When my ex was in high school, his mom was walking home from the market one day and was followed home by a pit bull. It was a stray. She tried shoeing it away but instead of taking off after she got into the house, the dog planted itself on the porch. Eventually, she let the dog in. They made flyers and got many phone calls from people claiming the dog as their own. But there was something very different about this pit bull. Her name was Sam. And she was gold in color and had gold eyes. She didn’t have the coloring of a typical pit bull, or the stereotypical personality. Call after call, described the wrong dog and eventually the calls stopped and the dog became the very best one they ever had. Sam was the sweetest, friendliest, and smartest dog who could also bite your face off if she wanted to. She had the instincts of a killer but the heart of a lover. Most people walking home with a strange, stray pit bull close behind would have called animal control. But they gave her a chance. And what they found out was she was not what she seemed. She was everything a pit bull could be. Strong, powerful, and dangerous. But her heart was full of love.
I remember when I started dating my ex, Sam would get riled up and her hair would stand on end, and she’d growl this amazingly loud and scary bark. My own instincts told me to curl myself into a ball of protection. But my ex learned that he could play with her, and lunge at her, and she was safe. Always was. She never lashed out at her family. Strangers who approached the house, or gave her reason to be wary were definitely in danger. She could kill if she wanted to. But we were always safe with her and perhaps even safer because of her.
Sometimes people aren’t what they seem either. Sometimes they can appear like this great family man who has lived a boring, quiet life and is absolutely harmless, and yet he can turn out to be someone who has the capacity to lie over and over and then be hurtful on purpose. And sometimes a man can look hard, and cold, and scary on the outside but be a gentle soul.
Mercenary Guy has proven to be a surprise at every turn. No doubt he has seen his share of brutality and violence. He has played a part in scenes I can only imagine because I won’t even let myself watch those kinds of movies. When he rolls up his sleeves he made a comment about his tattoos and I challenged him and said, “I thought you didn’t regret those”. But he was thinking that maybe they would make a difference to me. Maybe I would put him in a box, because of his job and the way he looked.
Of course I did. When he first asked me out to the movies I just didn’t think I was his ‘type’. To which he replied, “What do you think my type is?”
But the question I was asking myself was, “What is my type?” I knew the answer. Not him. Not a man’s man. Not someone who’d I’d expect to find at Hooters picking up the first girls with big boobs.
But so far he is crushing all the stereotypes. He is protective for sure. He is aware in a way no other man I’ve hung out with has been. Of the surrounding and the people. It’s interesting to watch him watch everything. He has this hard front that breaks down very quickly. And before he knows it he is snickering like he did back in high school. He remembers the boy he used to be, who was shy and only went on dates if the girl asked him. And a smile comes to his face that lights up the room.
In just a few hours we are laughing and he says, “Do you think if we had been interested in each other in high school we would have hung out?” And I said, “Nope.” And he said, “Yeah that’s what I thought.” We were sitting in a fast food restaurant scarfing down french fries after a walk on the beach. I leaned over and he kissed me. I thought, “It’s a good thing this isn’t high school.”
He is nothing like what I expected. It’s nice to have surprises. It’s nice to have the first kiss be perfection. Perfection. It’s nice to have this rough and tumble guy who has had life come screaming at him have the willingness to be vulnerable.
I think I’m going to give him a chance. No, I know I am. And I know for a fact I’m going to enjoy myself getting to know him. Instead of coiling up, I’m grabbing ahold and seeing that not only will he not hurt me, but I just might be safer with him than anyone. I’m not going to keep him waiting out on the porch for very long.
He is working a 16 hour shift tomorrow, so he went to bed early tonight. And before he fell asleep he was deliriously talking of love. He and I are both smitten. Captivated. And smitten. And falling in love is kind of like that. Once it gets rolling it’s hard to stop. Like deciding once you get going on the sled that you really don’t want to go down the snowy hill. You can dig your heels in and scrape the snow with your fingertips. But once that sled gets momentum there is no stopping it. By sheer force it will have its way.
He is on his way out of the country for a job soon. No more sled, no more snow.
I mentioned to him in chat that I was a music nerd. That I even liked disco and Barry White. On our way home from the beach he reached for his CD case and that all familiar baritone started playing. I looked at him and smiled, he smiled back and said, “I own two CDs.” I was floored. Just the night before as I lay in bed wondering what this night would be like. I consciously thought, and even thought to write about it in this blog but regrettably didn’t, “If he breaks out some Barry White…I will know that this is not just a date.”
I guess things are not always what they seem. Sometimes life can surprise you. Even shock you. And sometimes, life keeps getting better.