I had gravitated to the soft place I found in this man with a pure and true heart after my experience with Mr. Personality. Like an overzealous pendulum, swinging wildly from one extreme to the other, there seemed to be no stopping in the middle for me. The hard lesson learned as I walked away nearly ten years later is there ain't a damn thing you can do to control the wind.
This is the story of Mr. Dependable.
Who can explain why we are attracted to people at different times in our lives? Anyone? Bueller?
Even now, this one is troublesome for me to process. It's no sweat to explain why you left a sociopathic deviant. But how does one explain leaving a man who is, by all quantifiable measurements, the salt of the earth?
He looked exactly like this. Well, maybe not exactly like this but he was adorable in a fun, green, true to his colors kinda way.
Mr. Dependable grew up in Kansas. I'm fairly certain Kermit was from Kansas as well. I'm talking white picket fence, sports playing, church goin', drug free, hard working, simple life, Kansas. Yes, when I met him I questioned how I could possibly fit into this Norman Rockwell painting and yes, I painted myself into it anyway; as usual, with vivid detail and very large brush strokes. After all, I now had a son to think of.
This is my first mention of #1 Son. I realize you're wondering where he came from. Rest easy, he is not the devil spawn of Mr. Personality. More to follow on the origin of #1 Son in later posts.
**********End Side Note*********
The first five years of our marriage was replete with building a house, buying a dog and spending most of our weekends covered in the red dirt of Oklahoma while working in the yard or watching #1 Son play baseball. Mr. Dependable, staying true to his steadfast moniker, even coached the team. He was a baseball player in college, a darn good one. He loved the game and he passed that love on to me. My life was wholesome, sweet and simple, much like me. (don't laugh - I really was back then.)
We went to church every time the church doors opened, we taught Sunday school, served on committees and volunteered for vacation bible school. I sang in the choir. Eventually, I became the Director of Sunday School, as a do-gooder, not as a paid-staffer. Each and every Sunday after church, we would head straight to his parents house for a lovingly prepared meal with homemade rolls and chocolate cake for dessert. This was followed by a ritualistic nap (me) while grandma entertained #1 son, grandpa read the paper and Mr. Dependable disappeared into the telly, as only he could.
We rarely deviated from this schedule, there were no vacations or nights on the town and I didn't care. I had everything I desired; until that is, the winds shifted.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal office building in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. On that day I was eight miles away on the 10th floor of an office building, I stood helplessly watching from my window as the cloud of dirty, black smoke billowed like a dark angel, engulfing the city. I knew the surface between my feet had shifted. I had no idea my life and everything I knew to be true about myself, the very essence of me, was about to shift as well.
It seemed as if the news choppers were there within minutes. Gathered around the conference table, in deaf-like silence, we watched with trepidation as the camera swung around to the front of the building. It was gone, the entire front of that building was gone. The steel frame was exposed and shredded, suspended in air where the pancaked rubble of the other half of the building now lay in front of it. Paperwork that had just been sitting on a desk, waiting for someone to file, was now swirling in and around fragments of office chairs, cubicles, concrete and the bodies that once held the life, dreams and hope of 168 men, women and children.
It was the children we couldn't bare. We knew there was a daycare in that building. When a child dies, you mourn for the child but you agonize for the people left behind. They were there - these people - pleading and praying, begging and bartering, shoving themselves into the police who stood firm to protect them, screaming for the babies they had dropped off only moments before. I will never forget the sound of those guttural, dissonant wails. By this time I was there, within a few blocks of the building and I heard it. The disharmony assaulted me. Unrelenting, deep and inarticulate; yet, you instinctively knew what the sound meant. My heart, the heart of a mother, wanted to implode at the sound of those screams. All I could think of was #1 Son.