I was giving Shea a bath tonight and was smiling over his new antic. He looks up at me with his big blue eyes, and asks “Song?” and then shout-sings “Let Go! Let Goooo! Let Go!” finishing with a round of applause for himself. I laughed and sang with him while I washed his hair, noticing he has a new little mole behind his right shoulder, in addition to four new canine teeth. I pulled him out of the tub and into a towel and then wrestled him into his PJs while he screamed and giggled and protested loudly. He’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too.
And then I sighed, because I miss Frank. He’s only been away from us for two weeks, a bit more, but it feels like forever. He and I were long-distance when we first met, and then again after we were engaged, and off and on for work, so we’re used to doing the email/text/phone relationship thing. But when you’ve got little kids doing cute things – and wearing you out! – the distance is much more noticeable.
I married a really good man, though. I just want to take this opportunity to say that.
Someone asked me the other day, what stood out about Frank? What made you take notice of him when you first met? And I drifted into a misty haze of memory, and began to think out loud.
When I met Frank, in person, he stood out because he was the only one listening in a group of gregarious filmmakers who loved hearing themselves talk. It was my third Heartland Film Festival, and I loved “my” filmmakers every year, but I was quite used to hearing them constantly promote themselves and their work – it’s nearly an unspoken law in indie film, at least if you want to get anywhere! But Frank was not like the others. He was certainly no wallflower, either – he was just confident, secure in his own skin, proud of his short film, “Emily’s Song,” and grateful that we liked it enough to give it an award.
In the weeks leading up to that first meeting, I had spoken to Frank a couple times over the phone and several times via email. He had actually forgotten to send his film submission in, so my first contact with him was to ask if he still intended to enter the film as our deadline was fast approaching. Where most people ignored my email, he responded straight back, all apologies, and mailed the film to me that day. As luck would have it, because the film was a late submission, it went straight to the interns and then straight to me. I watched it, loved it, and put it through to my boss and the film jury. The rest, is history.
It’s funny, because I remember when Frank sent in his bio and headshot, I thought he looked very broody, a true grouchy artist! So when I saw him across the room at our filmmaker meet and greet, I introduced myself to him last, because I was a little anxious about what I perceived to be his aloof demeanour. I could not have been more wrong! Frank was, from the very first moment, warm, intelligent, friendly and sweet. I remember we talked about Danny Boyle’s latest film at the time, “Millions,” which I loved, and reminded me in some ways of Frank’s short film.
I got to know Frank more and more that week, and I found myself making excuses to be near him, working certain events or theatre locations because I knew he’d be there. I didn’t really think it was anything serious – I just enjoyed his company! The day I introduced him to Judy Stewart, the late James Stewart’s daughter and presenter of the Crystal Heart Awards for short films, I thought my heart would melt. He was awestruck, a position in which I can actually say I’ve never seen him since, upon meeting his hero’s daughter. It was a moment that was one of my favourites of my time at Heartland.
You know the end of this story. We fell in love, I visited, then we were apart, I moved there, then we got married, then we all moved here, and now we’re apart again for a little while. And today is our 6th Wedding Anniversary, which is an especially hard day to be apart.
But it just strikes me every time, how special and dear is my Frank Kelly, my artist, my filmmaker, my storyteller, my soulmate. I’m so glad he wasn’t shouting for my attention back then (or now!). Who knows? Maybe I never would have heard him, or seen him, if it hadn’t have been for his very unique way of looking at the world and interacting within it. What’s that line from the old song, “You say it best when you say nothing at all”?
Take that, Hollywood. 😉
Much love to my dear Husband on this day, and every day.