Once when I was the marketing director for a radio station, I had made an appointment to meet with the owner of a night club. He had told me on the phone how to find his office. It was in the very back of the club which was in a renovated train depot.
It was quite dark and cavernous inside the depot. It had that feeling of a place that only comes alive at night. I walked through the dim light and knocked on his office door.
I was quite taken aback when he opened the door and I saw his face because he looked exactly like my husband who was out of the country for an extended period of time. And I missed him.
His office was small and plain. It had probably not changed much since the train station had been there. Adorning the walls were small, framed painted pictures of frogs that looked a bit comical.
But he couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming. And he directed me to the chair near his desk.
He was fun to talk with and I don’t know how we got onto the subject of birthdays – maybe I asked him his because he reminded me so of my husband. But then he asked me, “When is your birthday?”
And I said,”Today,” at which point he suddenly jumped up and said in a very loud, excited voice, “Today? My God I didn’t know it was your birthday! ” and he tore several of the frog pictures off the wall and handed them to me. They were in kind of an awkward stack because he had torn some of the sheet rock off too. He smiled at me glowingly and said,”Happy birthday!”
Appointments in my workday could at times be terribly boring- I had never had much of an interest in business and seemed to have crafted a career where I engaged in business discussions for most of the day. So meeting him was a very welcome relief indeed. We became fast friends. He told me he was an inventor and that the latest project he was working on was something kind of like a boomerang. He didn’t describe it that way, of course, because to him there had never been anything like it and he was applying for a patent and it was all a very big secret. He asked me if I would like to see it fly sometime and I said,”Sure that would be fun.”
So we set up a time and he came to my house and we went to a beautiful neighboring field and he showed me how it flew. He explained his ideas about aerodynamics and why it was unique.
Later that day, when we were talking, he told me that he had just been through a very contentious divorce with his wife and he really regretted the way things had turned out. (She was furious and wouldn’t talk to him.) But he had done something that he had hoped would endear her to him once again. He had written a book of poems for her and published it. The title of his book was, “I Love You Whether You Love Me or Not.” He gave it to her for Valentines Day.
And he gave me a copy too.
I didn’t see him much after that because I stopped working at the radio station. But I have kept that book and sometimes remember him and wonder how things turned out. And I think about the sentiment behind the title.