So, this happened. Viking and I ran away from home for a few days. We went to his lake house. It’s right on the water, isolated, peaceful, and just beautiful. These were good days. Easy days. Companionship was something lacking in my past relationships, and this man and I, well, we have that, a lot of that. One of the mornings, he had to log on to his computer and work from home and I settled in to read a book. Comfortable in the quiet is a thing. I nodded off. I woke up to Viking playing his guitar and singing a soft song to me. In the many moments of the run-away days, this is the most intimate. My runaway days had some exquisite bites of joy, invisible to the naked eye, small simple things, restored me, taught me things about him, great things, and gave me a kaleidoscope view of my past and future. These finely woven moments led me to, what is in essence, a short term mid-life crisis.
I’m trying to think of how I can explain this. I should start with the small things, the ones that took my breath, the ones that he didn’t even know happened, and there are a few. Viking is good with pronouns. He made us a ‘we’. He declared it, and while that seems like a small thing, I have only been an ‘I’ for a long, long time, even in marriages. There was a definite separation of church and state in my relationships, and his unadulterated easing into ‘we’ have this, ‘we’ are doing that, the pronouns count, know that. His ‘we’, our declared togetherness, this unitedness, these words, comfort and fortify me. In another lifetime, when I was married to Tim, he always introduced me to people as Becky, not, “This is my wife, Becky”, just Becky – like Cher, no last name, no relation, no unity, no ‘we’. It was that separate. Viking so easily making us an ‘us’, a ‘we’, declaring a partnership, sanctifying a me and him – at my age it shouldn’t be new, but it is, and it’s settled in me like warm whiskey and I am content. Viking is generous with his words, I learned this.
This is true. If you want to know how a man will love you, look at how he loves his family, be it mother, father, brother, sister, or children. I can close my eyes right now and see this so clearly with the men I have loved. Close your eyes, you can too. We learn how to love early. I’ve never been with a man who had children of his own. Viking has two grown daughters and eight grandchildren. I met one of his daughters and her children during the run away. Two things happened. First, I was nervous, this matters, and I want his family to like me, to be on board for his and my ‘we’. Viking knew this, he knew this was new for me. He stayed close. He kept a hand on me. He made it so easy. He was thoughtful. He had my 6. I learned this. The second thing that happened was I saw how he loves, he loves wide open, and it is returned upon him. This is what stuck with me. I have three grown sons, so I’m familiar with the reservation of emotions in teenage boys. Viking has a 14 year old grandson. When he came in he hugged Viking tight, when he left, too. The boy and Viking talked easily, laughing a lot. It was like this with his daughter and all the grandchildren, but because I know, it’s magic that he has this with his oldest grandson. It takes time, attention, boundaries, enormous love, and much patience to foster and maintain this kind of bond with a boy his age, this is when boys start to drift. Viking loves well. I learned this, too.
The runaway days went too fast, simply because they were so good. My future is with Viking. Eventually, I had to click my heels and come home. It was sweltering in Texas when I had a little mid-life crisis. Stay with me on this. I’ve never been one to think about time in any real sense. I feel young on the inside, I’m healthy, I can rise to whatever physical tasks I submit my body to, and I’m not scared to try and test it. Young on the inside, but I’ll be 50 in a couple of months. The year 2000 is almost 20 years ago. Fuck me, it feels like yesterday. I started thinking about how fast the last two decades have gone by. This led to the next 20 years. I called Viking and told him, in case he didn’t realize, in 20 years I’ll be turning 70, and he 76. He knew. For the first time, I’m thinking about time as the scarce, precious commodity that it is. There is no time for bullshit. No time for fake friends, fake feelings or a fake life. Time just became very real. Holy mid-life crisis. I feel like I got some clarity without the usual crisis markers – sports car, hair plugs, STD. I did, however, make myself a promise. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death. I’m digging in. Going for seconds. Change is coming. My future is within grasp, and it’s time to stretch. Viking and I are a ‘we’, and I’m going to go ‘we’ all the way home…to a red little red cottage on the water.
Go forth and conquer.