Part 1 of the Story That Inspired It Happened That Night
The story of Mr. Wonderful, began as one of Finesse’s routine help-a-friend-projects. Finesse has a knack for networking and drawing resources together when someone is in need. She posted on Facebook that a friend of hers was leaving Lake Elsewhere and returning to our beautiful desert community of the insane.
My new-found friends were part of a larger pack of artists, creatives, and musicians most of whom are over 40. As characteristic of the magic of the high-desert, I had my own “fab-4” myself, Christa, Trisha, and Finesse accompanied, most of the time, by my bunny Galaxy. Galaxy is an integral part of the pack and Christa, Trisha, and Finesse often think of him as my infant given his similar needs.
My friend and our pack, were in the midst of a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, filled with the magic of pure friendship and fun. Finesse, Galaxy, and I set out for Pioneertown to see our Grateful Dead revival band play. We piled in the car like young groupies, laughing the entire trip through every twist and turn of the windy desert road all the way to Pioneertown. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by all of our friend’s gathered on the soundstage where the band was playing. Our “pack” had relocated for the day, to the wondrous splendor of this bizarre place, where so many old westerns were once filmed.
The day after our adventure to Pioneertown was the Memorial Day Concert. True to the characteristic oddity of the hi-desert, the all day outdoor concert took place in the Joshua Tree cemetery. My pack was gathered around the speakers, which was too loud for Galaxy, so I stayed in the upper portion of the cemetery with the families.
Throughout the day, we talked to strategize a plan to bring Mr. Wonderful to Joshua Tree. We imagined a fun road trip in my car, but I didn’t have enough gas for the trip. Finesse had arranged a place for Mr. Wonderful to live that at the time seemed like the perfect situation. Mr. Treeman, the new roommate, ended up making the trip to Lake Elsewhere to pick up Mr. Wonderful.
I asked Finesse what her friend and former resident of Joshua Tree was doing in Lake Elsewhere in the first place. She said he relocated to Lake Elsewhere for a relationship, but because it ended he wanted to come home. My immediate thought was how absurd is was to relocate just for a relationship, something I would never do. If only I had known that this would be a major factor in my future pains.
The magic of the weekend kept going as if it would never end. The day after our Memorial Day Concert the band gave another performance. This was a nice intimate performance at a charity meal. As the first to arrive at the charity dinner, I met one of the coordinators who was a kind and gorgeous man. Before long, I became both lost and found in our conversation and in his soulful eyes. He was exactly the kind of man I was dreaming of meeting. He was gentle, soft-spoken, long hair going grey, wonderful life experiences, and a long resume of social justice activities. The way he looked at me made me feel beautiful and I was in the best possible state to radiate this beauty throughout the room. This radiant glow would be the catalyst for so many things yet to happen.
Mr. Treeman delivered Mr.Wonderful to this event, to meet up with Finesse. Mr. Wonderful and Finesse had a long history of close friendship. Finesse introduced me to Mr. Wonderful and his eyes shifted gently at the sight of me. I noticed, right away, the crystalline sparkle of his blue eyes, like the way a stream glistens in the sun as it sets. Compelled by some force of my nature, I immediately showed him pictures of my rabbit on my smart phone. Galaxy wasn’t with me, though I was wishing I had brought him. Mr. Wonderful’s response, though not verbal, was positive. I could see the enthusiasm over my rabbit in his eyes and he put his glasses to view the images of Galaxy clearly.
Throughout the evening Finesse took pictures of the ever-changing desert sky that was in the onset of dusk and clouds indicative of a storm. The desert sky is a magical splendor. Mr. Wonderful was in and out of these outdoor gatherings and he seemed reflective as he viewed the sky’s activities.
When I went into the kitchen to see if there was something that I could do to help, the other coordinator, a lady, snapped bitterly at me, which hurt my feelings. Shortly after this odd encounter, I missed Galaxy and became compelled to get inside my car and drive; I went home and scooped up Galaxy and brought him back to the gathering, which by then, was winding down. Galaxy was in his sling and Mr. Wonderful did not hesitate to pet him while catching my eyes as much as possible. The sky, closer to the dark of night in appearance was still a sight that was collectively being savored. Mr. Wonderful mentioned to Finesse that he was going over to the Joshua saloon to meet up with Mr. Treeman.
After vying for attention from the beautiful man, for which I was smitten, I realized that he was likely in a partnership with the lady, who had been so mean to me for seemingly no reason, earlier when I had gone into the kitchen. I found out about a month later that they are actually married.
Before I left the church for home, I noticed by smartphone alert that Mr. Wonderful wasted no time sending me a friend invite on Facebook. He must have “friend-ed” me at the Saloon or the moment Mr. Treeman took him to the hobble where he would be staying. I accepted without much thought. Since joining the pack, friend invites had been constant, so it didn’t surprise me that he took this initiative though it was instantaneous.
In the weeks that followed Mr. Wonderful, in the Facebook world, seemed to be two steps ahead and behind me much of the time. I posted pictures he would be the first to “like.” I would RSVP for an event, he would RSVP seconds later. He had rsvp for a show with the band at the saloon, but like many events he didn’t actually show. I got several pokes from him, though I didn’t notice them when they were sent to me.
In the following weeks Mr. Wonderful shared the aftermath of this breakup openly, on Facebook, all of which compelled to reach out to him. He posted a candid request that he needed a diversion and could we apprise him of local events to fill the void. I thought of an article I had written years before called “The Big-Bad Break-Up” which is about filling the gap a relationship can leave behind. Feeling compassion, I responded with all of the wonderful activities that had been my salvation when I moved to Joshua Tree not knowing anyone at all. I included commentary on what I thought he would like and even offered to accompany him. What he might be thinking about these gestures is not something I thought about or considered.
At Christa’s son Mason’s luau birthday party, Mr. Wonderful appeared out of nowhere. I sat down next to him with Galaxy on my lap. He was quick to affection with Galaxy, who perked his curious rabbit ears and reach his twitching nose forward in response. As he stoked Galaxy, part of his hand grazed my armed, gentle and amorous, sending a warm sensation through my body as my elevated heartbeat reverberated on my chest. I wasn’t sure if this was intentional, so I assumed it wasn’t. What surprised me is how much his touch affected me, not to mention how his connecting with Galaxy touched my spirit.
While making clumsy conversation with Mr. Wonderful, unaware that I was lost in his eyes and disarmed by his touch, I mentioned the band playing at the saloon the previous weekend, how he had posted an rsvp, but didn’t attend the show. His glassy blue eyes widened and he looked stunned as he asked, “You noticed?” His
tone of voice and the look in his widened eyes was just like a little kid who finally received the shiny new red bike, his heart desired, on Christmas morning. In this same outdoor venture, I moved about to dodge cigarette smoke, I also talked with a stunning woman who was intrigued and deeply touched by Galaxy and by Galaxy and I. Under the clueless impression that Mr. Wonderful liked this lady, I opted to get out-of-the-way by repairing back to the living room to be with Finesse, Tricia, and Christa. The next time I looked outside, Mr. Wonderful had disappeared, perhaps somewhere in the desert night.