Long story very short, Hopkins' grandmother died. He e-mailed me hours before it was publicly announced, and I sat on the information until I was sure that his sister had been informed.
But this is someone who categorically is not interested in me. Really, he makes such a huge production out of it and it's so very demoralizing and annoying. However...
This week is the state library association's academic conference. The other two librarians are attending, so I stayed home to mind the store. Wednesday, as soon as I closed the library, I repaired my makeup, changed clothes, and drove home for the viewing.
That's where it goes walleyed.
You'd think, when you walk into a room and someone's face lights up that much, that it's an indication that they're glad to see you. You'd think, that if they insist upon violating the local funerary custom of seating the close family in the chairs immediately opposite the casket, that it might follow that people will assume you're a couple. (Otherwise, it's not done. Trust me. I've been going to this funeral home all my life and so has he. I was in the 'wife seat' and that's why people asked. He insisted that I sit there.)
There's more to it than that, but I'm too tired and confused to write it.
Due to our staffing issues, I wasn't able to attend the funeral proper, so I e-mailed him late in the afternoon to do a gut-check and find out if he made it through the ordeal okay. Around one a.m., he wrote back thanking me on behalf of the whole family for making a special trip over on Wednesday.
Oh, come on, man: I have crossed oceans of time to find you. It was your near death that prompted me to reveal my presence to you, in spite of your very specific instructions many years ago to the contrary. I had diligently avoided you, news of you, your presence, and everything else because you made it so clear that I didn't matter to you.
But that's down to me. I observed your reactions in that funeral home the other night, and came away with something that hurts more than ever: I can read you. I did...but I've made a flaming fool of myself over you twice in the past, and I won't crawl out on that limb again.
Either put out a hand to catch me, or let me go. I'm used to being a self-rescuing princess.