slightly hesitant to invest emotionally in it. Later, halfway through, I felt like I was Vernon who seemed quietly in love with Bella, sad that she loved another. Having been a few times too many in a like situation, it stung in places. I have been haunted by past fails at love, mostly in dreams where I would wake and lay there in sadness, only to force myself not to dwell on it, shaking it off as merely a dream. At 62, although often told I look much younger looking and still 27 at heart, I fear I never will have that one enduring love I've hoped for, for much of my life. Strange that as popular as I was with the opposite sex in my youth, I have always felt love was forever just beyond my reach. I have felt lonely, largely misunderstood underappreciated and eternally unfulfilled. Even in my most exhilarating outdoor experiences and in the most supremely beautiful, quiet moments, loneliness has always been my enduring companion. At times, on the road, traveling across Canada, there were middle of the night walks outside my motel. Once, I found myself standing in the middle of a deserted bridge overtop a desolate highway, hearing a nearby train or a lone semi driving away from me in the distant darkness, the sound stretched out, shrinking ever further. A haunting loneliness accompanying me and yet it always came with this raw, powerful feeling of being alive. A strange dance of emotional duality. Other times, out in a wild place or in the backyard of a temporary home, I would catch a glimpse of a wild animal in its habitat or be witness to a spectacular sunset and in those very moments of intense appreciation for the experience, there would be a pang realized, of wishing there was someone next to me to share it with. It's a rare occasion for me to share my vulnerability. Not even sure why I am. Perhaps missing my Mother who passed a few years ago, who was my best friend and confidant has to do with it. Even in those lovely moments chatting with her over the phone, more often than not, I would hold back much of anything too raw. Feelings that as a man are hard to share, those that form a lump in your throat, and that you know you can still convey them without cracking, but then there was the fear of making her sad. Wanting to spare her any pain of not being able of consoling her son over the phone or even in person. It would bring me back to a time as a boy, perhaps 7 or 8, who after having a small disagreement with his Mother, felt unsupported and unappreciated, threatened to leave home. I packed a few things in a small rockhound satchel I used on my nature excursions afield, slammed the door and trotted off. Angry, as I walked, I made it to the back of our one acre maybe two acre property, climbed over a neighbours fence, headed hurriedly across a long stretch of connecting fields, still too stubborn with my bruised pride, thinking "you'll regret calling on my threat to go and never return"! Then when perhaps a half mile away, I heard a distant cry coming from our back porch, turning around to see my mom standing there, calling me, asking me to please come back. I could just make it out and in that moment, I heard the anguish in her voice. Fearing I might not return, either through my anger and hurt or that I might meet with an accident or be grabbed up by a stranger. My mom was not wordly in those days,; that came later, and so to her, someone who didn't drive and was thus quite isolated, her family and her home were her world. I was shaken from my selfish, pettiness, and felt her pain. In that moment when I realized her despair, I could not run fast enough back home to ease her pain. There were no words at least not that I can recall, but an embrace of arms and tears. I never made such a threat again! So in this moment, I do miss her terribly and miss having someone to be in a relationship with. Someone not to replace her, my mom, as no one ever could and she isn't coming back. I have my memories of her and they are riches I cherish greatly. But in this time, now, someone equally special to share life with. A companion, a confidante, a friend, a lover and an equal.

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