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>Red Writing Hood: Flywheel

December 10, 2010

He’s not at all what I expected.

There were others before, of course. I seemed to have a thing for redheads. Auburn and freckles – maybe it was so boy-next-door, clean cut, and cute.

I never loved any of them. Not really. I loved the idea of them, and I loved being loved (if that truly is what they were feeling, though really, I doubt it).

But him – he was different.

Too old for me, too worldly.

Yet still, there was something I couldn’t put my finger on.

He talked funny, his accent both clipped and drawled. Traveling on business seemed so grown-up, so sophisticated. I was barely out of college, barely even part of the professional working class. Tall, and incredibly broad, he took up more space in the room than most guys. Not a redhead, but with a chin that one might find elsewhere in marble.

I never could abide a weak chin. Or, for that matter, slim arms, on a man. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, that first day (if we’re being honest, I couldn’t take my eyes of his guns. They were real, and they were spectacular. Still are.)

When he asked me out, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I still thought him too old for me. Too worldly.

I planned out our conversations in my head, what I would say to the inevitable queries, and “getting to know you.” What kind of music do you like? Classic rock, and a little bit of country, I would reply.

He was reserved as we drove to the restaurant in Palo Alto. Still learning his way around the area, I gave directions. The car was quiet. Trying to fill the silence I asked: “What kind of music do you like to listen to? I could program your radio buttons for you.”

Classic rock, and a little bit of country, he replied. And I shivered.

Dinner was pleasant. Still reserved, he looked shocked when I laughed out loud to his question of the server: What is tofu?

If you have to ask, you probably won’t like it.

He ate all of his meal, and most of mine. I remember feeling surprised that I was having such a good time. By this point, on previous dates, I was trying to figure out how not to go out with them again.

This time was different. He was different.

I still thought him too old for me. Too worldly.

Maybe just while he’s in town. We’ll hang out, have fun. This relationship could never go anywhere.

Subsequent dates, I planned to tell him just that: this relationship could never go anywhere. We’ll hang out while you’re in town, have some fun.

I never meant to fall in love with him.

Subsequent dates I planned to let him down easy.

Somehow, I always forgot to have that conversation. Eventually, I just gave up, or gave in.

I was lost – he was still too old for me (according to my mother) but I didn’t care anymore. So he listened to Pink Floyd and Meatloaf and I still loved Duran Duran and Erasure. Who cares?

He wasn’t at all what I expected. He couldn’t have been more different.

I liked fine art, and classical music, and California wine.

He liked scotch and could watch golf on TV for hours.

I was afraid of my mother, of her dementia. He stopped being afraid of his stepfathers a long time ago. He gave me a spine when I had none. He loved me unconditionally despite seeing, first hand, what I might one day turn out to be like.

And all that reserve? A total front. He is silly, and funny, and he made me laugh out loud.

He still does.

We couldn’t be more different. We speak different languages at times – lots of times – but we’ve learned to translate better now. We’re both volatile, in our own way, but for different reasons. He has helped me learn to control my temper (I don’t throw shoes anymore) and I’ve discovered he has a big soft spot for musical theater.

Where I am weak, he is strong. Where he falters, I can offer a shoulder. When I’m afraid, he usually isn’t. When he’s discouraged, I pull out my pom-poms. Good and bad, weak and strong, tall and short, loud and soft. East Coast and Left Coast, city and country. Happy and sad, funny and mad.

He brings me into balance; he’s my flywheel.

All that is to say, my first love? Well, he’s my only love.
First and last and only.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2010 7:01 pm

    >This is the best writing you've linked up with. Even if I didn't know your story already, I'd hear your heart in your words.

  2. December 10, 2010 9:12 pm

    >First, last and only. I think that is lovely.Stopping by from the red dress club.

  3. December 10, 2010 10:06 pm

    >Hey, girlie! So glad to see you linking up again! It's so wonderful to read about your love – guns and all! 😉

  4. December 10, 2010 10:31 pm

    >So beautiful, Adelle. I love the way that you describe how you fit together, how you compliment one another.I can feel how much you love him.

  5. December 11, 2010 1:41 am

    >Awww! That got me all teary. And I LOVE that photo!

  6. December 11, 2010 4:59 am

    >First, last, and only. So much power, emotion packed into so few words. Beautiful.

  7. December 13, 2010 5:09 pm

    >I've heard your love story so many times (and was part of those "He's too old, but I keep forgetting to break up with him" conversations) but this was so beautifully written that I was enthralled. I love you two and your love story and relationship. I'm very thankful you two have each other!

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