Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Ride In The Rain....

A honey-ism. 
A Ride In The Rain...
As honey and I began our relationship those many years ago, we began like many couples do that are either in or coming out of a failed marriage. Hesitantly...with baggage, preconceptions and expectations that were no doubt skewed by the desires of the heart. Add children into that mix and you have the potential for the very LEAST, there's going to be some fairly severe adjustments for everyone involved. It's messy under the best circumstances. Period. 
Our first romantic moment was actually anti-climatic. It'd been storming for several days and as usual, I was spending a Sunday morning at the dojo trying to catch up on the paperwork and cleaning the facility. The school was closed and I clearly recall my mood as being bleak. I was going though a difficult divorce and felt like I'd failed...yes, it takes two to do that but it didn't change the way I felt. It was nearing noon and back then I was a smoker. As I was preparing to leave, finished for the day; I remember'd that I'd finished my last cigarette on my way in deepened my annoyance. 
Scowling, I gathered my key's and heard a knock on the locked main glass door. I remember stopping and staying inside my office, hoping whoever it was would realize that the closed sign meant just that...I wasn't in the right frame of mind for a prospective client. A few seconds passed and just as I'd begun to hope my ploy had succeeded came another serious of knocks...more of an insistent banging. Grumbling obscenities under my breath, I headed to the door and reaching it; saw my honey huddled close to the building to try and avoid the steady drizzle.
Unlocking the door, I ushered her in greeting her but adding that I was just about to leave. Tj had nodded, clearly nervous (unusual for her) and smiling had blurted. “I was just sort'a driving around and saw your car here...I thought'd like to get some lunch?” She'd smiled again as she finished but I could tell she was clearly not in her comfort zone. As I mulled it over, thinking more about getting that smoke ( I never smoked at the school or in front of students) than anything else, she quickly added. “You don't HAVE too! It's not a big deal or anything...” 
Chuckling because I'd never seen her uncertain about anything before, I'd started to answer but she misinterpreted my reaction as a rejection and started to hurriedly excuse herself. I placed a hand on her shoulder as she started to turn away, saying. “Whoa! Lunch would be great!” Meeting her gaze, I'd grinned, adding that I did need to make a quick stop first for my nicotine habit.
She'd just bought her very first new vehicle a few months before. A white Isuzu Rodeo...(which years later would become our oldest son's first car.) she was very proud of it and honey was not a smoker. I'd assumed we'd just take both vehicles so she surprised me by stating. “Tell you what...why don't we just take my car and I'll bring you back. We can get your smokes but I'd rather you not light up in it. Is that ok?”
As we stood looking at one another, I still recall something in my mind sensing that she wanted...or rather needed to tell me something that was important to her. Shrugging, I'd accepted adding that I could smoke after we ate. Back then, smoking in restaurants was acceptable. I no longer remember exactly where we ate but I do know it was typical to what we have done most of our relationship. Honey had a healthier, sensible and a salad and I had red meat and potatoes in some fashion or another! LOL! Our conversation was, the school, kids and some good natured ribbing about my eating habits and smoking. The rain had picked up and we both talked about how we enjoyed driving in it. The smell...the rhythmic thump of the wipers and especially the sound it on the metal roof. 
Hurrying back to her SUV, we both got in damp and a little chilled. Grinning broadly, she's asked if I wanted to go for a ride and I'd quickly agreed. Being a sheriffs deputy, honey knew all the backroads and this is were we drove. In the winding roads of the Tennessee countryside, traffic was light and after a while, we came to an abandoned gas station out in the middle of nowhere. The rain was coming down in a torrent...pounding the vehicle and blotting out visibility. Pulling in, she'd parked and we both just sat listening to the drumming deluge. Lightning flashed, illuminating the sky as thunder rumbled and boomed in it's passage. 
Haltingly...she'd broached the subject of her past. Telling me a little about her upbringing and some of the tragedies she'd endured. Her feelings of inadequacy...guilt...rage...all of these things came tumbling out. She'd cried..gripping the steering wheel in a iron grip...great soul wrenching sobs that had her shuddering. As I leaned across the seat, I gently pried her hands from the steering wheel and held was all I could do. She was mumbling apologies...embarrassed at her loss of control. I'd heard only bit's and pieces but enough to know that she was in agony...seared by a torment that she usually kept hidden from the world. 
Almost in sync with the storm, as the rain slackened, her sobbing subsided. I could smell her damp hair and the light perfume that she wore. Pulling away from me she'd sniffed, rummaging for a tissue in the doors panel. What little mascara she wore was in ruins...blowing her nose and clearing her throat, she'd again turned toward me and mumbled apologies...a final flash of lightning close by illuminate us both in it's brilliance, the crashing boom loud enough to startle each of us. In that moment, I saw her as I suspect she'd rarely let anyone see her...vulnerable, with a sorrow that was achingly deep. 
Reaching across to wipe away a tear with my thumb, I'd kissed her. Softly...tenderly. It was a brief kiss but as I leaned back I saw her eyes open with surprise and even a little shock. My mind instantly roared into self recriminations...what had I done! I'd certainly breached my role as an instructor and mentor! Shit!! you've done it! 
As all of that raced through me, I started to pull away...sputtering what I'm sure was inarticulate nonsense...when she reached out and pulled me back, returning my kiss with one of her own. It was passionate and full of need, lasting sweet long minutes before we parted; each breathless and full of desire. There'd been no groping...but it's intensity had been unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I was lost in her eyes and wanted more but instead she hugged me fiercely, whispering into my ear that she was sorry before abruptly letting me go and putting the vehicle into gear, heading back towards town. 
It was still drizzling...and I couldn't help but watch her as she focused on the road. I'd asked if she was ok and she'd simply nodded. I'd apologized and she vigorously shook her head, mumbling that it was her fault...she'd been stupid. Although I asked several more questions and tried reassuring her that she wasn't guilty of anything, I got no further response. In time we arrived back to my own vehicle and I remember the swirl of confused emotions that I know we both were feeling...we had ignited a spark but neither of us had any idea what to do with it. 
As I opened my door to get out, she took my hand and squeezed. Locking eyes with me, her's had misted and she said simply. “Thank you.” I squeezed back, replying in kind before getting out and watching her drive away. I really doubted I'd ever see her again...but even then I'd known. 
She'd taken my heart with her that day in the rain.

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