Well. Let's move along, shall we? This space, this life... the whole deal. Let's just proceed. It's more than time.
Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and you totally should, because why not) are pretty much in the know about recent developments in my personal life, particularly concerning a certain man who has become very, very important to me. And because Kelly has The Cuban, Erin has The Kaiser, Mir has Otto, etc. etc., I am claiming "The Cowboy" as my guy's alias. Because... well, because he is one. I don't lie.
To abridge, as much as possible, a story that has been over a year in the making is tough, but I'll give it my best shot. I met The Cowboy online, in a Goodreads discussion group centered around 18th century Russian novelists. OK FINE THAT IS A LIE. I DID meet him online, but it was while playing an MMORPG. Happy? Shut up. We were part of a larger group of friends and guildmates who played together and quickly became friends outside of the game, as well. He was an ear when I needed one, a shoulder to lean and/or cry on when I needed that (which, let's face it, was kind of a lot), and comic relief that broke me out of doldrums more times than I can count. And once I had separated from my husband, and he had gotten past the raging Wanting To Fly Out Here And Inflict Damage On Anyone Who Would Hurt Me phase, he was a little... flirty. Which I, naturally, discounted, because A.) He lives on the other side of the country, and 2.) He is significantly younger than me. As in measurable by a decade plus. Like, a decade plus most of another decade. I did not take his advances seriously. At first. But I always appreciated his unflagging friendship and support, and his quick defense of me at the drop of a hat, and as time went on, and he persisted (as, I have come to find out, he is wont to do when he wants something), I realized that he did want more than friendship, and really, so did I. I loved him even then, even when we were just friends. He's easy to love. A good guy. A solid guy. The polar (no pun intended) opposite of everything I'd been dealing with for so many years.
So when The Cowboy laid out his thoughts on things, me being who I am, still cautious and skeptical (once burned? Heck. I'd been a billion-times burned) I popped off an arbitrary and seemingly impossible restriction: "If you're still around a year from now, then we'll see." I mean, really... a year? A year out of a 26-year-old man's life, during which he'd be faithful to, and wait on... me to get my act together? No way that was gonna happen. I was setting myself up to be proven as undesirable and unworthy of love and fidelity as I'd been shown that I was for the previous decade. But you know what? The Cowboy means what he says, and says what he means, and he was 100% true blue. I needed that time for myself, and he recognized and respected that, and was always, ALWAYS there, steadfast as ever. And now, a year later, he's HERE. With me. Visiting, for not anywhere near long enough. And I love him still, but more. And he loves me (but don't tell anyone, because that ruins cowboy-tough street cred). And looks out for me. This is someone who actually, honestly, has my best interests, and those of my daughter, at heart. He is capable of putting others ahead of himself. He is fearless, bold, and romantic (again... shhhhh). And, not for nothing, but he's freaking adorable. Let me reiterate: I do not lie.
This man--this man who owes me nothing, really--has been promising for a year that as soon as I'd allow it, he'd come here and help me get my life back in order. And boy, did it need it. This place was a shambles, and it was a perfect metaphor for the condition of my psyche, my heart, and my mind. Chaotic, overwhelming... just too much for me to handle alone, to the point that I was in a particularly stagnant form of stasis. I was improving little by little, day by day, but there was just SO MUCH. There were cobwebs in the corners of my house, my barn, and my soul. The Cowboy got here after a 13-hour redeye flight, on no sleep, met all the poodles, napped about an hour, and then went IMMEDIATELY to work setting things right all over the place. He just took charge, and I, happily and with abandon, LET HIM. Behold the moment of initial assessment which immediately preceded the statement, "I've got my work cut out for me, here."
He had no idea. And this was before he even began dealing with me and MY issues. Thank God there were brief respites for things like turtle races.
The man has worked non-stop here, like a dadgum rented mule. I daresay I've cared for him better than you would a rented mule, but still. WORKING SO HARD. And with every parcel of land that's cleared of rubbish and weeds and miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam from the wreckage of my previous life, every room that is cleared of the remnants of a past, unhappy life, I become freer, and happier, and more and more my self that once was. I needed this. I'm not saying I needed a man to "fix"me, or anything like that. I'd have got there on my own. But GOSH, is he ever expediting the process. I am going to be positively SICK with missing him when he's gone.
Is he perfect? Good Lord, no. He's got a fiery temper on a very short fuse. He's demanding and can be rigid in his expectations of people. He's mad jealous, he's cocky to occasionally unbearable degrees, and for the love of God, he SMOKES. Gag. But is he worth it? Sweet jumping catfish, yes. All that and more.
Because me? I am happy. Like cat-who-swallowed-the-canary happy. Content. At peace. Trusting. I don't think anyone who has not lived what I have lived can understand the enormous value in something simple like TRUST. There is still that tiny part of me, that little voice that comes from years of having my trust turn around and make a fool of me, that says horrible, mean things (my inner voice is pretty much a spiteful bitch, but she came by it honestly through bitter and repeated experience). But then The Cowboy looks me in the eye, and says, with a degree of earnestness that you just can't fake (and believe me, by now, I know fake), "It's going to be OK. I promise." And I believe him, and then I melt temporarily into a little puddle of emotional goo.
The cobwebs are being cleared. Bit by bit and room by room and space by space, inside and out, of my property and my self. And The Cowboy is leading the charge...because dangit, someone had to, and it was taking me forfreakingever. No, I do not know where this relationship is headed. Yes, I recognize that there are formidable obstacles facing us. But I also know that this young man (and really, when you think of him, you need to discount the "young" part and focus on the "man" part, because he's more of a man than most I've ever met, of any age) is, and has been, precisely what I need, to heal my damaged, battered heart, and to help put the pieces of my broken home and broken psyche back together... and that he just plain makes me happy, here and now. Do I wish it to last forever? With all my heart, I do. But whether or not it does, for here and now? It's perfect.