The Following is the Part 2, continuing story of Temperance and the Devil
A wave of compassion washed over me every time Mr. Wonderful posted something on Facebook. For some reason, something deep inside me wanted to reach out to him with both arms. Then on a typical Sunday afternoon, a strange Facebook interaction with Mr. Wonderful happened and provided me more clues, though I admit I was still quite oblivious. Mr. Wonderful posted something odd and scary to me about being a libertarian. It did not sound characteristic of him. This gentle, soft-spoken, kind, mature, benevolent man could not have such misguided beliefs. He portrayed himself as kind man of heart and charity, so I was not willing to believe him associated with such a subversive political affiliation.
I posted in his comment section, asking if he was familiar with the libertarian party and their scary, survivalist, misguided activities. Within moments, he engaged me in a personal message chat, and thus I learned more about him. He was terrible at online chats, yet it was still clear that he really wanted me to understand him. He defended his position firmly, but at the same time tried to make light of it. It was clear my approval was precious to him. I had struck a curious cord. These factors were jumbled and unclear and his incompetency with Facebook chatting, not to mention my own, didn’t provide much clarity. This interaction was puzzling, momentarily, but I honestly did not give it too much thought.
Several weeks later, our Grateful Dead revival band announced on their Facebook page that they would be doing a show at the Lander Brewery. I had never been to the Lander’s Brewery, so I yearned to be a part of this venue the moment I read the announcement. I was determined to attend this show, even though I reasoned that I would have many chances to see them play closer to home. My gas tank was too low to for the trip to Landers, so in a surge of creative thinking, I reached out on Facebook for a carpool. My zeal increased, as I imagined a fun road trip with new-found friends. In my Facebook post, I was specific with every detail that I wanted to split gas with as many folks as my car could fit. I included an offer to pick up anyone from the Yucca Mesa area on the way to the brewery.
Within mere seconds, of my carpool request post, Mr. Wonderful responded on Facebook chat. He made it clear that he would pick me up and drive me to the Brewery. This arrangement did not seem like the carpool I had requested, causing me to wonder if he was simply being a gentleman, or was he altering my situation into a date. I was only beginning to put the pieces together enough to wonder what this evening meant to Mr. Wonderful. Was our plan, restructured by him, considered a date, despite my specifics of carpooling and gas sharing? He was being a gentleman, but that was not the whole picture.
I would find out later that the house he had moved into, at Mr. Tree Man’s place, is actually on the way to the Landers Brewery. Instead of the logical plan of me picking him up, he drove all the way to my house, in the opposite direction, so that he could drive me to the show. This was a significant number of miles and gas consumed so that he could be in the driver’s seat.
In the midst of all these hazy reflections, I heard from yet another interested party, who wanted to come along as a carpool participant. Of course I welcomed her, knowing that I was bringing a date on the date Mr. Wonderful had orchestrated. I phoned the interested third-party, Melanie, to invite her and it turned out that we had tons in common including history with my cousin. My adrenaline was high, as I dressed for the evening and put on my makeup. My anticipation traveled up to my head, causing me to feel dizzy and a little disoriented. This same scenario had happened many time in years prior. A male friend of mine would assume that a friendship based outing to be a date with me. My change of venue, like including others, would cause an upset, often resulting in the male friend pouting in awkward disappointment on his part. If this were to happen with Mr. Wonderful, the entire evening would be uncomfortable and without an escape route.
Mr. Wonderful actually passed the test, with the highest score possible, adapting fully to my reversing his change of venue. He arrived at my house very late, as he had explained via Facebook chat that he had fallen asleep. I was seconds away from giving up on him. I had actually written him a note and left my back up cell phone for him to borrow. The note said that I couldn’t wait anymore, but I hoped he would go to the show anyhow. He pulled up just as I was about to leave.
He approached me, with his characteristic soft-spoken manner, apologizing profusely with a longing in his eyes for forgiveness. In haste, pressured by the fact that there was a third-party waiting for me and anxious to leave, I told him, with haptic eagerness, about Melanie coming with us. He acted as a gentleman, pleased and willing to pick her up and have her join us. Counter to his plans, we went in my car with me at the wheel to make room for Melanie. Within minutes of driving away from my house, my entire body all but trembled with anticipation, as his longing for me was a strong force entering my soul like a silent whirlwind. Now that he was right next to me his feeling were crystal clear. He noticed my gas tank’s low level and with his characteristic soft-spoken gentle firmness, suggested that we stop for gas on the way to the show.
It took everything in me to drive safely, and when I inquired by phone with Melanie, for directions to her house, I could not retain a single word. My tongue vibrated as it trembled to say to Mr. Wonderful that my short-term memory was suffering with age. As it happened, Mr. Wonderful retained all speakerphone information and guided the way as my attentive copilot. His credibility was growing.
Mr. Wonderful impressed me, when he listened and retained the complicated directions to Melanie’s house. He knew the area better than me, though I was blown away by his ability, ten years older than me, to retain information dictated only once. I was filled with far too many adrenals. I was filled with nervous anticipation about how Mr. Wonderful would receive Melanie. My phone conversation with her provided a strong indication that she is a transgendered woman. He passed this test by treating her with the same chivalrous kindness as myself. His warmth was clear and present, which shot my adrenals and elevated my heart beat and body temperature. I am not sure how I was able to drive us safely. In short, I was really starting to like Mr. Wonderful and this was entirely unexpected and I was not prepared to process being courted in this manner.
When we arrived at Melanie’s house Mr. Wonderful gave her the front seat and sat in the back seat. He sat quiet as Melanie and I talked becoming closer acquainted. When I pulled up to the gas station, he proceeded to buy and pump the gas and would not let Melanie give him her committed contribution. He also said that he would drive us all back if she and I wanted to drink, and that all drinks were going to be at his expense. Given how he was treating my date Melanie, his approval rating reached a new height.
As we pulled into the brewery and I parked, it was one of the many times of the evening that is especially beautiful in the desert. The sun had sunk out of sight, yet still providing enough light to illuminate the Joshua Trees and the endless surrounding hillsides. The stars became visible one by one. Mr. Wonderful managed to steal a precious moment with me, and in doing so managed to take a gentle, but firm, grip on my heart. He put his hand on my back, then moved in close and with his other hand he pointed to the sky as he whispered into my ear the constellations just above us. My love for astronomy was touched like an angel’s sacred blessing. He had knowledge of something precious to me. Somehow he knew to share this part of himself with me in the most intimate way possible, with an amorous whisper, as if I was the only one in such a vast universe who mattered. This was the bridge in the gap of political and spiritual belief that, previous to this moment, our moment, that until this time had seemed too wide.
As we entered the unpretentious brewery, we were greeted by our pack, Tricia upfront, excited to see us and as it happened very excited to see myself and Mr. Wonderful together. All eyes were on us as, while both his eyes were on me.
In my mind I pondered my suspicion of Mr. Wonderful seeing this outing as a date. On this date, I did the driving and brought a date of my own. I felt lucky and confused at the same time and all my head could do was spin and my feet could not feel the solid ground down below. I followed Tricia into the bathroom, so that I could confer with her about what was happening.
“I am nervous, because I have a strong feeling that he sees this as a date. I wasn’t sure beforehand. I invited Melanie….I brought a date on our date!” I exclaimed.
Tricia looked me right in the eye and matter of fact replied “Yes, of course he does. He likes you. He thinks you are gorgeous.”
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