When I rescued myself from Uncle Sam and arrived in Haines, full of hope and ready to start over in a life of love, I realized it was one of the most pristine settings I’d seen to date, so it was only logical one of the first men I’d meet would end up being the man custom designed for me, my soulmate, and ultimate life partner. Romance. We were surrounded by towering, snow capped mountains, gently flowing clear blue, hours-old glacial water, and ambitious cottonwoods and alders, reaching for the high Alaskan sun with bright green branches, eager with the excitement of warming spring, It was the perfect setting for a love affair to bloom. Sexy, bearded Alaskan manly man river guide trainer and skilled carpenter and the newly freed Chinese speaking, sultry latin dance instructor slash wounded vet turned wandering gypsy future river guide fall in love as he teaches her to read water, row a boat confidently, rescue swimmers, and most importantly, how to love a man unconditionally without sacrifice.
And it did happen, almost exactly that way.
We just didn’t know it yet.
Better stated, we weren’t ready for it yet.
Now don’t get me wrong, I DEFINITELY wanted the man I knew as Binger in my life. I couldn’t stop thinking of him, watching him, or looking for him, no matter the time or place. That didn’t mean I was ready to expect him to feel the same, nor that I was ready to admit to him my feelings.
That was over two years ago.
I had a lot of healing yet to do. A lot of quiet moments to have staring at the waterfall across the inlet from my cabin. A lot of Rita loves Rita time. So, when he approached me at the Pioneer Bar asking if I was interested in anyone in town, I answered with a quick and final, “NO!”
I answered the same way when he looked at me in disbelief when I responded the same to his following question, “Really? NOBODY? ARE YOU SURE? Not ANYONE?”
It took the entire summer, winter, and following spring for me to catch the memo I missed that day. The realization came all at once, the same day I got back into town last year when he not only accepted my offer to have dinner together, but at dinner asked me to sail from AK to San Francisco with him.
Wait..What? Huh? Really?
Mmmmm…I bet he’d be sexy on a sailboat….
And in an instant it all came together. Sailing together? Small sailboat, just us (and the man who owns the sailboat)…
Holy crap. He wants me!
Even after that supposed moment of clarity, I didn’t quite get it.
Binger showering? This is a BIG deal! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
And suddenly Binger was in my life.
Our first date was the second showing of the children’s play, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, preceded by an unexpected dinner at the Halsingland Hotel. It was natural, easy, and fun to be with him watching the kids prance about the stage in their costumes, reacting to the dark humor of the plot. (It was an absolutely brilliant show!) We sat side by side, our elbows touching, our legs brushing here and there like old lovers, without shyness. We glanced at each other often, bright eyed, enjoying the show and each other’s company.
This past Monday, we relived that night.
Well, sort of, but this time it wasn’t Charlie and the Chocolate factory, and this time we came with the benefit of knowing we are inseparable soulmates, understanding that we love each other openly and unconditionally, and realizing that we have nothing to hide or defend from one another. I’ve already explained to you our lifestlyle in Simply Living Simply Loving (If you haven’t read that piece, read it now!!!!). We’ve been in Haines now for five weeks, and this past Monday was the first time we’ve gone to a restaurant for dinner.
We ordered one bottle of wine, one duck confit salad with shaved red onion, candied walnuts and gorgonzola cheese tossed in a blackberry-balsamic vinaigrette, and one hand cut ribeye steak with wild mushroom-red wine butter, parsnip-potato puree and sautéed greens dinner. We shared all three.
The two of us sat shoulder to shoulder at a table for four, hovering over the same plate, which we split down the middle in advance to protect John’s food from my appetite, and spent the evening laughing, loving, planning, brainstorming, and remembering; all while looking out at the low snow line on the mountains that seem to grow from the placid water beyond the dock. We toasted to our love; to the simple fact that the Universe made us for each other, and to the beginning of the rest of our lives together. It was a fantastic dinner overflowing with great memories of our first awkward moments, the ones that make us chuckle about how we could have been so blind to something as glaringly obvious as being soulmates.
We even shared wearing some of the wine I spilled towards the end of the bottle.
After dinner, we made our way back to the Chilkat Center, where we sat swaying, hand in hand to the twice Grammy nominated blue grass band, Blue Highway.
We danced, bounced, hummed, and laughed our way through the concert. It was a perfect celebration of a return to where it all began, Haines, the Halsingland, and the Chilkat Center. It was a simple reminder of our love for each other, for music, and for life.
And so, I thought to remind you…never take a moment for granted, for it’s never too late to relive love’s beginnings, until, of course, it’s too late.
Take advantage of the time you have; don’t forget, TOMORROW’S NOT GUARANTEED!