Meet My Imaginary Friends: Flynnie
Flynnie is a very special man. He lives on an island where he runs a pub and clam shack and writes poetry. He's a funny-looking guy with wild hair and scared hands from digging clams, working in his garden, and building his own house. Everyone comes to Flynnie's to have a few clams and more than a few beers and Flynnie listens to all their troubles. Especially to Babe's. Babe is a beautiful artist who is having no luck with men. In this scene from Flynnie and Babe in My Last Romance & other passions, Flynnie spends a stormy evening letting Babe cry on his shoulder over getting her heart broken once again.
"I just want to be happy. All my life I’ve dreamed about having a nice guy and a nice home and maybe some kids. What’s so wrong about that?"
"There’s nothing wrong with it, Babe, it’s just not right for everyone." He turns back to his beer. "Being married and having kids is for people who don’t want to do anything else."
"Why aren’t you married?" As long as I’ve known Flynnie we’ve never talked about that.
He sips his beer. "I have been. I’m just no good at it."
"Really?" Flynnie married is hard to imagine.
"Well, let me rephrase that. I’m real good at getting married. I’m just no good at staying married."
I stare at him. "You’ve been married more than once?"
He smiles slowly and holds up three fingers.
"You’re kidding me?"
"But... no kids?"
"No. No kids—none of the marriages lasted very long."
He shrugs. "For what it’s worth they all left me. Not the other way around."
"I can’t believe you. You’re such a nice guy. I can’t imagine anyone leaving you."
"You know Suze Crawley that works at the post office?"
"Sure, of course." Suze is a big, energetic woman who wears long, flowered skirts with Birkenstocks, has a thick braid down her back, and grows herbs in the sunny windows of the tiny post office building on Center Street. All the letters that arrive around the world from our town smell like Suze’s thyme and coriander.
"She was my second wife." He reaches over the counter and fills his beer mug from the tap. "Ready for another?"
I let him fill my mug while I try to imagine him and Suze together. Funny thing is, I can. Easily.
"Flynnie, I think you and Suze would be good together."
He nods. "I thought so too."
He shrugs. "She said I was too romantic. Lots of women like that idea in theory but they find it hard to live with."
"Because you write poetry?"
That’s one of the more enigmatic things about Flynnie. He is forever sending off poems to these obscure little magazines with odd names and getting back checks for miniscule amounts. When the published piece finally arrives in the mail he mounts the page with his poem next to the magazine cover on tan cardboard. He frames it and hangs it on the wall of the stairway leading to his apartment. He says he is waiting for the day when the check covers the cost of the frame—then he’ll consider himself a success. I glance up at the wall across the darkening room. There must be thirty or more poems there.
"Naw," he says. "She always liked my poems. She thought I’d be a great poet someday." He frowns at his beer letting his mind drift. "No. I’m not sure what it was, really. She said being my Muse was too hard. To tell the truth, I never knew what she meant by that. Suze is a beautiful woman. I didn’t think I ever expected anything more from her than letting me love her for that."
"Did you write a poem about her?"
"Every poem I wrote was about her—well, while I was with her. It was like that with all of them..." His voice trails off as a wall of rain crackles against the windows.