Last October, I was recovering from thyroid surgery and pining away for a man who couldn't love me like I needed. Pandy came to stay with me for a couple of days, to help get my head out of my ass and keep me happily entertained. With yet another recent snipe from Bounder, we talked at length (ad nauseum) about what my heart wanted and needed.
Watching movies in the midst of some giggly crazy that always seems to rule our world, Pandy named the next Big Cat to impact me: Rango.
Rango would come from the west. He would rescue the princess when she freaked out and couldn't do it herself. He would be afraid but refuse to walk out on his own story.
Rango would also be big; my ideal was 6'4, 240 pounds, blue eyes, dark hair but balding and shaved, western-European descent. He would be smart and a little geeky, funny and compassionate, respectful and gentle. He would be intense and look at me like I'm precious. He would laugh as loudly as I do and totally get my batshit.
He would not be an alcoholic, and he would not be afraid to love me. He would not hesitate.
Every date I had and relationship I started, Pandy and I would debrief and debate whether or not that one might be Rango.
When she and I went to the beach in April, she continued pressing me in her Practical Magic way to name what I wanted, based on what I'd already had.
I kept dating.
On May 30th, I received a message on one of the dating sites I'd been trying for ages. The guy was a decent match, very cute, 6'5, and he was asking me about my writing. The conversation went back and forth for a couple of messages, and then I dropped it and forgot about it.
School, kids, work, my grandmother's death. And, as has happened so often in the last year, there was the inevitable back-and-forth with Bounder. I had a couple of dates, but nothing that was quite what I was looking for. I finally (yes, finally!) got Bounder out of my heart. Queen Frostine and Peanut and their kids came to visit for a few days. With so much hectic happening, I decided to screw dating and just focus on school and the kids.
But then last week I received another message from this guy.
"So I've been matched with you in two different places. Knowing that you're not into developing dialog through chat, how would you feel about meeting me for a drink sometime this week or weekend?"
Oh, hell! I thought. I totally blew this guy off for no reason. And I love to write-chat. Seriously? How rude of me!
I agreed to meet for a drink that night, but I also knew that if it didn't go well, I would be done with dating for a while again. He told me he'd be the tall guy in the Superman baseball cap and that he'd be hard to miss. I replied that I was an Amazon with a Wonder Woman tattoo; there was no way I would miss him.
Of course he was late. I was a few minutes earl. I was sitting at a pub table when I messaged the Castration Committee at 8:37.
"My 8:30 drink date is late. You know how I feel about this."
"He better have one hell of an excuse!" Pandy commented.
"There is no excuse! Release the Cuisinart!" added Moonshine.
Queen Frostine is always so direct in her assessments: "Nope. Next!"
But then came a text from him: "I'll meet you inside, assuming I made it to the right place. It's warm out here!"
I was trying to respond to let him know I was already at a table, when I heard a server greet a customer. I stood and turned to meet him at the door when I saw him round the corner.
I caught my breath and watched him do a double-take.
He had been sitting in the 90-degree heat, waiting for me because he was right on time. Three hours later, I'd agreed to go out with him on Saturday night. And Friday night. By 5:30 the next afternoon—after all-day messaging with him—I'm texted Pandy:
And he is. Undoubtedly.
He got to me by 10:45 Friday morning. We didn't separate until very late Sunday night.
He's from Texas, though he has lived all over. He is 6'5, 235#, shaved head, gorgeous blue-gray eyes that flicker like a storm approaching over the ocean. He kissed me in the park under Independence Day fireworks. He bought two new Doctor Who shirts while he was with me at the mall, including one that is just like Max's favorite shirt. He totally encouraged my need to Instagram the absurdities in my world. We laughed until we couldn't breathe, and we talked for three straight days.
And while I don't like comparing men and relationships, how did he stack up against the Pandy-induced wish list?
He helped me cook dinner, and he cooked crepes for me for breakfast on Sunday. I watched him clean up spilled cat food from the kitchen floor. I lost my wallet on Saturday, and he drove me on Sunday to pick up the boys in South Carolina and paid for the gas and food and fireworks for the kids, because I couldn't. He met my sons and my ex-husband at the same time.
He saw me immediately, clearly. He has lived amazing adventures and wants more, but nothing is so adventurous to him as the possibility of me.
Rango listens to me intently, like my voice and words keep him alive. He is holding nothing back. Every emotion, deep and true, is mine to see and touch. It was he, in fact, who looked me in the eye—not a text or a phone call—to tell me for the first time that he loves me. To my face, with no hesitation.
And from the very first, he bested the kiss that I thought would likely never be topped.
He brought me flowers and a CD when he came for me. He held my hand and breath-sang to me—a country song that, for so many reasons, would have otherwise made me want to stick my fingers in my ears.
Rango is enormous. He has worked to overcome his own weight and health issues and understands mine intimately. His hands and feet are bigger than mine, and I touched his feet with mine the first day, which the Castration Committee knows is a big damn deal for me. He is loud and gregarious, patient and indulging. He picked me up and spun me around and kissed me like no one ever has before.
More importantly, he is present and available and willing. He holds my hand and rubs my cheek constantly. He texts me in the pre-dawn hours while I am still sleeping to tell me he loves me. He sends me links and pictures for things he thinks I will find interesting, and he sends similar tidbits for the boys, who both said he is awesome. He plays my favorite game of sharing poignant songs, back and forth, trying to explain our heads and hearts through music. He is taking me to meet his friends this weekend. He talked to Pandy on the phone and is planning to go with me to see her in a couple of weeks.
He looks at me like no one ever has, and he tells me I am precious to him. I can see and feel my worth to him in every single interaction, in every touch and kiss and look and word.
I had all but lost hope that I would ever find what I staunchly believed had to be out there. I knew in my head that the law of averages said it was likely to happen, but my heart just couldn't connect and was losing faith. I questioned over and over what I had done so wrong in my life that I didn't deserve to have the good I knew was looking for me just as hard as I was looking for it. It felt like my heart was dying.
And in walked Superman.
I am overwhelmed, and I am relieved, and I am grateful. Yes, to know that I was right and to get something really good when I needed it, but also because it's him. It's this man, who is so wonderful.
I see his specialness. I see those unique qualities that set him apart from other men, hiding behind the dork glasses and the badge on his chest. His strength is amazing, but his heart is just as strong.
While it might have been too much for other women, I'm an Amazon princess. I have my own enormous strength, my own muchness that has been too much. I have my own, invisible transportation and don't need him to fly me around, unless I've misplaced my driver's license.
More importantly, we see the humanity in each other, the imperfections and the frailty and the damage that led us to one another. We know we only have so much time, and we have each wasted enough having to rebuild from one destruction or another.
Had I gone out with him in early June, before letting go of Bounder, it never would've worked. I would've thought he was too nice. I wouldn't have thought I deserved something this good. I wasn't ready to accept a blessing.
But I asked for him. I dared the universe to send me something very specific, and just when I thought it couldn't possibly happen, I got what I needed when I needed it most.
THAT is the magic I was looking for.