She was special.
She wasn’t perfect, neither was He. He knew and accepted She was appropriately flawed. He was as well. But maybe special meant someone whose flaws somehow matched up with your own. You could both accept and even appreciate the flaws. Maybe the flaws made special even better than perfect.
She was certainly special.
He had never met someone so complicated. Determined, smart, funny, introverted, stubborn. Somehow even the things She saw as Her flaws endeared Her to Him.
It was confusing and made no sense and was…perfect.
He wanted someone strong. Stubborn. Self-directed and self-determined. Even He had to rise to the occasion. He respected Her. He admired Her. He adored Her.
She piloted Her own ship. The most He could hope for with Her was to be at Her side – not directing Her, not “telling” Her, but occasionally advising and encouraging Her on Her voyage.
Partnership not dictatorship.
Monday night they had done the mundane. He sanded discarded furniture She would eventually paint while She walked the infinity of the treadmill. And it was wonderful for both of them. Somehow even the mundane took on a special magic when they were together.
Tuesday night they had navigated together the improving relationship with his son and his growing pains. She advised. She encouraged.
Tuesday He left to return to his ramshackle. He had work to do and tarried a little to long at Suess. But tonight, after they had texted and said their “LYB”‘s, He missed Her. Retiring to His fresh bed, complete with linens he had laundered at Her’s with Her special scent, seemed empty. He wanted to be holding her, feeling her, hearing her occasional half-snore that woke both.
He had spent more nights at Her’s in the last month than at His.
He was encouraged thinking about the weekend, and how they would be together again. He needed once again to savor Her, explore Her, experience Her, truly “see” her. It was His joy.
He went to bed early and woke up to a cold bedroom at 4am. He had left his window open and the 40 degree breeze had overwhelmed any heat. He pulled the pile of blankets up over His face.
The cold made Him think of Her this morning. She, being Texan, loathed it. He knew She was still asleep – her first of several alarms each morning didn’t chime until 6:30 – but that when She stirred She would curse the coming winter.
He wished He were there. His body radiated heat and She loved the warmth. She would curl against Him, His arms firmly around Her, Her face buried under covers against His chest. It was a comfort to Her, but also to Him. He missed it. In truth, He missed it every day.
But it wasn’t time for everyday yet, He had changes to make. She was already making some Herself.
But…this weekend They would fight the cold together
At 3:30 am He woke and reached across the bed for Her, finding only a pillow. It startled Him and He realized She wasn’t there. Or, more precisely, He wasn’t there. He was in his tiny apartment and She was 100 miles away, sleeping off Her celebratory/consoling beers from the night before. The ‘boys had won, but Tony had broken his collarbone.
It was still early – He usually got up around 4:30 – so He took a few moments to savor Her in His mind.
He missed Her this morning. He missed holding Her, feeling Her against him. He missed the way She felt as He caressed Her as she slept. He missed waking before Her, His face tickled by Her hair. Smelling Her. Seeing the curve of Her shoulder in the light penetrating from the hall.
He missed the sex, of course, but this morning He missed the intimacy of them, in bed, just together.
This morning He missed the best part.
My friend Trish is a yoga instructor. She has a small yoga studio in West Knoxville where she teaches middle-age women how to be downward facing dogs, warriors and sun-saluters.
I have to say Trish is a bit of a stereotype: She actively believes in the life-force of every living thing and she is constantly telling me I have “good energy” though she “thinks I would be happier if my chakras were more aligned.” I told her I just had Goodyear align my chakras a few weeks ago, but she’s not buying it.
Monday T got up to a dead battery on her 1998 VW Golf. Turned the key, nothing. As she related the story to me, she mentioned something about the dead battery on the car being a reflection of her own recently depleted energy. Yes, she did. Really. It’s too cliche to make up.
The Universe always provides the teacher when the student is ready. Or in this case, the jumper cables. It helps if you are an attractive woman in yoga pants and a sports bra tank top.
Her neighbor, Ed, who was leaving for work at the same time, noticed her laying hands on the engine or something. He had cables and managed to get her car started. He left with a “Bless You!” from Trish, who sincerely meant it, and she was ready to drive away.
Something you should know about T: She is a perpetually bubbly, positive smile of a person. She brings energy to every room she’s in. She’s fun to hang out with. But…she’s a bit scatter brained. As a result she is in a perpetual state of distraction. Whatever time she says she will be some place is an approximation. She has no concept of time.
Except today she had a important Important she was meeting at her studio.
Being delayed, she threw her car into reverse and, with barely a look in the rear-view, arched into the street. Unfortunately for her, she made her arch a little too wide and she ended up scraping both her passenger side tires against the opposite curb, which predictably shredded the sidewalls.
Ed was already gone. When the student is ready, the tow truck will arrive.
After her call, and a call to her Important, it took the rollback from Foothills’ Wrecker just 15 minutes to get there. “Dunk” got out.
“You can shut off the car, ma’am, I’ll pull it up on the bed with the winch.”
“Well, ‘Dunk’, my battery was dead and I just jumped it, and Ed said I should make sure it ran for a while.”
“Wail OK then…” Dunk then lowered the bed, attached the cables and pulled the still running hulk onto the bed.
They rode together back to the garage, Dunk reversed the process and left the car sitting, still running, in the parking lot, parallel to the road, a bus stop bench a few feet away. Trish stood next to the car, barley noting an apparently homeless man sitting on the bench. She decided to let it run while she went into the office, fearing the battery was not sufficiently charged.
As she walked away from her car, the disheveled man on the bench jumped up, opened the car door, jumped in and sped away. At least he sped away as quickly as two destroyed tires would let him.
Trish, in her Nikes, yoga pants and sports bra tank, took off after him, trying to dial 911 as she ran. After a dozen yards she was hopelessly behind and gave up.
Knoxville’s finest showed up a few minutes later and took pursuit. They overcame the crack head in the injured car and forced him to stop. He refused to exit the vehicle so they pried him out.
Another wrecker was called and the car was taken to an actual garage, not just a tire place, where Trish was dropped by the police. Now, in addition to two blown tires, she had a broken axle and various other major and minor injuries.
I definitely think the universe is telling Trish something.
Ten months ago. Late night. Texting.
They had shared a moment earlier in the day. Her parents staying in the tiny Suess house with her were pushing all her buttons. She had reached out to him for advice, comfort and he had supplied. It was a warm hug for her.
Now, she retreated to the back of the garage, sat on the step, smoked and drank Red Caboose Cabernet Sauvignon straight from the bottle.
He liked her. She was sexy, funny, smart. He cared, in a way, but in the way he cared about several women. He drank Stoli and Fresca, sitting in his ox blood chair.
They had texted for hours.
He knew he was drunk. Tired drunk. They had been keeping each other up every night. He wanted to collapse in the bed and dream vodka dreams.
She wanted him to call. She pushed. He refused. She pushed more. Finally, irritatedly, he aquiesced.
“Why haven’t you driven down here and met me yet?” She was 2 hours away and they’d been talking for almost a month. She thought, justifiably, it was time.
He snapped at her: “Don’t you think if you were a priority I would have been there already?”
“Fuck you, Kevin.” Even now, this many months later, he could still hear her voice. She hung up.
He texted a drunken apology and went to bed.
Over the next week, they reconnected.
Today, thinking about her, he realized how far he had come, how far she had taken him. She was a priority. More than a priority . He missed her, but in a good way. It made him smile to think about that night and about how over the coming nights and weeks and months she had captivated his heart, his mind. She truly had all his heart.