Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We Still Dance

Celebrating 20 years of marriage August 24, and we're still dancing!

excerpt from my chapter: THE FRAGILE DANCE

Who are we kidding? When boy meets girl, boy wants sex and girl wants to feel loved. But when the infatuation wears off, we both want the same thing. To be noticed, respected, appreciated. To fix and to help. A companion. Someone to have fun with and grow old with when no one else would have us.

Perhaps the thing we are seeking is what true love is, but seldom do we recognize what is staring us in the face. Perhaps something deep inside doesn’t want to appear desperate yet we desperately seek to be loved. Rather than share a real part of ourselves, maybe we share a fake part so the infatuated encounter remains a stranger in our mind. But are we hiding or have we exposed that we are seeking? Perhaps we believe if we let our guard down, we will be exposed and vulnerable. Vulnerable, not with the stranger, but with this opportunity placed before us to cultivate real protection, safety and love.

The dance of these decisions is challenging enough when our seed is fostered in a loving home. When it isn’t, it is harder to believe, trust, give of ourselves, and perhaps know the difference. The crossroad of these choices becomes fragile as we dance with two left feet.

Who says Prince Charming has to come on a white horse and kiss me awake to a better life? Sure, a princess dress looks pretty but I’m not a fan of bras, never mind corsets.

Rather than lying in a field of wild flowers on a sunny day dreamily waiting to be rescued by a kiss, I sat alone at a table for six in a dimly-lit room which failed to appear romantic. It was more like a dungeon of souls hoping to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, but ready to go home with Mr. or Mrs. Tonight. Divorced three years and meeting Mr. Wrong every time I turned around, I was fed up with men and empty promises. The only reason I was in this joint was to celebrate my sister and brother-in-laws fifth wedding anniversary with an evening of two-steppin’ and shooting pool. As the fifth wheel of the group, I saved our table while the other two couples shot pool.

The day I met my future, I was wearing a blue calico skirt with a white eyelet top and Tony Lama cowgirl boots from El Paso, Texas. He was wearing tight jeans and cowboy boots. His white Stetson hat, from Salt Lake City, Utah revealed his sandy blonde ponytail while his most adorable frame revealed a healthy fit male who bench pressed at the gym. He didn’t ride in on a white horse, but rather buzzed like a bee to honey as he made his way across the dance hall and asked if he could sit down. His demeanor was polite and courteous although not shy as his eyes were bright with life and possibility.

Somewhat intrigued that a man wanted to talk to me, I deemed he looked harmless enough and granted him permission to join me.

My future husband, a seasoned musician, was there scoping out the club to book a gig, not a wife. I, his future wife, was there supporting her family, not interested in making stupid small talk. After a while it occurred to me this guy wasn’t throwing me one line clich├ęs but rather stringing complete sentences together. 
I became hopeful and let my guard down until I felt a hand on my shoulder. The hand was attached to my brother-in-law Bill. Wasting no time, he looked right at this man Curtis and said, “Why are you talking to my wife?”

 Can I tell you, if looks could kill, Bill would be dead and buried ten feet under snapdragons! I mean, seriously, this supposedly real guy who introduced himself to me as Curtis, even knows how to talk talk. What was Bill thinking? But Curtis didn’t flinch and Bill stood his ground behind me as they stared across the table. Then like two long lost buddies they started laughing and revealed a glimmer in their eyes as they tucked away a man-code only they understood.

When Curtis asked me to dance, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds we were not. Well, as he’d pull me close to his chest, I’d push him away at arm’s length. Who did he think he was? He will share; “…I knew she was the girl for me!”

Almost midnight, he asked for my number. How original. Well, certain I’d never hear from this man again I decided he appeared safe enough so I gave it to him. How typical.

Honeymoon Hiking
Honeymoon Hiking

He called the next day and the next and as the weeks followed, we became acquainted through much hiking.

Honeymoon Hiking

Honeymoon Hiking
Divine intervention was sowing seeds in what would soon be our new garden. When he stepped into my farmhouse apartment, he stopped in his tracks. Unbeknownst to me, I’d made one of his favorite meals, beef stroganoff, and put his all-time favorite artist on my turntable. Merle Haggard.
Our encounter was not storybook fairy tale style. 
  • We both came into our union fragile and scattered.
  • Uncertain and untrusting.
  • Yearning and hopeful, but skeptical. 
The proverbial baggage we each carried came loaded with years of broken tools, confusion and heartbreak.
The invisible signs we wore flashed like neon lights in a bar window. 
  • Me, a survivor of abuse.  
  • My dad, an abusive alcoholic.  
  • My future husband, a recovered alcoholic.
The irony of the wound is it drew us like a magnet to the only thing familiar to us. We tried hard to hide from our past hurts yet similar sorrows unwittingly attracted us to the kind of person we tried to run away from. The culture of ourselves.
In spite of following some wrong road signs, we found each other with broken hearts, bruised egos, fractured thoughts and a willingness to grow together to overcome our wounds with victory.
Rather than hold each other hostage with fingers that point, blame, and perpetuate our pasts, we took a risk in hope.


I wasn’t asleep and perfectly posed wearing a princess dress. My lips didn’t glisten glossy red waiting for that kiss. He didn’t come charging on a white horse or wearing a coat of armor. He had no sword to rescue me from the dragon. There were no magic wands or little fairies buzzing about sprinkling fairy dust while floating cupids played the magic harp.

But we had Merle Haggard and a good steak after a hardy hike.
August 24, 1996
The singer songwriter in my soon-to-be-husband wrote our wedding song: “I Stand Before You” 
"I stand before you, with all of my reason 
With one act of treason, my heart gave in to you 
You stand before me, in all of your beauty
Accepting the duty, of life lived hand in hand
You stand before me, I stand before you
We stand before them, cause seeing’s believing 
And now we are leaving, the lonely we used to be 
I know love can break, but ours will stand the strain
Into the darkest night the light shines through again …"
Excerpt from “I Stand Before You” written by Curtis Willey c.1996

We were planted in new soil. Given another shot at it. And with the best of what we had to offer each other,
we believed in our Gardner while the question begged, "As I stand before you, will you dance the fragile dance with me?" 
Perhaps after all, my story is a fairy tale come true.
Honeymoon ~ Presidential Suite ~
Hiked & backpacked the Franconia Range 
in White Mts.
Curtis kept his promise!
Twenty years later,
 he still stands before me, by me and with me.
He continues to be my gift and answer to prayers.


Sheila Bouchard said...

Tammy Sue - I love this - 'Your love story'!! I'm so blessed our paths crossed but more than that, that the Gardner let your and Curtis's lives cross, then become one. Not only are you a writer but you & Curtis are an incredible treasure placed in the potter's field for such a time as this!

Lucinda Secrest McDowell said...

Tammy Sue - this is a wonderful story. So happy for you and Curt - Congratulations! Keep writing and sharing stories, friend.

Linda Loegel said...

Wonderful, Tammy Sue! Now I want to watch your wedding video again to hear Curtis sing the song. Happy Anniversary, sweetheart! Love you.