The Prince and the Pauper

ghetto_smlYesterday around 2 pm Harry texted me, “Can you meet me in 15 minutes for a quick bite?”  I was not expecting to see him.  I said enthusiastically, “Yes!”

Today I literally skipped into the restaurant because I saw him and wanted to give him the biggest kiss and hug I possibly could.  And then I listened.  He talked and talked about work, about stocks and the economy.  I had to stop him once to tell him that he is the only guy I’ve ever been with that has ever taught me anything of value.  He’s not always right of course, but he does know a lot.  I like to tease him.  And he’s admitted to liking it when I tease him.  It’s fun.  He can handle it.  He knows I think the world of him.

Sometimes I sit with him in these restaurants and I think…this is wrong.  We should be at home on the couch.  I should be cooking for him.  I should be able to do more to honor him.  What in the world has come over me?  I want to honor this man?  The woman who would not iron any other man’s clothes is practically begging to serve.  But he has little needs.

Harry is a fan of great men.  He loves Napoleon for what he was able to accomplish for France.  He loves fearless leaders like King Henry V. And there is this air about Harry that is dare I say, regal.

He came from nothing.  His ancestors were German and English. Some were Nazis.  But he was the first in his family to graduate college in generations.  A plumber’s son who loved to read books and got them thrown at his head as an alarm clock.  A boy whose first crime was stealing from a library to complete a collection.  He would go on to do other unspeakable things to play the part he thought was his destiny.  But as big as he was a bully he was not.  He tried it out for a while.  It didn’t fit.  He is a giver.  He is a generous helper.  And he helps people in need.

Lately he has no funds to do anything so anyone who needed from him financially has all but disappeared.  He’s scraped and borrowed against himself, against his business.  He’s fought hard, knowing what he’s risking.  And that is the Harry I met.  A slave to his work because if he wasn’t…well…that was not an option.

He once had his little kingdom and doled out his blessings indiscriminately.  I don’t know that Harry.  The Harry I know checks his American Express balance before paying for a meal.  The Harry I know lets me pay once in a while when things are tight.  The Harry I know gives me the only thing he has to give.  His time.

He toils the rest of the time.  Fighting tooth and nail to get ahead of creditors and bills and obligations he wants to honor.  He thinks constantly about improving on what he already has.  He takes power naps in hopes inspiration will come as he sleeps and when it does its magical.  When he needs a break from that he calls me.

Last night he was answering a question I had about college football and I admit I got bored with his answer.  He knows way too much about college football.  So I leaned in to kissed him and I apologized for not being interested.  He didn’t seem to mind.  When our eyes meet…nothing else seems to matter.  Time is suspended for a little while.

Tonight it was gambling vs playing the stock market and I actually was interested in this.  I sat across the table staring at him again…like Pepe Le Pew.  Still. Completely love stricken.   In awe of how I admire him as a person, as a thinker, as a friend, as a business man and leader.  It’s more than romance although that department is overflowing too.  I sat listening to him talk with his hands all animated like.  Enthusiastically telling me about trends, and patterns, and all I could think about was that I could listen to him talk for the rest of my life.  I must have had it written all over my face cause he reached out to hold my hand and started just looking back at me.

I said, “Something in your eyes.”  And then it hit me.  I stopped his explanation of why when the rich are taxed it makes them hold their assets instead of sell, which is bad for the little people like us.  And told him, “I just realized something.  Your eyes, the way you look at me.  I haven’t seen that look in years, gosh maybe since 2002.  That’s 10 years!”  And I started tearing up. “Slimeball never looked at me like this. When I looked in his eyes I saw desperation and desire. But not this.”

He said, “I want you as a partner. You were only a prize to him that he wanted to show off.”  Harry has a way of making me feel valued.

I remember when my husband looked at me with kind, loving eyes.  It made me feel so good to know I made someone happy like that.  And I’ve missed that feeling so much I almost didn’t recognize it.  But now I have it with a man who I actually respect.

“I love you so.”  I saw his lips say.  I blinked and the tears welled over and dripped off my cheeks.  I’ve never cried so many happy tears in my life as I do with Harry.

I texted him earlier today as I sat working with my feet under my covers in bed that I wish I could work at his office on his couch.  I texted, “I wish you’d let me, I’d be happier.” He’s only 10 miles away and we are both working on computers.  I would probably even be more productive if I had to get up in the morning and show up somewhere.  His response was perfect.  It was absolutely not what I wanted to hear but also exactly what it needed to be.

“Maybe soon.  The money is coming in the next two weeks.”

I genuinely asked, “That’s great but baby why do you need money for me to work on your couch?”

He replied, “Distractions baby, need to eliminate them :)”

See this is what Harry does.  He tells me no in the sweetest ways possible.  He makes me feel loved even when he’s delivering bad news.

Today we sat in his neighborhood restaurant and he said, “Livvy, I think today marks the beginning of the upswing for my company.”

I said, “I’ll drink to that!”  And we raised our glasses.

Time will prove what it will.  All I know is this is a precious time for Harry and I.  He’s perhaps at the lowest he’s ever been and he hasn’t shut me out from pride and that means he trusts me to see the Harry hidden from the rest of the world.  And I guess in that I understand why he revels in the moments he gets to tell me I’m beautiful when I have no make up on.  He gets the Livvy the world doesn’t get to see.

And I’m completely in love with my pauper Harry who gives me hugs instead of purses and shares the sordid details of his life with me instead of sanitizing a version he thinks might be more acceptable.  He is my prince now as much as he will ever be.

He will not give himself this credit but I know this to be true.  He is brave in so many ways.  He is willing to do battle where most men would cower and retreat.  He is brilliant in how he thinks strategically both short and long-term.  It’s uncanny what he has,  because what he has can’t be learned.  It’s innate.  It’s in his blood.  It’s his gift he’s been given by God.  And no man I have ever met has come close to the potential I see in Harry.

I believe he can do anything.  I believe he will get his kingdom back and he will once again be a prince in the world’s eyes too.  And the experience he’s had as a pauper…the struggle, the sacrifice, the discipline it has required will only make him a better, kinder, wiser leader.

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