I had known him about a year and we had become quite serious with one another, even to the point I had relocated my job and my home for him. I was in love in a way I never thought possible. It was soul love, best friend love, chemically induced hubba hubba love and all those fairy tales I was told as a child of the 60’s and 70’s plus some I didn’t even know existed. I laughed every day until my stomach was hurting. I ate well and was pampered and allowed to just be myself. I was the princess who rescued the prince, and also rescuing herself at the same time. I was allowed to be me in ways I had never experienced, and I kept shaking my head waiting for that glass slipper to drop and splinter into crystal shards. I was in paradise on a mountain over a lake and countryside full of bubbling springs, artists, ex-hippies, writers, and retired folk. I was teaching at a tiny rural school nestled in an artists’ community. I was in love with life. I was in love.
In the courtship, before my transition to the tiny school, my prince had to get a house sitter/doggie and kitty cat sitter when it was apparent that his current hired hand was on another road to rekindling a drug addiction. It was his determination to spin time with me that caused him to seek a replacement dog/cat/ house sitter, and it became very apparent that my prince was determined to court me with equity and kindness, and that his beloved pets whom he adored, would be taken care of in the manner in which he wanted them to be cared for each day at his home. I was not aware that he had made such elaborate plans, but he loved his little dog and his big hound dog and his kitty cat named after Stevie Ray Vaughn. It was all good.
As we progressed our relationship, he proposed that I live with him, marry him, and change jobs…almost within the same breath. I was stunned and happy, and somehow it clicked like a Swiss-made watch. WE moved me into this wooded paradise by the lake, and we began a life together with my art, my writing, my life moving the direction I wished with his doggies and kitty cat midlife children adopting me. We took two trips to see his parents and family in Chicago over the course of the first 9 months we were together. All was well. All was genuinely cool until the first big snow storm hit, and we were snowed in and his hand had been through its second surgery in six months. He was tense about finances, and I was tense about giving up my hard won independence and the serious nature of our relationship was on the tenuous ground of holding back and not saying what we feared. Then I made an error at the exact same time he made the same error. We confided in the neighbor and new friend who had become our trusted doggie/ cat / house sitter. She offered to be a sounding board for me –a safe place to vent frustrations about work, about life, even the relationship. My prince trusted her as well about similar items and spoke to her about me. This newly trusted person in our lives then began to play “counselor” and ” a trusted confidant” to us both, unknown to either of us.
She then planted seeds of distrust, perhaps unknowingly at first, but at a certain point, it became a boiling point in the relationship, and she was trapped into what she thought was the right thing to do in her mind but was absolutely destructive until we took her innocently placed advice—to go to a recommended premarital counselor. She tried to pick one for us, assuming that our differences were too deep to be resolved–and in some ways she was right. We needed help in our communication, our approach to each other, and the baggage of 50 plus years on this planet. What she never really considered is that we would figure out the best way to approach this bridge with the help of a counselor out of her loop or sphere of influence because he was recommended by her first choice. My man and I weathered 8 plus sessions of counseling and found we were just about a perfect match. It was a godsend. Then, however, through the timing and the absence of us at home in the evenings, the little dog was lost, bitten by the confusion of our relationship changing with each other and with the neighbor who had become her “other owner” so to speak after several weeks of looking after the doggies as we did counseling. It became apparent that the well past mid-life doggie was a pawn in the relationship triangle. It was sad to see the confusion of the little dog that had once been the running mate of our larger more outdoor hound dog who was also my prince’s favorite pet.
He and I were hurt and reached out to our neighbor and once close friend. She bowed out. She continued to “entertain” our littlest dog but had locked out our big black hound dog due to her pet chickens. We thought we could forge a new relationship with her, but she ignored our texts and calls, the olive branches we extended, and the little dog was fast becoming the pawn in the game. We ended the stalemate by finding our little one–his first dog — a new owner, one in an adjoining county who loved her at first sight. It was over, but so was the friendship that both of us had considered very close. It was now obvious to us that our neighbor had some sort of agenda that did not involve us being happy. The lost little dog was not only the pet but the friendship, small, loud at once, and then silent, and unstable in temperament and strength, intelligent but struggling with the stubbornness to release old habits that no longer serve all for the same good or benefit. I believe that decisions are guided by a Source or Creator that exists and are at times hard for each of us to make because there is truly free will involved so that the lessons can continue to arrive as needed. The little one pictured below is now in a happy home a county away from this home, living out her life with other small dogs and a doting owner. No one can always foresee the future, but each has the responsibility to honor the present moment.