I only own one pair of snow pants. They are lime green with holes, stains and suspenders. They don’t match my coat and one of the buttons is broke.
The first time we went ice fishing he responded to what I thought was a snow pants catastrophe with, “Green pants are real good. Just bring your smile. I’ll bring the rest.”
I packed an extra coat, socks, and a scarf because I was afraid that I’d get cold on the ice and start crying. Naturally as a grown woman when I get too cold, I cry.
What I forgot to pack that day was the barbed wire fence which protects the fragile parts of my heart. For years I hid behind that barrier because my heart had already endured losses that I almost lost myself to and I couldn’t imagine voluntarily submitting myself to the wrath of [...] dating.
Oh, even the word makes my blood curdle, and brings my swallowed iced latte back to the back of my throat. Excuse me while I vomit.
Dating is like letting a burglar into your home for a glass of wine before they put on a mask and run out with your peace of mind, except mine drank Bud Light. Cheers!
He was handsome. The kind of handsome that had green eyes with matching amber rings hugging his pupils. The kind of handsome that listened to me ask a dozen questions covering eight topics in about four seconds only to respond with, “Which one of those did you want me to answer?”
None. I was just pleased he listened.
He was the kind of handsome that didn’t care if my hair had been in a snow cap all day and matted to my skull with six layers grease, or freshly washed and smelling like Suave’s mock ocean breeze.
He was kind, and gentle, and patient; and
I wasn’t afraid because he was the kind of handsome that made me feel safe.
Like when I thought everything was going wrong, but he made me feel like everything was probably going to be actually okay?
I’m about as smooth as peanut butter before it’s made into peanut butter, which is actually just peanuts. Yeah, I’m about as smooth as peanuts. So, our first date went something like this, “Look, I think you’re adorable, but we work together and I’m afraid if something goes wrong I just… wait, you think I’m adorable too, right?"
Of course we are.
Before he walked me to the front door I made him promise he wouldn’t kiss me because I was afraid. Then one day we watched a movie on his couch and propped up on an elbow he looked down at me. His eyes met mine and then glanced at my lips; and like a loon in the forest he began his descent with confidence and ease.
Naturally, I pulled the blanket over his face and rested his head on my chest whispering, “Yes, but not yet.”
A few weeks later he teased me about my gas tank being “more empty than it should ever be”. He leaned across the center console, leaned into my space, and in shock pointed out that the gauge was below E as if he was concerned that I’d run out. Psh. I don’t run out of gas!
Well, except for the one time, but the wind was against me! Everyone runs out of gas when the wind is against them.
As he lingered on my side I looked at him and about as gracefully as peanuts launched into the air from a bag that was pulled open too hard I kissed him!
Then, just to make sure it counted, I kissed him again.
I said in the beginning that sleepovers were wrong, but he was the kind of handsome that made falling asleep to a movie seem pert near all right. The first night we walked to his bedroom I paced in circles like a cat at the end of his bed while rubbing my arms thinking, “This is a bad idea. This is a bad idea. Seriously, Fred, this is a bad idea.”
“Are you nervous?” he interrupted.
“What? No, I’m not nervous. I’m just getting ready that’s all.” With nervous laughter, more pacing and a look of defeat I sighed, “I’m a little afraid.”
He pulled back the blanket, opened his arm, and tapped my spot invitingly with his hand. I hesitantly tucked myself into his side and in a moment it was like I had never, ever been afraid.
And whoever says that was a bad idea was right because over night I went from a girl with determination and drive to being completely satisfied with never getting out of bed again.
We went on walks, cooked food, watched movies, and never once caught a fish, but we laughed. The moments when we laughed are the ones that I treasure most because although listening to the lub-dub inside a chest is nice, trusted moments of vulnerable laughter are priceless.
“To love is to be vulnerable.” Right?
Whether I’m just young and naive or too easy to please, or maybe I’m exactly how someone in their twenties should be; I fell in love. Not love in the sense that the way he made me feel was something to behold, but rather the sense that I could desire his best. To will his good.
But vulnerability isn’t easy for someone with a broken heart and although he was handsome, his once love broke him and he is afraid.
So, as abruptly as this is about to end he parked outside and said he was too stressed to be more than friends; which I would understand if I could, but I can’t, so I assume while all along I was packing my smile, he did not forget his barbed wire fence.