Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You gotta love an air show

I mean, really. You just gotta. It's flight and might and history and power, and what's cooler than that?

(By the way, this post was to have some GORGEOUS pics in it, but they're trapped in my $1500 computer-paperweight at the moment. Ranger is a brilliant photographer. Maybe I can update with them later.)

My house sits on a big hill, overlooking the area where the airport runway is. When I take flights from there, I can see the back of my house from the runway. So, when we heard the airport would host a big air show, we were overjoyed. When we heard it was $20 a ticket for one day (it was three days long), we were overjoyed that we could just use our lawn chairs.

And so we did. It started on a Friday night. The same Friday that Ranger and I argued. When the dust settled, he asked if I wanted to go watch the fireworks at the air show. I asked if he wanted to watch them from my backyard. It was a date.

Ranger arrived with his camera. I've mentioned before what a shutterbug he is. We watched a World War II bomber circling overhead. My ex is a WWII plane buff, so I learned a few things like what a B-17, a B-25, and a B-29 look like. This was a B-25. Mitchell. I'm proud of myself for knowing that, actually.

We all ate dinner outside. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Yum! As the sun started setting, we settled into our lawn chairs, with pieces of Black Forest Cake, and waited. We saw the planes going up, but we lost them in the darkness.

Suddenly, streaks of light blossomed across the blackness of the sky. Planes left brilliant trails of color and fire, dropping traditional fireworks along the way. Different type of planes, different sizes and different speeds. Astounding! This went on for an hour or so. Ranger took some beautiful pics, leaving the shutter open to get a different effect. They look like dragons over our mountains.

Throughout the evening, he constantly touched me in reassuring ways, saying "I love you very much," in every small moment. He uttered promises constantly, knowing I was unsettled by the day. "I promise, I'm never leaving you again," he said. "I know better now. You've shown me a better way."

See, here's the thing. It's what's made that day pivotal to us. Ranger learned how I argue, and it's very different from anything he's ever experienced before. As a result, he's amazed by how it changed us, and he's amazed by me.

In his past, arguing meant being belittled and reminded of his mistakes, being made to feel stupid and unworthy of forgiveness and love. It meant being stomped into the ground until he submitted to the will of another. Submit or be punished. And anything you said or did was a weapon to be used against you another day. He's learned to duck and cover, to run away until the storm blows over.

With me, the storm gets worse the longer it's let to brew. By worse, I mean I start feeling abandoned, and that hurts me and pisses me off. Insult to injury, and the hole gets deeper.

But when I argue, even though I might be angry and/or scared, I still have the ultimate goal in mind -- how is this best resolved? How can this be salvaged? What do we learn from it? How do we change and grow, together. I want us both to arrive at the same place, where our anger is soothed and we feel we're moving forward from what we've been through.

"I'm so not used to that," Ranger told me. "But I understand it now. And it makes me love you so much more. And I'll never scare you like that again. I promise you, on all I hold holy."

In all this, I see how he's been hurt. I see his fears and his vulnerabilities. I see how he needs to be stronger. But he also sees my hurt, my fears, and how he can make them better or worse. The realization that he really does have something new and different here, with me, and that he almost threw it all away is a big "wake up call" for him.

We had begun to take each other for granted. We would go several days without seeing each other. Now, we seem determined to make sure the other one feels special in each day. We seem to have crossed a threshold, and made it to a new level of understanding each other.

Saturday morning, I woke early and lay in bed, thinking about what was happening with my relationship with Ranger. We were still treating each other tenderly, as though the wrong word or touch might break the other one. I looked forward to spending some time with him that day, watching more of the air show. The Blue Angels were going to fly that day.

This is a busy town, I have to say. In addition to the air show, we also had a car show of some 200 cars in the downtown area. Drama Queen was determined to get Son to the Fruita Fall Festival, in nearby Fruita, CO. She and Son officially met at this event the previous year, but truth be told, Son would rather watch football on TV.

And we had Ranger's #1 priority for the day: The Greek Festival. The Greek Orthodox Church was holding their annual festival, with a whole menu of Greek food. Ranger has a special love affair with Greek food, but we don't have a Greek restaurant here. So, today, we'd get our fill of baklava and gyros.

My phone rang. "Good morning," said Ranger's sleepy voice. "What are you doing?"

"Laying in bed, being lazy," I said. We talked sweet nothings about wanting to be curled up together in my soft, warm bed, watching the Food Network or the Travel Channel (our favorites), and planning our day together. Two hours later, we were still doing the same thing. And I loved every minute of it. I love these kinds of domestic fantasies....especially with someone who loves the same fantasies and really wants me in them. The only thing I'd love better is to be in the same bed, having a cozy start to our day together.

"Sweetie?" he said, drawing my attention from the show we were watching.


"I need you to know," he said. "I'll never hide anything from you again. I'll never run from you again. I'm so sorry I did that. I know better now. I should have known then that you're different, and you wouldn't have judged me like that. I understand better. And you've shown me that we can stand and fight together."

"You really scared me," I said. Truth be told, I was still scared.

"I know," he said. "And I'm really sorry. I promise to never scare you like that again."

I could hear my family stirring. The smell of breakfast cooking. I reluctantly hung up the phone and got myself ready for the day. Ranger was doing the same thing, on his side of town, and getting ready to come to my front-row-seat backyard.

With such a busy weekend, this town still hasn't managed to get information out very well. We couldn't find a schedule for the air show anywhere. To go in person would cost $20 per person. Can you believe that? I mean, there's seven of us, including Ranger and Drama Queen. So, $140 to go walk around the airplanes and watch what's in the sky. And that's for just one day, and not the whole 3-day show. Ugh.

So, we pulled up our chairs on the backyard hill and waited. We watched a bi-plane, a wing-walker, various military jets, and the WWII planes. There was a P-51 Mustang flying side-by-side with modern fighter jets. Too, too cool. And they'd all fly right over my house! The kids ran all over the hill, trying to see where they were coming from and where they went.

Then, we had a break. Looked like everyone landed for lunch. So, Ranger and I took off for the Greek Festival. We stopped at the ATM to have cash enough to get one of everything. We were prepared to bring back a veritable feast of Greek yummies, and wait for the rest of the air show.

We got to the festival site and parked, walking up the street hand-in-hand. We met the owners of the mailing centers where he works. They asked how his son was doing.

"So, you didn't have to leave town?" they asked. I was puzzled. Then it dawned on me. I was hearing the story he told to cover his sudden departure the day before.

"No," Ranger said. "He's all right. He has a broken leg, but he'll be okay. They decided I didn't need to be there. And they decided the other driver was at fault."

He turned to me. "I forgot to tell you. My son was in a car accident." I reacted appropriately. As we walked away, I asked about the story. "Actually, it's true that he was in an accident," he said, and told me the details. "He didn't break his leg, though. He's all right. They just needed to see it as an urgent situation."

I understood, but I felt bad. In all the stress Ranger and I went through the day before, he was also dealing with a crisis with his son. I wish I'd known at the time, but I suppose he didn't have a chance to tell me that, amid all my panic.

Then, we entered the festival. The smells from the "food court" were amazing! We filled our plates with one of everything available. Sometimes, two of what was available. It was amazing!

And I was a little daring, too. Ranger showed up with a small cup of a clear beverage. I could tell from his grin that it was not water. It was ouzo. I've never had ouzo, but I like licorice, so he thought I might like it, too.

I knocked it back in one swallow. The burn was tremendous. My stomach toyed with the idea of rejecting it....but then my tongue went numb. I think my stomach followed suit. Ranger just laughed at me and handed me a breath mint.

At home, we divided our haul onto two plates and returned to the backyard. Just in time.

The Blue Angels roared overhead. Ranger abandoned his plate for his camera. I'll really have to post pics here because they were so close. Sometimes, we could see the pilots as the planes went by. The roar as they approached our hill was indescribable. I felt the power through my blood, in my bones. I threw my head back and closed my eyes, letting it all course through me. I opened my eyes to find Ranger watching me. "I love you," he mouthed, in the din.

Ranger took pictures of the planes, the formations, the pilots, the kids, my folks, and me. Hundreds of pics. I really need to rescue them from my stupid laptop and post some here.

Eventually, we returned to our mini-feast. Ranger was stuffed and satisfied. It was a glorious day, and I was sad to see it end.

The following day, Son and I were driving up to Aspen to attend a College Fair. Drama Queen wanted to go, too, but Son refused to invite her. He wanted the time to be between us, mother and son. I was touched! Things have been so different since his oral surgery.

I woke up that Sunday morning in the middle of a dream. I don't know what it was about, just that Ranger and I were together somewhere, as it faded away and the morning light invaded. My room was chilly. The window was open and a breeze was blowing the trees. It was a good dream, and I was enjoying the residual emotions of it...when suddenly....

WHAM! It felt like my heart was seized in a powerful grip of panic. I was flashing back to that Friday. The argument. Trying to find Ranger. Afraid of what he might do. The heartache. The panic. The fear. I started hyperventilating, and sat up in the chilled air to catch my breath.

I've never had a panic attack before. I've never had an emotional flashback like that before. I don't like it. I went to the shower and cried. This is where I go when I don't want anyone to know I'm crying. And the odd thing is that I wasn't really sure why I was crying, just that I really felt like I needed to. I don't like crying, either.

I got ready for the little trip Son and I were taking that day. It's about a 3-hour drive. He was getting ready while I went to get gas in the car, and snacks and drinks for the trip. I called Ranger and asked him to meet me at the store. He left a package of baklava at my house, and God knows it wouldn't last the day if left with my family!

I was looking at the display of cold beverages when I felt his breath on my neck. I smiled. He wrapped his arms around me from behind and kissed my neck. We chatted as I tried to find the snacks my son wanted. The panic attack sat in the back of my head, though. My eyes felt puffy still. I was worried about it. And Ranger could tell.

"Babe, what's the matter?" he asked. "You seem distracted. Something's wrong."

I sighed, and I told him about my dream. Then about waking. Then....

"And then all I felt was how scared I was the other day," I said. The tears were welling up. "And how I thought I was never going to see you again. And how you were leaving and not fighting for me. And...."

"Baby,," he was saying, hushing at me. He cradled my face in his hand and wiped my tears with the other. "No, no....don't be scared. I'll never, ever do that to you again."

"But I don't want you to think I'm just rehashing and making you 'pay' for it again," I said. I knew this had been a problem and I didn't want that perception. I couldn't explain what happened that morning, but I know he'd rather know about it than not.

"I don't think that," he said. "I know I scared you and that you need to know it won't happen again. It won't. I'll make sure. I know you're different than anyone I've known." He paused. "The weird thing is that I think we're closer now. I've never had that happened before. Argue and get stronger. I didn't know it could work this way."

"You need to know," I said, leveling my stare at his eyes. "Thinking I'm better off without you is never the best option."

He nodded. "I know that now. I'm never leaving you again. I swear. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, and that's worth fighting for."

And for a few moments, he held me, kissed my head, and quieted my fears.

Right there, between the cereal aisle and the meat department.


Ronjazz said...

I hope so, honey. We all deserve the happiness that we dream about... you are no exception. You just keep working it out... you never know where it might lead!

Blogget Jones said...

Thank you so much, Ron! You're very sweet. I'll keep working on it, for as long as it seems there's something worth working on!

:o) BJ

DFTF said...

I argue the same way. I want to keep going until resolution or a solution to the problem is found. I'm also hurt when someone refuses to work on that with me.

The air show sounds glorious. :-)

Blogget Jones said...

DFTF -- Exactly! And I don't want the other person to feel beaten up by me, if that makes sense. It's something Ranger is certainly not used to, and it took him by surprise. Still does, but in a good way now.


Sparx said...

What a great post... I really hope it all works out, it sounds like a massive, massive couple of days, and a happy ending too.

Real Live Lesbian said...

"In his past, arguing meant being belittled and reminded of his mistakes, being made to feel stupid and unworthy of forgiveness and love. It meant being stomped into the ground until he submitted to the will of another. Submit or be punished. And anything you said or did was a weapon to be used against you another day. He's learned to duck and cover, to run away until the storm blows over."

I completely understand this. I used to run, too when I first met my girl. I loved her so much that I couldn't bear to think of that happening.

I think Ranger is just as lucky as I am to have found someone that loves like you do.

Hang on to it! It's the best thing in the whole world!

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

Oh my! What a couple of days you have had! I am so glad that Ranger is still around and that he realized what the two of you have is real and completely worth fighting for - and worth fighting for in a real, adult, constructive way!

The air show sounds like so much fun - I posted a picture of hubby a few weeks ago at the airport in Montrose - he has another shot of him standing next to the Blue Angel on the tarmac! I have said it before - I can't wait until the kids are a little bit older and we can start exploring the state - the western slope has so many fun things to offer!

Fire Byrd said...

right there between the cereal and the meat dept..... by the time I got here I had goose bumps and then laughter at the sillyness of the venue.
I am just so glad that this is happening for you, you so deserve it after all the heartbreak.
And the bonus of a day out with your son.... your cup runneth over!!
big hugs

Blogget Jones said...

Sparx -- Thank you! It was quite a weekend....

RLL -- You're too sweet. Thank you! I told Ranger the other day that I'm thankful to have found someone who LETS me love like I want to. It's a wonderful feeling to be that open!

F&F -- Well, you have a friend on the Western Slope when you all make it out here! And I love the airport in Montrose -- too cool about the Blue Angels! And I'm glad Ranger has stuck around, too. :o)

Byrd -- The sillyness is just divine to me. I love how those things happen. And the day with my son turned out just glorious. It's been a long time since we had something like that, just the two of us.

Thank you!
:o) BJ