in honor of valentines day
Cupid's arrows were going to have to be Grim Reaper broadheads shot from a 70 lb. bow to reach my heart. Nothing less. The last time I was vulnerable to a woman, I was transfixed as she slowly morphed into an angry incredible hulk whose destruction tentacled to family and friends. No sir. Not again, at least for a long while. My heart was in a self-made Ft. Knox. Romance? Me? You've got to be kidding!
I guess you saw that didn't you? Those past tense references. I had made a granite-hard resolve not to be swayed by another sweet breeze that might blow into my life promising to carry me away to her relationship fairy tale. My head said one thing, however, my heart another. I'm a big softie. I try to be a man's man, but, to be honest, I'm not sold on the man's man image pushed in the media.
I'm a romantic, having always believed life is to be shared. And until my experience with the angry hulk morphing female (I shan't name her for fear of reprisals in my dreams), I always had decent luck with romance. I am a quiet guy who lives in the mountains and enjoys simple pleasures like home cooking, a good book by a warm fire or rocking on my front porch watching the sunset. I would be a poster boy for FarmersOnly.com. There is nothing comparable to experiencing the mountains--waterfalls, streams, meadows full of wildflowers, early settler's cabins, quiet walkways that lead to fifty-mile views. I value those places, and I'm pleased to share them with the right girl. And, even though they seem in rare supply today, I did meet one. And believe me, I wasn't looking. As a matter of fact, I was doing everything I could to stay away from romance. I worked a lot, hiked, and hung out with friends.
The first time I saw her, I was smitten. My stomach flip-flopped and felt like a swarm of hummingbirds moved in. A wave of heat washed over me, and for some reason I felt very conspicuous. My mind swirled into a vortex leading toward a black hole that swallowed all rational thought. Sophie, as she would later introduce herself, had beautiful raven, shoulder-length hair and big brown inviting doe eyes. She moved with a quiet elegance as she made her way to the table just to my right. I couldn't tell that she wore makeup, and I would have sworn an aura of light surrounded her. Yes, I was smitten.
She and a female friend seemed to float into the quaint, comfortable little mom and pop sandwich shop where I was eating. Not having eaten all day, I tried to be civil as I ate my sandwich. Conscious of not looking like a stalker, it took everything in me to stay focused on my food.
I was several bites into my sandwich when she looked at me, "what did you order, if you don't mind me asking? We're trying to decide what we might like."
Amazingly enough with such a simple question, looking at her, I chewed slowly as my brain furiously searched the farthest reaches of my mind in vain for words. As I started to answer, I almost choked on the bite I had tried to swallow. She watched with concern as I coughed and gagged, red-faced. I coughed some more, anger and embarrassment rising like a mushroom cloud inside me.
"You ok?" Her concern was genuine and relaxing.
I regressed to stumbling thoughts and, clearing my throat one final time, just nodded and took another sip of water.
"Would you join us?" She asked quietly. Seeing she was serious, her question burst into my auditory synapses like a bomb. This couldn't be happening. I had just convincingly proven my social ineptitude, convulsing and barely escaping choking on a piece of chicken under the gaze of the most beautiful woman I had ever met, and she asked me to join her? Her gaze was hypnotic and there was no looking away. I sat entranced, my resolve and prickly thoughts of fiendish motives flashed like lightening through my mind. Yet my heart screamed "Yes, you idiot! This beautiful woman asked you a question! The answer is Yes! Yes!"
Robotically, I moved over to their table. introductions were made, and normal quiet dinner conversation resumed. Food had been finished for a while before we prepared to leave. Getting up, I threw a hail Mary, "Could I see you again?" I surprised myself at the sudden outburst, and simultaneously kicked myself for blurting it out.
"I think I would like that," wafted back as she looked at me. Once again, those eyes found their way deep into my soul and any resolve of keeping my heart protected from a sweet breeze melted like chocolate fondue.
We had our first date, then another, and another. I showed her my favorite hikes, meadows and quiet walks. We shared dreams, fears, long drives and sitting on the porch of my cabin talking about life.
That was ten years ago. I asked her to marry me at Abrams Falls while on a hike. Her response was "I think I would like that...very much." She now sits in the chair opposite me reading by the fireplace, glancing up occasionally to see if I've fallen asleep. I love her. No question about it. She completes me. We still hike in the mountains, walk in the warm summer rain holding hands, ride the parkway along the ridge of the mountain and stare into the star-blanketed sky. Feigning sleep, I mentally pinch myself as I look her way.
Romance? Me? You bet!