This is the continuing story of Heart Break Winter: Thanks-Give-Me Joey
The Joey’s response was quick as his wit. He explained that he was dressed for winter everywhere else, so why would his feet be cold?
As my intrigue grew, a warm sensation reached my stomach, which had been achy, damp, and cold since Mr. Wonderful disappearance. This was the first night away from home in an entire month since my car had malfunctioned. In the space of this singular high desert winter evening, I had danced, been around children, eaten a meal with other humans, and felt the warmth of the fire and the kind company of nice people. At this moment, Galaxy sat cozily in my lap, as my curiosity towards this new male acquaintance, grew alongside the flaming embers. I was surrounded by a significant accumulation of simple joys which were first aid to my cold heart. I was with friends and I really liked Genie’s friends and her daughter.
The irony of this person arriving to rescue us from the disastrous situation Mr. Wonderful left us with, was present. This irony occurred to me later, but at this time I was in a mild trance as I stared at the shadows of the fire bouncing and flickering on and off of his face, accentuating his green eyes and a large nose, casting a triangular shadow on the side of his face.
After we said our goodbyes and prepared to leave Genie’s house, the Joey lifted up his hatchback so I could stow away Galaxy provisions. I was impressed that I did not have to ask for this detail. Peter-Pan commandeered the front seat before I could get there. Given how he stumbles around clueless most of the time, I never thought he would be so quick to take what I wanted. My plan to steal moments with the Joey was supposed to be subtle, but I found myself commanding Peter-Pan to sit in the back seat despite his spoiled adolescent protests. The Joey. in a quiet voice, but firm tone, ordered Peter-Pan to sit in the back of the car. I was surprised and impressed when Peter-Pan moved to back seat without saying a word. I suggested to the Joey that it might make sense to take me home first, since I live only five minutes away from Genie, while Finesse and Peter-Pan live in the hills of Joshua Tree National Park. I added that because he was driving, the decision was his. To my surprise and wonder, the Joey chose to take Finesse and the Peter-Pan home first. We drove up the hill and into the park and to the dirt road to their house. I became fairly acquainted with the Joey on the way up the hill though my focus was more on Finesse and all the stresses she was facing. The advantages she had reaped from taking over Mr. Wonderful’s use of Mr.Treeman’s car were minimal and now the madness of the dysfunctional circumstances creating more stress. I had no idea how much guilt she was really feeling.
The Joey pulled into Finesse and Peter Pan’s driveway as my mind wandered to thoughts of the time Mr. Wonderful and I had driven there to check on Finesse.
As Finesse and Peter-Pan got out of the car, I told Finesse that she wasn’t alone and how she could count on me to shoulder some of the burden.
As the Joey backed out of the driveway, I felt nervous and calm at the same time. I asked him how he met Peter-Pan and Finesse.
“At the Saloon, or as I call it the Spittoon” The idea of a spittoon is disgusting and revolting to me, so I did not fully appreciate this characterization. My mind couldn’t help but think about how Peter-Pan and the Joey met just after Mr. Wonderful. The Joey must have replaced Mr. Wonderful as Peter-Pan’s bar buddy. I jerked my mind back to the moment and away from thought of Mr. Wonderful.
The rapture of the dark cold winter night and the late hour brought a strange calm over my hyperactive adrenals of the odd connection catalyzing a slow, subtle thawing to the chill of my still guarded heart. Since Mr. Wonderful’s departure, my heart could not imagine feeling this kind of warmth while present with different man. The tight binding of the shards of my broken heart expanded through my entire chest, stimulating my solar plexus while creating a pleasant fire on ice whirlwind in my abdomen.
The conversation had a comfortable ease and my ability to say interesting things while still listening to him was in full balance. The entire car trip to my house, had just enough comfortable brief silences, a natural level of awkwardness one would expect to have with someone new, and just enough connection so that nothing was forced or strained. He told me about dirt biking with his dogs on our many trails as amusing images came to mind. People with dogs win my favor since canines attract dedicated individuals. I was also impressed by his hybrid car that felt like a spaceship gliding through the bitter cold of the infinite desert night.
Had I achieved true Temperance? Had I met someone who could bring out the best in me?
Somehow the image of him sitting by the fire where I had been admiring the tile work, ignited the spark of beholding something beautiful and at the same time strange. I was sitting on the couch with my bunny Galaxy when he came in the door and I only looked in his direction long enough to be polite since Galaxy had urinated on me.
The Joey revealed his geographical knowledge of the odd urban layout of our high desert. He drove on the back-road off the highway that is familiar to locals. I told him to let me know when he needed me to direct him. He only needed help with the last few turns. When we reached my house, he pulled into my driveway behind my broken car. He turned the car off and paused a moment until I asked “Can you help me carry a few things to my door”
“Oh, of course” he responded as if he felt he should have offered to help without my asking. I held Galaxy as he carried blankets and a “diaper bag” to the door.
“You can just put that here, I will take care of it.”
As I held Galaxy, wrapped snug in a blanket, I faced him as he said, “I am sure I will see you and Galaxy again,” As the tone of his voice subtly implicated a question, I widened my eyes as if to answer with a yes while I reached out to hug him. We embraced around Galaxy who was nestled in my right arm creating a barrier on half of my chest.
I thought about the Joey as I fell asleep. Mr. Wonderful had been gone for over a month and though I was still missing him, I had far surpassed all self-imposed expectations of fidelity to him. Though Mr. Wonderful left without even saying goodbye, my heart did not sever ties of loyalty to him in the same abrupt manner for which he disappeared. The uncertainty lingered daily as I knew nothing about what had become of Mr. Wonderful and if I would ever see him again. The only thing with any certainty was that I could not deny the simple truth that Mr. Wonderful nowhere in my physical proximity. My friends, my community, and the potential of those I had not met were physically present.
The mysterious Joey was a testament to my potential to experience attraction for someone other than Mr. Wonderful. I had another testament that my broken heart was still beating to the rhythm of my life.
I didn’t see the Joey for a while, though frequent and unfavorable commentary from Finesse flowed freely and reminded me of his presence in her life. The wonder of the fleeting moment we spent alone settled into the back of my mind, even as Finesse’s harsh critical words made me resigned to disregard any thoughts of him.
Coming Soon The Joey Dance Part 3