Just over a year ago I was getting ready to leave Strider's house and return to the post-Irene Shire. It wasn't the same but then neither was I. And that isn't necessarily bad. Please enjoy this rerun.
Whatever happens on Monday night, I'm out of here Friday. Which means I have 5 days more here with Strider. And 2 of those she'll be out of town at meetings. Aside from leaving all the four-leggers that I love (except for Hildie, who's mine now) I'm gonna miss the hell out of her.
You see, I'm old now. Cynical, untrusting, unromantic as a salty dog. And Strider is a Great Believer. She doesn't think she's an optimist, but she's the most hardcore optimist I've ever known in my whole life. 10 years ago I wrote a poem about how her eternal faith in love leaves me bewildered. She has an incredibly brave heart because she won't ever give up looking and being open to love. And she's realistic and wary, but she's not a scoffer. Seeing things through her eyes has shown me a lot about where my head has gone in the last few years.
For instance, I watched "The Holiday" tonight. A movie I've seen before, with other people. When she started it I kinda zoned and dismissed it, because of who was there when I first watched it. Tonight I watched it with Strider and it was an entirely different movie, because of who I was with.
There are a lot of things like that; it all depends on who you're with when you do it.
Strider, again, has opened my eyes. Whoever said you only learn from your elders was a moron. Everyday, I learn things from Strider, or Carrie, or my niece or grandniece. Or anyone else from the younger sets. It isn't re-learning, it's resetting yourself. We get set in our attitudes and opinions as we live. Some of those are wrong to adopt. But you don't even know it until you get a chance to reset yourself.
So I'll go back to The Shire, maybe even Hobbiton, with a slightly pried-open mind toward romance now. It can happen. It happened once in my life. That died. But who's to say it can't happen twice? And who's to say love is too painful to try again? It's the best thing in life.
And maybe, just maybe, that's the best thing that's happened in this whole nightmare. Strider's fearless when it comes to trying to love. She's suffered a lot in love. A lot. Believe me. I've seen it. But she's never given up. My my, what a wise woman she is.
Hell's bells, I'm gonna miss her.