I’ve been spending a good amount of time getting to know Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome.
We try to make time whenever we can to meet for dinner, a hike or an adventure of one kind or another. He lives an hour away, but has convinced me that it’s neither a problem nor an obstacle. In fact, when I replied to his comment that we aren’t seeing each other enough by saying, “It’s tough, isn’t it?” he called me right away.
“Honey,” he said gently, “Next time I say we aren’t seeing each other enough, you’re supposed to reply, ‘Let’s make it happen’, not ‘It’s tough,’ okay? Good. Now, let’s make some plans.” And we did.
Last Sunday, after a lovely birthday brunch with Bitchy, I hopped in my car and drove through the rolling countryside to meet him at about the halfway point. Fortunately, the route to him as the crow flies takes me through gorgeous mountains, Amish farmland and small town America. This time we met in a small country store parking lot, and I hopped into his car for another adventure.
We drove several miles towards a state park, and landed in the parking lot of a Methodist Summer Camp. The entrances were gated, as the camp was closed for the winter, but Mr. H parked the car snuggly against the barricade and we walked down the well-worn path into the woods.
I was so pleased to be surrounded by the sounds and smells of the forest, and by the warm hand that grasped mine as we began our hike. I glanced at him as he described the camp to me and shared stories of his youth. I felt very lucky at that moment to have found a companion that enjoyed the simple pleasures of nature as much as I. (Frankly, I’m a rookie compared to this man.)
We continued our hike through overgrown paths, and I was pleasantly surprised when I had to cross a stream on a cable bridge! He followed close behind me bouncing the TINY cable up and down as I tried to cross. We laughed and laughed, enjoying each moment AND the fact that the bionic hip was working properly.
We finally made our way to his destination, and I was speechless as we walked out onto a rocky cliff. The view was spectacular. I am, however, incredibly afraid of heights. Really, really, REALLY afraid.
He stood behind me with his arms tightly around me, and nudged me forward closer to the edge. I was terrified. My first thought was, “Okay, he hasn’t murdered me yet, but this is possibly the perfect opportunity…” Sweet Jesus I was scared.
His arms remained around me, and he leaned down and whispered, “Don’t be afraid.”
I laughed. "I am!!!"
“Don’t be scared,” he repeated, “I’ve got you.”
But I was scared. I told him that, and insisted that we back up a bit. We did, and he decided to sit at one the edges while I sat back closer to the mountain. He dangled his feet over the edge, and talked about all of the different places down below us. He calmly and quietly told stories, and I relaxed with each passing moment. At some point, I gathered the courage to inch closer and closer to the edge. Sure I was on my belly like a five year old, but I was doing it. He watched me from his spot, smiling, and continued to talk.
I peered over the edge, proud of myself, and shimmied back to carefully sit next to him.
“You did it,” he said with a smile. And I realized that he had distracted me with his stories and given me to time to find my courage and peek out over the edge when I was ready.
“You know I would never let anything happen to you. You do know that, right?”
I nodded and said, “Yes, I think I do know that.”
“Honey, I won’t ever let anything happen to you. I’ll keep you safe, and fight battles for you that don’t even know you have to fight, if you let me. You just have to trust me.” He smiled, and leaned in...
(Sometimes, once in a while, there are fireworks in the middle of the day ... on top of a quiet mountain. And those fireworks are even more spectacular than the ones on the Fourth of July.)