Saturday, 13 December 2014

How I Met Your Father (part three)

* Part three of our love story. Part two | Part one*

Cowboy

"So, uhm, how was the drive?" I asked, butterflies in my stomach. Richard's steady blue-eyed gaze made me nervous.
"It was fine. You know what I would really like? A shower. Could you point me in the right direction?" 
"Yes, of course! Let me show you where everything is." I inadvertently glanced down, and realized for the first time how I looked: old shorts, dirty legs (had I shaved today? No, I don't think I had!), the cotton sweater with the funky smell (why, why had I worn that old stinker today??). I was sweaty, probably red-faced, and I had the sneaking suspicion that hay was sticking in my hair (it was). 
Extremely self-conscious, I tried to inconspicuously smooth my hair back as I was leading him up to the house.

After showing Richard the downstairs-bathroom, I flew up the stairs to the second bathroom and sprang into action. I shed my dirty clothes, yanked the elastic out of my ponytail and a brush through my tangled hair, and hopped into the shower. While soaping up and carefully shaving my legs, I was humming - I couldn't wait to go back downstairs to get to know him!
As I was blowdrying my hair I agonized about what to wear - I had nothing that was appropriate, nothing! In the end I settled on jeans and a simple top, pretty much my uniform back then.


By the time I got in the kitchen, Richard and his three kids had unloaded some stuff from their camper, amongst them a bottle of rum and a 12-pack of Coke.
Rose, Anne and Bernd were there already, glasses in hand, and I accepted the proffered drink gratefully.
That first evening was spent eating, drinking and swapping stories. Most of the time, Richard did all the talking, and I was only too happy to listen to him.

He told us how he had ended up in Canada (a thirst for adventure, a restlessness in Germany, and a yearning for living a life of hunting, fishing and wilderness revelling), and how he now lived on a hobby farm with horses, dogs and birds.  "I work in Vancouver, because that's where the money is. But I like to get away from the job site for a bit, so I usually have lunch at a restaurant. Vancouver has the best food in the world! Great sushi. Do you like sushi?" he directed this question to me. "Uhm, I've never had it. What exactly is it?" Yes, that was me back in 2002. Oblivious to the deliciousness that is sushi. I also couldn't quite grasp the concept of eating out every day. Craziness! In my family we only ate out at customer's restaurants, maybe once every couple of months. Being a student at university, I didn't have the funds to eat out with my friends - all we ever did was go to cafes or pubs.

Richard continued telling us tales of hunting in the Yukon, camping in the wilderness, galloping on horseback through the park at dawn, going on road trips to California. It all sounded absolutely fantastic to me. This was my dream life!


The next morning, Rose mentioned at breakfast that a few of her tools and machines didn't work properly. Richard told her he would take a look at them.
Thus began the day I fell for him.

It was the middle of August, with temperatures way up in the 30s (Celsius, 90s in Fahrenheit), and as an excuse to be with him I kept bringing him glasses of water and juice. We still laugh about this today - I must have brought him at least 10 glasses! "Being hydrated is very important!" I protest now, but we both know the truth - I simply couldn't stay away from this man. We talked for hours, discovering similarities - we both grew up in family businesses, and we both didn't want to spend our lives working in them. He and I both loved animals and nature, and back then I still thought I would be a hunter one day (I studied Forestry at the time).
I asked endless questions about how he had immigrated: was it hard? (Yes.) Was it worth it? (Hells yes!) What had he done in the beginning? (Washed cars; worked in construction; started his own landscaping business within two years.)

"Why are you doing this?" I asked him after several hours, referring to him fixing Rose's shoddy equipment. "Because she is a friend", he said simply, and I swooned. Handsome, adventurous and kind - I really liked this man.

His twin daughters (15 at the time) were nowhere to be seen for most of the day, hanging out with Rose's kids, but his third daughter, 10 years old, came once in a while to see what he was doing. She was a sweet, quiet child, with white-blond hair, skinny long legs, and a beautiful smile. They would talk for a bit, and then she would scamper off again, but not before Richard gave her a quick hug and kiss.
"So, you have three kids?" I asked, stating the seemingly obvious.
"No, four. My youngest one is at home with her mother."
Wow. Four daughters!

Richard and the kids left after breakfast the next morning, but not without Richard promising he would be back the following week. "I have a friend coming over from Germany, and I told him we would go into the woods with the horses. I'll bring him here next week!"
He gave me a hug goodbye, and my stomach did a flip - boy, did he feel good.


The next eight days were bliss and agony. I couldn't stop thinking about Richard and his life in Canada. Living on a farm, with horses and dogs... eating out every day... travelling... going on adventures... he had it all.

Including four kids - and a wife.

I knew that he was married, had known it before I even met him - Rose had mentioned it when she announced that he was coming for a visit.  

I tried to convince myself that I simply admired him for all his accomplishments.
He was a kindred spirit.
We had a lot in common.
He had immigrated to Canada, and I wanted to immigrate to Canada. (A desire that had suddenly appeared exactly two days ago.)
I liked talking to him.
I liked looking at him.
I got weak-kneed when his blue eyes found mine... "Oh, stop it, Miriam!" I told myself sternly. "You are ridiculous! Could the situation be any more hopeless?"

I listed all the reasons why my crush was silly: He was married. He had four kids. He was 48 years old. He lived in Canada, I lived in Germany. He was married!

My head knew all this, because those thoughts were on a constant loop, repeating themselves over and over.
But my heart, my stupid, hopeless heart - my heart couldn't wait to see him again.

Would he come?
What if he didn't come?
What if I never saw him again?
"That would be awful", the devil on my one shoulder whispered into my ear.
"It would be for the best", the angel on the other shoulder tried to tell me.

All I knew was: I was desperate to see him again.

And on the 8th day, he returned: With his friend, three horses, and those bright blue eyes twinkling at me.
His gaze found mine. "Hi, you", he said softly. My heart lifted, and all I could think was: I'm so happy you are here. We smiled at each other.

What we didn't know yet: The next 48 hours would change both of our lives forever.

Read part four here.


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5 comments

  1. Haha "He gave me a hug goodbye...boy, did he feel good" is probably my favorite line EVER. There have been a few dates I've gone on that have ended in "the hug" and there really is no other way to explain it than, "HE FEELS SO GOOD"! I love how you seem to already know he's the one but are weighing the ups and downs of the situation. "He's married"...yeah...KIND OF a problem at this point...lol
    Can't wait for part four!
    ~ Samantha

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  2. i'm really excited to see what's next, i like this story a lot!

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  3. Man, you keep the cliffhangers coming!!! Ahhh, I'm just really enjoying the story.

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  4. You're melting my heart! I love a good love story!
    -Linds

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  5. Can't wait for what is next!! This is why I need the whole series to be out before I start reading...I hate waiting ;) This is so well written, very engaging (though I would be interested anyway) but the it is really good, just like reading a book!

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