I Won’t Back Down

For Fragments of Fiction

“I’ve been tryin’ to get to you for a long time
Because constantly you been on my mind
I was thinkin’ ’bout a shortcut I could take
But it seems like I made a mistake

I was wrong, mmm, I took too long
I got caught in the rush hour
A fellow started to shower
You with love and affection
Now you won’t look in my direction”
Expressway To Your Heart- The Soul Survivors

There are more than a few stories about the experiences we have with the people who change our lives. Part of the beauty and majesty of the world is that we are given a lifetime in which to go find them. And if we are lucky we recognize them for who and what they are while they are a part of our lives and not afterwards.

But sometimes circumstances blind us. Sometimes life gets in the way or maybe it is our own fear of the future and the unknown. I suppose that you could say that it really doesn’t matter what the reason is because once that moment has passed you don’t always get a second chance to try to do it again. At least that is the rationalization that some people use.

Not I. I see the distinction between the two. No I have a perspective that claims that circumstances and timing can  blur those moments and create the appearance of an unmovable object. Yet when studied more closely you often find that there are multiple ways to get over, around or under it. You don’t have to be a Faraday or a Newton to find it.

All you need is time and determination.

“Your love’s a gathered storm I chased across the sky
A moment in your arms became the reason why
And you’re still the only light that fills the emptiness
The only one I need until my dying breath
And I would give you everything just to
Feel your open arms
And I’m not sure I believe anything I feel”
Without You Here- Goo Goo Dolls

I caught a glimpse of Jericho today. For a brief moment in time I found myself staring directly into her eyes. It was unheralded, unexpected and without fanfare but that isn’t surprising for Jericho. The woman tends to glide in and out of the room. If she heard me say that she’d probably blush, but that is ok. I have always been good at bringing that out of her.

The fire and the rain. I told her way back when we first me that where I walk storms follow. She threw back her head in laughter and told me that she wasn’t afraid of me. For a moment I was confused, wasn’t sure whether she was making fun of what. I must have looked away, can’t tell you if it was in sadness or anger, just that I did it.

And then she did something that caught me off guard and completely disarmed me. She put her head on my shoulder, squeezed my bicep once and then took my hand and intertwined her fingers in mine. Such simplicity tore down all the walls that I had erected around my heart and destroyed any resolve I had to stay distant.

It was endearing, charming and exceptionally frightening. To know that someone had decided to accept me unconditionally, to love me without exception and without question was among the most powerful moments I have ever experienced.

But that was then and this is now. Back then there was never any doubt that we would find a way to live the kind of life that others read or dreamed about. We were the couple that you hated. The man and woman who would couldn’t stop smiling at each other. The boy and girl who would tickle, tease and wrestle. The couple who couldn’t keep their hands off of each other.

We were all that and more. We were in love and on fire in the best possible sense of the expression.

And then….life happened. We got caught in a whirlpool of chaos and craziness. Pulled in a dozen different directions we found ourselves pulled apart. Separated by circumstances we found ourselves lost in unfamiliar territory.

We tried to hold on. We tried to keep it all from tearing us apart but life happened and we got lost in it. Mistakes were made. Things that under normal circumstances would have never affected us took on greater magnitude than normal and we slipped further.

Eventually we reached the place where we no longer spoke. The pain of the separation was significant. I was so very angry. I had always been there to protect and care for you. How many times did you see me go to battle for you. How many times did I wade into the thick of it and take on the hordes. I never cared how big or how many because I had your love to support me. No matter how badly I was battered or bruised I would come home to your arms and know that I was safe.

Oh did that fire burn inside of me. Woman, you know how brightly it burned. I waded back into the wars more than once knowing that the battles would keep me busy. Only this time was different. Now I fought to forget and more than once I intentionally bit off more than I could chew. It was part punishment, part crazy and two-thirds stupid. I know the math doesn’t work, but I don’t care.

“Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin me down
gonna stand my ground
… and I won’t back down”
I Won’t Back Down- Tom Petty

After a while the anger and frustration faded and my head cleared and I began to carefully consider the situation.  You used to tell me that you were impressed by how calm I was under fire. Until you came along that was how it had always been.

I couldn’t help but laugh at my own stupidity and with that laughter I began to heal. Not just heal but recognized the little signs you had left for me, the simple notes that told me that this wasn’t forever. Oh, there was no guarantee that there would be another opportunity, but there were plenty of reasons to suggest being optimistic.

But you used to let me see you and I learned a lot about you, about me and about life. And because I know you love your puzzles I won’t say any more than that.

“I thought that I was over you
But it’s true, so true
I love you even more than I did before
But darling, what can I do?
For you don’t love me
And I’ll always be
Crying over you, crying over you”
Crying- Roy Orbison

You never saw me lose a fight. That is not ego talking, it is the truth. So you remember that and remember that I know that the fire still burns for both of us.

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