We thought we were bulletproof. We had both proven time and again that we were survivors. But in truth, we were far from bulletproof. We bled, hurt, felt, cried and died just like everybody else.
He was a man with a mission, a purpose. He was living his boyhood dream. In his eyes, he’d grown up to be a superhero like the Green Lantern, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and Captain America before him. The only difference was he didn’t have superpowers. He was just a man. He was just a man with a big, warm, caring heart that saved scores of lives everyday, often at the expense of his own. He was just a man who wouldn’t have it any other way. The fear I felt was a lot like a gallstone that wouldn’t pass. In the pit of my stomach lay the fear of the unknown, the unseen, the uncertain. It was a fear that no amount of bile, antacid, stomach acid, laxatives or natural waste elimination could eradicate from my system.
But I knew that asking him to quit his job was not an option. I knew he wouldn’t. I knew the job was about more than just money for him. While he was a young child, an uncle that he adored died in a fire. It was the result of an explosion at the manufacturing plant he had worked at for years. Sebastian wasn’t on hand to save his favorite uncle, so instead he made a commitment to save the world, one fire at a time.
The things women did to impress men. I mentally kicked myself for agreeing to take on such an endeavor. Agree, nothing. It had been my idea! Here I was, I barely knew this man, and I was already trying too hard to impress him. That was a bad sign. But of course, that was my problem, as well as the problem of a lot of other women I knew.
It was definitely a gender thing. We learned it as young kids. It was reflected in the games we played. At an early age, boys were taught to take, take, take. Look at sports for instance. Boys chased each other and took what they wanted—the football, the basketball, the soccer ball.
For girls, it was different. We played with dolls. We invited each other to tea parties. One lump or two? Give, give, give! We played teacher, nurse, wife. We nurtured, healed, gave. We wanted people, particularly men, to accept us so badly that we gave and gave until it hurt. We gave until we no longer remembered what we wanted, what we needed. “It’s better to give than to receive,” had become our motto . . . our creed . . . our mantra. And of course, the more we gave, the less we received in return.
"Lacy, you know I love you. No one else matters to me. You're special. You're my heart...you're home. I havent felt like this before. What we have is like food, nourishment for my soul, and I need you here."
We were both right. We were both lucky. Although, I think I fared better in the deal. Wynn expressed his love for me in ways I'd only dreamed of. It wasn't the trips or constant flurry of activities. It was the little things, like him calling just to hear my voice, surprising me with love notes in unexpected places, and always instinctively knowing what type of mood I was in...but mostly, it was the way he looked at me. When we were together, he looked at me like a life-long blind person experiencing the miracle of sight for the first time, admiring everything with awe and amazement. I'd often wake to find him gazing at me like a mother taking in the miracle of her newborn. The fact that he loved me was in a way its own miracle. The way he looked at me and cherished me meant everything to me. How could he not know that I already had the only piece of the world that truly mattered? Him.
Standing before me was Satan in a sweat suit, pure evil disguised as my ex-boyfriend. The charming young prince I had been with had turned into the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Devil incarnate. I kept waiting for his head to start spinning. I kept waiting for slimy green projectile vomit to ooze from his lips. I studied him closely and waited some more.
I knew that being a fool for love was par for the course, but there was a limit. I believed that women were allowed only so many stupid points per relationship, depending on their tolerance level for crap.
Doesn’t call when he says he will -- minus twenty-five points. Cheap, shiftless and lazy? Minus seventy-five points. Ignorant, violent or crazy? Minus one hundred points. Doesn’t support your goals, dreams, ambitions and aspirations? Minus one hundred and fifty points. Doesn’t notice when you change your hairstyle, lose weight or grow a third eyeball in the middle of your forehead? Minus two hundred points. Lying, cheating, snake-in-the-grass? Minus three hundred points. Perfume on his person that ain’t yours? Minus four hundred points. Acts like a jerk after you sleep with him? Minus five hundred points.
I had used up all of my stupid points and then some with Sebastian, and while my head knew it, my heart didn’t.