His new job had brought him here for training. We chatted about work. We chatted about life. I tried to convince him to move here. But in the midst of the discussion he said something I'd heard before. Enough times, in fact, that I knew it wasn't a farce. He couldn't remember me ever having been this happy before. When we parted company, he gave me a hug so big, he lifted me from my feet. Then, he walked off one way, while I biked away to the other.
About 13 years previous, while traveling, I stopped to meet him in the science fiction library where he was volunteering, and we walked to dinner to meet a larger group. When I walked in, he wasn't quite done, so I poked about for a few minutes. Upon laying eyes on a giant wrench, I had him take a picture. And so I have a rare bit of documentation for someone who disliked photos: me, overweight as I was for basically my entire career at the university, with a bare grin as I held a giant wrench.
There are those who, having transitioned, do not wish to think of or remember where they came from. Pain is a powerful motivator. But another quiet morning bike ride gave me time to consider something I'd been reading shortly before the ride. And with that in mind, I could see the whole picture. This probably is the happiest I have been, given the lifted burden of trying to be something I'm not. But I cannot deny or disown my history, and I wouldn't want to. All of it, good and bad, brought me here, and here is a great place to be.