Freedom is always comes at a price, the return comes after the pain when I retrieve my soul….C.C. Silsbee
As much as I love you, I must act on the love I have for myself and let you go………C.C. Silsbee
I ran through the desert night, further and further from the pain ……I ran and I ran desperate for water…..worn out, I ran and I ran further and further…..I ran until I reached an oasis….I ran through the oasis and I found me……I looked to the Galaxy and found my way home…..C.C. Silsbee
As a characteristic of late July and August, inland areas of the our bone dry California landscape are vulnerable to wildfires creating an insurmountable scare. This year the wildfires were burning thousands of acres close enough to see in the air and breath. It was orange outside and breathing was painful on the lungs. I was terrified of the fire spreading to Joshua Tree or fires starting in Joshua Tree.
I was in a panic mode given the fire that had destroyed my entire life years before and was I felt terrified of losing my home. The fact that I was starting an intimate relationship with someone wonderful made me feel almost guilty. How could I feel such love with so much devastation closing in on everyone including the two of us?
In my natural surroundings my beautiful baby Flycatcher tweets were transitioning out of their nest. The previous year the
chicks had left the nest one morning by the time I went out to see them. This year, I saw them test their wings for a couple of days first, as they called out to each other. There was a ringleader sibling among the four babies whom the other three chicks looked to for guidance. They made baby-flights out of the nest, within the Joshua tree, testing their wings gradually, talking with each other with every hop and flap of their tiny wings. It was bittersweet to watch, given how the firefighters were struggling to contain all the fires so close to us. Tracking the daily lives of these chicks was having a beautiful cathartic effect on me. Over several days I watched the adult Flycatchers build the nest with the familiar high desert debris with Galaxy’s fur shedding and wool from my house. I knew the babies had hatched when I heard their chirps coming from the nest and after a few days their tiny beaks poking out of the nest awaiting their next meal. With each day more of the birds could be seen from below the nest and I had a wonderful view from the latter that I positioned for filming their daily growth and activities.
My baby hatchlings fledging drew me out of a depressive episode and renewed my faith and hope. This hatching and infancy directly correlated with Mr. Wonderful and my developing feelings for each other.
Mr. Wonderful showed his appreciation within moments of my daily photo and video posts of my growing tweets which made me feel like he was part of the whole cycle. He also revealed his incredible connection to wildlife which I would experience first hand in many of our quality moments together. Mr. Wonderful was always just a step behind all of my posts of photos of Galaxy and the horses from the rescue ranch. His love for animals would be clear, endearing, and a well-defined path to the depth of my heart. His love for Galaxy filled my heart with an inexplicable joy I had never experienced from a man.
A couple of days after my conversation with Mr. Wonderful where I had retracted my cautionary actions to cut short our courtship, I got up and had my coffee. As the coffee and the cocoa enhancement were taking effect throughout my entire my nervous system, I went outside to check on my baby birds who had been testing their wings out of the nest. The outside was literally orange from the effect of the wildfires that now seemed as if these blazes were growing and closing in on the community and threatening my house. Another shift in the natural world was the baby flycatchers extending their wings further out of the nest. On this bizarre morning they were still testing their wings outside the nest and exploring life just outside the tree. I found them perched in different places in the tree and resting on the fence. They communicated with each other as the ringleader made the first daring flight outside the tree as the other three watched and prepared to follow. I was worried about how the wildfires might affect them in this transition, even more than I feared for my house and Joshua Tree as a whole.
Later that afternoon, Mr. Wonderful engaged me in a Facebook dialogue where I expressed my fear and how bad the air quality was affecting me. I told him how scared I felt, to which he replied “no please, don’t be scared” He let me know that the air was significantly better at his place. He invited me over and told me to bring Galaxy. He told me how the house was unfinished in detail which I merely skimmed since all I wanted was to see him, be close to him, and feel his arms wrapped around me. His location could have been anywhere and still exactly where I wanted to be.
I was excited and scared at the same time as I packed several bags with Galaxy’s toys, frozen water bottles, herbs, veggies, and hay. Considering the level of passion between us, I prepared to spend the night, while wondering if things might be moving too fast.
I arrived with the duffel bag style animal carrier Patricia gifted to us over my shoulder with Galaxy comfortable leaning against the side of my waist. I expected a passionate embrace filled with eager relief that had been anticipating our arrival with an anxious excitement. I had extended my heart past the safe zone by agreeing to abandon all doubts surrendering body and soul to him. I was there in his kitchen prepared to stay in person and for real. Instead, he let me inside and immediately went to the sink and filled a large dog bowl with water. Clearly, it was Star, the Tree Man’s dog bowl, but I had assumed Star was with Mr. Treeman. I was perplexed and felt the passionate, flowing whirlwind in my body turning into a frustrated stone.
“Is Star here?”
“This is for Galaxy”
My heart was warmed and the passionate whirlwind was once again creating a hurricane throughout my entire body. His immediate thought was the welfare of my rabbit which took priority over his passion for me making my love for him that much more powerful.
My rabbit was also his second thought. After he put the water bowl down in front of him, he went to the fridge and brought out the carrots. Galaxy was on the floor exploring the new place we were visiting. Galaxy always makes himself comfortable when we visit outside our own house, which is unusual for rabbits. Galaxy has a curious sense of adventure and adjusts immediately to new environments which makes it easy to take him everywhere.
Mr. Wonderful got down on the floor on the floor rug with the carrots and with an affectionate tone called Galaxy over to him. Galaxy responded by following the sound of Mr. Wonderful’s sweet voice and the smell of the carrots. Mr. Wonderful was encouraging with the gentle quality rabbits respond to in a positive way. He hopped over to investigate the smell of the carrots and Mr. Wonderful was equally enthused to be hand feeding him.
Mr. Wonderful showed me around the beautiful property pointing out every species of bird’s nests. It was abundantly clear that he loved animals with the same passion always have felt. I knew Galaxy loved him and his efforts to connect with him cast a spell on me that was more exhilarating than I had felt in a very long time. Mr. Wonderful’s feelings towards Galaxy went beyond appreciation. He was treating him as part of my package, as if he is my son, welcoming him into his home and making sure he was happy, feed, and had plenty of water.
As Galaxy decided where his designated spot would be in the corner by the wood-burning stove next to the glass door where he could see outside with his sighted, intact eye, Mr. Wonderful and I sat together on the couch. He could also hear our voices so he could make himself comfortable. I had also noticed a box full of pine cones that I knew he would eventually discover and investigate.
I rested the small of my back on the couch arm and asked Mr. Wonderful if I could put my feet on his lap, of which he responded. “Of course you can” He rested his hands on my feet and intermittently stroked them with his thumb and fingers. My contentment and comfort was almost overwhelming. It was hard to believe that I was exactly where I wanted to be with the person I wanted to be with; the same person I had endured a five-year dry spell for the purpose of finding a man like him. The relief of sexual touch deprivation overwhelmed my senses, all but took my breath away and made my stomach churn. I was enveloped and wrapped tight in the euphoria and the exquisite pain of being in love.
My house rabbits have filled the void of love in my life and have protected me from compromising my standards in relationships. I never suffer the longing for relationships, good or bad, as long as I have my house rabbits. A whole new level was obtained being with Mr. Wonderful. He was embracing not only me, but also fully embracing the most precious creature in my life, my greatest love. I was no longer the woman with a rabbit, but without a man. Galaxy was loved by both of us and thus he was our rabbit instead of my rabbit.
I turned my stretched out body around so that my head was on Mr. Wonderful’s lap and propped my feet on the couch arm, as Mr. Wonderful made sounds of pleasure and placed a hand on my cheek and the other was stroking my hair. We continued to talk and his hand continued to explore the parts of my body that were within reach.
The continuing story of Temperance and the Devil will be available as a complete Ebook May 30th, 2017. Meanwhile the story of the Desert Diva and her Galaxy will continue bi-weekly! Stay tuned for pictorial How We Met TheJoey .
By way of some mystery guy code, a fresh drink was placed on the table in front of me. Tin-Man and Mr. Man collectively offered to finance another margarita and simultaneously jumped up once they convinced me to accept. When confronted with the initial offer, my response was that I was driving, therefore I could not drink anymore. Mr. Man’s quick response offered a multitude of answers to my dilemma. He would drive me home; he would take me wherever I wanted to go; he would ensure that I made it home safe, and above all I was in his sober and capable hands. Finesse interjected a response to Mr. Man’s heroism by mentioning that we were invited to go to J&P’s for our usual after party. Mr. Man turned her way for the information and then turned his head back in an instant to fixate once again on my face. With soft questioning eyes, he said “If that is where you are going, then that is where I am going. I will go anywhere you are going. No matter where it is, if you will be there, I will be there.”
As Mr. Man made his declarations, including the promise to be my designated driver, Finesse giggled with hysterics at his direct, poignant, and bold pursuit of me. In this moment, she dubbed me a cougar and made wild cat noises while flapping her hand, like a paw, at me. As the tequila portion of my margarita singed my tongue in passing, I felt the soils of the cliff’s edge crumble beneath me, gravity pulling my body further down towards an unknown abyss. Even souzed, one of my closest friends noticed how enamored Mr. Man was, in my presence, clear as day, in the dark desert night. How could I deny this infatuation knocking my equilibrium off its axis?
To regain my balance, I responded by suggesting the four of us head over to J&P’s place in one car. Within the corners of my mind, I reasoned that Finesse and Tin-Man were at least one safety net in addition to all of our other friends. I felt the pulling motion of my entire person swept up into something that I was not given the time or opportunity to fully assess before being carried away by the whirlwind.
For the rest of the show, at least one of Mr. Man’s eyes would be fixed on every portion of my body, as the minutes after midnight became hours. The table the four of us shared was far from the dance floor, yet as Finesse and I were dancing, my body felt the undertow of Mr. Man’s eyes hinged on my every move. Not even the crowd, all around me, distilled his penetrating gaze. This could have caused an unsettling discomfort, in my chest, had it not been so honest and for all intent and purpose harmless. The band played their last songs, as Tin-Man and I finished our drinks clinking our glasses together between swigs.
As Mr. Man and I continued to talk, while I drank, he kept a firm grasp on my every word as if every phrase was a life-preserver. His eyes remained wide, like he was afraid I would disappear or escape if he blinked.
As our conversation continued and his fascination grew, I noticed a deformity in his right hand. Instead of asking if he injured his hand or if the malady is birth defect, I found myself telling him every detail of my hand injury, as if I knew I would be fully understood. Despite how young he was, there was no doubt he related to my limitations and even proved himself an authority.
Camouflaged in his blanket jacket, he had half an arm with half a hand. The temptation to touch it overwhelmed my still hands, though I didn’t, since I did not care to patronize him or make any physical overtures he could interpret as sexual. The truth is, I find deformities fascinating. Anatomical differences, such as his, are like rare art, beautiful and intriguing, something unique, and sacred to behold. I am certain this is why I found him compelling despite his age. My heart warmed from typical winter frigid to tepid, as I looked into his wide eyes and examined his disfigured body, while trying to be subtle and not seductive. In an effort to cool my warming heart, I continued to force logic and reality, into my mind, regarding his age.
I could feel so many of my firm beliefs erode, like the crumbling cliff below my unsteady and trembling feet. My enjoyment of Mr. Man, his countenance, and our conversation did not irritate me as it should have given that he was only 21. At this stage of my life, I find people in their early 20s, especially male, irritating. He neither annoyed or caused irritation.
As the alcohol seared my already spinning cerebellum, I tried to focus on the fact that he had only recently reached adulthood. In juxtaposition, with this brand new adult, was my adulthood spanning longer than his entire life. If this night had happened only four years earlier, he would not even be able to consent to the desires he was expressing with blunt and candid conviction. Looking at his driver’s license and learning that underage IDs are now vertical instead of horizontal, should have been a jolt more powerful than anything, but he did not take his eyes off me long enough for me to notice.
Blinding myself to the obvious fact that he appeared, dressed, and acted 21 was impossible. At the same time I never tried to justify my attraction to him with any absurd cliques like ‘mature for his age,’ or ‘he and I spiritually the same age.’ I could never live in the sort of denial that would enable me to lie to myself in this manner.
Nonetheless, I was caught off guard; In my world, I don’t enjoy keeping company with anyone younger than 40 other than family. Anyone in my life under 40 is either family, or the offspring of my peers. I could not escape reality; this young man was young enough to be my son. My nephew, the closest person to a son of mine, was only two years younger. I could not imagine bringing any relationship with a 21-year-old to my family.
Even in an inebriated state, there was no denying these facts in my mind. My body, at this point, had no idea what would happen and the eruptive sensations yet to come.
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