• Lyn Coffin


...so many questions!....


From: Lyn Coffin <coffin32@gmail.com>

Date: Tue, May 28, at 3:49 PM

Subject: questions

To: Austin Nissan <austin.Nissan@earthlink.net>

Dear Austin,

I love hearing from you. I think about you a lot. I am praying for you, to the extent I am able to pray.

I am glad you feel I have been there, and continue to be there, for you.

It has been a wild ride for me, dear Austin. From the beginning, there have been doubts. The doubts were there at the beginning, then lovely fantasy overtook the doubts, then reality struck in the form of your mother’s death, and now what is left is confusion and curiosity and a fading hope that we might be together, as friends or lovers.

What has been missing for me are the facts of your life. I would like to ask if you, dear one, would please tell me the specifics of your life. Where were you born? Where were you before February, when your mother said you left. You have called me, and the phone is listed as from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. Is that where you are from? There was also another call that appears to be from the Caribbean.

Let me be honest. I fell in love with the picture of you with the elephant. You look so kind and so humorous.

And then came the picture of you by the pool. You look cruel there, to me. You have those sunglasses.

You are all buff and bronze and do not look like you could possibly have been in the hospital or in business meetings. Also, the pool seems to be somewhere tropical- maybe The Valley, Anguilla? (The other number was listed as being there.) You do not look as though you could possibly care for an older woman like me.

Did you take the picture yourself? Who were the other people in the picture? I said I didn’t mind the mystery, but now I do. You said you were going to visit your mother in Scotland, and then you spoke of going to Lancashire. You said you were in Dublin, but the call came from Ballycastle. Maybe you don’t want to explain these things or set them straight. But could you tell me where you were born, and when? You look younger than 55. Do you think you might stay over there? Where do you live in Seattle?

Why did you go to San Francisco? Have you quit your job, or have they quit you? I treasure our early days, and the wonderful fantasies we wove together. I still care for you. In one of my scenarios, you ask me to marry you so you can get a green card. I don’t believe your mother died so we could be together. She had been sick for a while, you said. I really appreciate your letters and hope I continue to get them. But right now, to be honest, what I crave are facts.

Do you have no friends at all? I suppose some or many men might say that. Where did you get your business training? Sometimes you write as though English were not your native language. In none of this is there an accusation- there is simply a request. Would you please tell me something about who you are, where you come from? What was your mother’s full name? May I read her obituary? Is there an online site where I could write a testimonial? Was she Catholic? You said she was in Edinburgh and then spoke of going to Lancashire to be with her. Are you in Dublin? Where will your mother be buried? Was she Scots or Irish or neither? Who was your father?

Do you see how it is? My mind is tormented by questions- Is Seattle still your home?

Was it ever your home?

Where in Seattle do you live?

I really apologize for hitting you with all these questions. I wanted to meet you and to let our coming together unfold gradually, and to ask you about things as they came up. But in the absence of a real present, because of this limbo state we are in, I would ask you for a real past. And of course, you can ask me anything.

If you can’t tell me about yourself, can you tell me why you can’t? I am a writer and in the absence of facts, my mind spins out scenario after scenario.

Dearest Austin, in the name of what we have shared, and what we might share, what I hope we will share, could you please tell me something of who you really are? And if you have something you want from me, could you just ask me for it?

These have been wonderful tender moments, as you said. No matter what, I will cherish them. No matter what, I feel a certain tenderness and gratitude toward you. But it is increasingly hard to live both without the reality of you (Do you think you will ever come back?) and without the reality of a past, of confirmation that you have a life, a history. Would you tell me about your wife?

Of course, I don’t expect you to answer even a tenth of these questions in an email. But anything you could write to me about would be very appreciated, and help set my mind

at rest (even if it’s not “good news”)--much love (and holding my breath),


...to be continued....


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