One of my favorite movie quotes is from the Lord of the Rings.
“I would rather spend one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.”
When I look back at myself as a teenager, I realize I was in love with being in love. The newness of a relationship – the first kiss, the first touch, the first argument – all put together to form the fiery first blush of what I thought was love.
In college, I thought I fell in love. My best friend and I snuck down the halls and peeked in the classroom door to see the guy she had deemed perfect for me. She was wrong, but still we married. It was fiery in a totally different way. We fought, we screamed, we hurt each other. We did things that could never be taken back. I’m just as guilty as he was, just in a different way. It ended soon and badly.
Then, I introduced the same best friend to the guy I thought was perfect for her. He was for a while. Together they had two beautiful sons, who showed me a whole new dimension of love. The kind that wraps itself around your heart and holds on forever. Recently, my friend realized that after nearly a decade, she wasn’t IN love with her husband any more. It broke my heart, but I understood.
In 2001, while working nights in the Emergency Room, the two nurses I work with, decided I didn’t need to be alone. They thought I needed a man. Now, I have to describe these nurses to you for you to understand how laughable the situation really was. The first, we’ll call him Dave, was an ex-Army Ranger. A mountain of a man with thick black hair, graying at the temples, and a beard rivaling Paul Bunyan. He routinely scared patients, which is why he worked weekend nights with me, he could handle the bullshit and drunks. The other, I’ll change his name to Drew to protect his innocence, was over six and a half feet tall, had long hair, and was VERY into martial arts.
One night, I caught them online, switching screens whenever I walked into the room. I was curious, but not enough to take on the big guys. I waited until they were out of the room, each with patients, and took a quick peek at what they were so involved in on the computer. Imagine my shock when I found my picture, along with a description (which was very flattering and only about half true) on a personals site. I know I blushed four shades of red when I realized they had…enhanced my natural attributes.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. They had taken out a personal ad for me, and were screening prospective dates. There were hundreds of messages in the mail box, ranging from sarcastic to utterly humiliating. I waited until they were both in the room and tore into them.
A week later, when we were all on shift together again, they apologized, which amazed me, and told me they had found the “perfect” guy for me. I laughed and told them I thought they were full of it, no one could a.) find me the “perfect” guy, and b.) they dang sure couldn’t do it on the internet.
I had to eat those words just a few weeks later. They, posing as me, emailed back and forth with “perfect” guy, until they were satisfied he was good enough for me, then told me they had set up a date for me the next day. I called a good friend, a very tall, very male friend, and asked if he’d ever heard of “perfect” guy. Not only had he heard of him, he’d gone to school with his brother. “He’s a good guy. What can it hurt to go out with him? One time.”
Okay, I know when I am outnumbered, but I had rules. One: We were going to meet in a public place, with a lot of people. Two: I was bringing reinforcements in the form of my two brothers and the very tall very male friend. Three: I could leave at any time with out without notice.
So, I loaded up my two brothers, one of whom is a multiple black belt and was the youngest inductee into the Combat Karate Hall of Fame, my friend and we headed to the busiest place in Small Town, Texas on a Thursday night. The local pool hall.
There he was, sitting at the bar (that didn’t serve alcohol), drinking a coke, watching all the cowboys and college kids goofing around the pool tables. My friend pointed me in the right direction, snagged a couple pool cues and headed to a table with my brothers. They left me standing, alone, in the middle of an obnoxious crowd. I could run if I wanted too, and the urge was strong.
He spotted me, we talked, and talked, and talked, and made a date for the following night. A few weeks later, I broke the news to him that I wasn’t who’d set up the personal ad and that he’d been conversing with two big hairy men for a month. He was appropriately shocked, then the next night, he showed up at the ER with dinner for me and thanked the guys and shook their hands. He then threatened them if they ever did that to me again.
Six months later we were married, and hubby is the most amazing guy I have ever known. So, Dave and Drew were right. Hubby is the “perfect” guy for me. Next time I’m in Small Town, Texas, I’ll have to go by and tell them thanks one more time.
Cuddles the Cactus Flash Fiction Contest
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