It had to be April, maybe May. 1992. Spring in Toronto. Our season of lust, lilacs and paint brushes.
I had just finished theater school and was heading off to perform at the Shaw Festival for the summer. You had been cast as a “Marius” understudy in “Les Miserables,” and would travel across Canada and Hawaii for 8 months.
The plan was for you for move out of your basement room in the house you shared with 4 other Winnipeggers in Toronto’s Greek Town, and take my room in the condo I rented with my friend, J. Just for a couple of months until the “Les Miz” run began.
I love lists. For me, they remain the pulp and paper version of narcotics. (Calm down. It’s not like I’m inhaling Post-its or anything, but man, there’s nothing like the feeling of dragging your pen through an item you just completed. A-HEM. Is it getting hot in here?)
That day detailed a particularly long one for the both of us. Packing. Renting a car. Moving. I don’t even remember HOW we rented a car, seeing as I was the 23-year old Torontonian weirdo who walked / subway-ed it everywhere and sported no driver’s license, and you were only 19 and couldn’t even rent a car.
Then of course, we had to carve out long periods of time to moon at each other. That was paramount everything. We were newly dating and had much to learn.
“You like dogs? OMG, me too! You like me? OMG, I like you!”
I can still picture you. The shaggy, theater-stud mullet you’d been instructed to grow so you’d resemble a rebellious youth from the French revolution. You wore grey Roots’ sweatpants—the Old Skool ones with the beaver on the side. You were standing there scanning the faux wood-paneled walls (is there any other kind?), arms folded and tucked up into your armpits in what I would come to learn was the trademark McIntyre way. J. and I stood amongst the packed boxes watching you access the situation. So much to do and your room still hadn’t been painted. But we had to return the van.
“I’ll just come back later. Slap on a coat of paint. It’ll take like an hour.”
J. and I turned to each other and lost it. Like died.
“Slap on a coat of paint!!!”
Like it was so easy. Like you could just juggle all these balls. Handle all these things and then come back and love me long into the night.
But you do. You just pick things up. You own them. And you shine.
You picked up your 18-year old life and moved to Toronto to sing. You picked up a camera and began a second career. On our wedding day you picked up your bagpipes and simultaneously blew my mind and my eardrums. (WHOM had I married?) You picked up a course, a new language, and a new love. #shabbatshalom
And in 2011, you picked me up. Again and again and again. Your list grew long. Endlessly long. The more you crossed off, the more appeared: Take pictures. Pay mortgage. Give wife kidney. Watch addiction nearly kill her. Love her long into the night.
Like it was no big deal. But, I know it was. Now, I finally know.
Yesterday, I watched you stand in the middle of your beloved downtown studio space, point to the scuffed up walls, and explain where you would once again just “slap on a coat of paint.”
I suppose it's not very PC to gush over your husband, but when have I ever followed the rules? You inspire me, Kevin—to “slap" more and “list” less.
I know you will miss this space. But there will be another one, sweetheart, to be revealed after your 8-week singing sabbatical. First, you’ve gotta shake your spandexed booty and belt out some ABBA. (MAMMA MIA! I cannot wait!)
This is your destiny, my Renaissance man. To pick things up and shine each and every time you do.