Stranger in my bed

Who is this stranger in my bed. Sitting at the breakfast table in his cotton boxer shorts.
He looks at me, as if he knows me, but his eyes have looked into a million others just like mine. What makes me special to this stranger, what makes him change his lucky plans to come for a month to my tiny Western Colorado mountain town and change his life. What makes me different?
These questions burn and tumble around inside my head. The earlyness of the hour doing nothing to slow their insistence.

It is 3am, my mind does not stop churning, simply because I've only slept an hour on this clear March night.
I peeled back the covers and switched on the weak bedside lamp, night checks for the farm, our pregnant doe's, alerted my bedside alarm at 1:30am. I felt Brian shield his eyes and roll onto his other side as I quietly slipped out of bed and into my stiff, dark carharts.
Outside it felt dark. But I tilted my head back and watched the stretch of stars sailing over head, like an ocean.
In my car, the local country station played quietly, music filling the middle of the night, as Fly, my border collie, pressed her nose into the wind streaming through my window.
My headlights shone out on an empty open road. Black, and quickly disappearing beneath the beam of my weak headlights. I shifted into forth gear and hit the accelerator. Humming along to the radio.
And then, as I rounded the bend in the road, as if out of no where, a deer, a big buck, his antlers pointing straight towards the black, stood in the road, facing me, watching me, as if waiting for me.
I hit the breaks, feeling the blood in my body raise, both at the adrenal of avoiding collision, but also at the way he regarded me with his steady dark liquid eyes. As if sent to deliver me a message.

A Buck.
Like a young man, as I've always seen, proud and elegant in my headlights, but looking past the flash and hum of my Mazda into the soul of something deeper.
I slowed my car and we crawled past until he was simply a shadow in my rear view mirror.

My heart didn't stop pumping with adrenaline until I was on the farm, out of my car, the broom of my dogs tail a shadow in the beam of flashlight I pointed in at the sleeping does in the shed. They blinked back at me with wide liquid eyes. All quiet.

But something about that buck had me thinking. I don't know if it was the left over adrenaline, or the sage like ways he regarded me, or the fact that I almost took his life in an instant of hot metal and burning rubber. But I felt the questions rising to the surface like bubbles in a glass of champagne.

Why am I so scared, to let the simply joy of loving someone fulfill me, the way I yearn to let it, the way I know it can; the simple joy of eating dinner and going home to watch a movie snuggled on the couch, at grocery shopping, at making breakfast and morning conversations under dimpled sheets. These things move me, they make me feel alive and blessed to love, and yet I am holding myself back. Fearful, at somehow exhausting all of my joy, or somehow coming up short, my dreams too demure to demand that of, the mind that glows bright against the light of a weak bedside lamp.

I want to unfold, like a tattered map, colored and stained from adventures and plots yet to be plotted. I want to be examined and lovingly touched. Held open to the light, to truly be seen. Loved.

But I am not a map. Not tonight in this midnight barn. I am a woman, standing on colorado soil, yellow straw and pregnant goat pee under a vastly changing sky.

His hands on me are still foreign, and his lips taste like far away places and salt and time.
But I am fighting myself to be calm, to lie in bed at night next to him and just breath, because if I am too excited, I might burst the dream and wake up alone, finding him gone.
I want the hard answer, but I have to ask the hard questions. And I have to hold my heart with courage; To be brave in the face of this undermining vulnerability and self doubt, that is the real thing that undermines my heart.
It us now 3:30am and it is time to leave the girls and drive back across the valley to home.
The shadows of sleep are chasing me, and I am nearly in their grasps.
Sweet dreams sweet world.
I'm still looking up.


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