I wash my face, put on a tank top and a pair of cut-off shorts then step into my well-worn hiking boots.
Ziggy brings me his collar (his “subtle” way of telling me he would like to get dressed and go somewhere).
I grab a baseball hat and tuck my uncombed shock of hair into it.
As I push the last bit of hair into its hiding spot, seventy pounds of fur lands in my lap (…ooooophhhh…) The collar is shoved in my face.
(Ziggy’s way of insisting that HE IS READY TO GET DRESSED and GO NOW!)
I can’t help but laugh at my baby.
I buckle his collar, turn off the TV, grab my keys, a few bottles of water and head out the door.
Ziggy does a quick “Cat Scan” then finding no evidence of enemy forces (cats) in his territory, he meets me at the gate and we walk to the car.
I am bored with our usual “run spot” and I figure Ziggy must be ready for a change as well, so I take a left onto Highway 50 and drive away from the city toward rural Carson City.
The Capitol of Nevada, Carson City is technically a city, but unlike the cities I have lived in, it is not an overpopulated, traffic congested, smog-filled metropolis. (Thank God).
It has everything one needs as far as big name chain stores, car dealerships, gas stations, casinos, restaurants and other amenities. There is a shopping mall, coffee shops, thrift stores, hotels, motels, home improvement stores, the usual suspects found in most major cities, but Carson City is different, it has the charm and feel of a small town.
As we drive down Highway 50, through numerous stop lights (all but one were green!) the shops and stores and strip malls are replaced by warehouses and steel buildings with large areas of undeveloped desert land between them.
My boyfriend grew up here. He has deep roots here. When we drive around, he often comments on “what used to be here or there” followed by a memory from his younger days about something that happened there.
I love to listen to his stories, he was quite a hell-raiser back in the day and when shares his memories, I see the years fall away and the face of an adventurous, mischievous boy appears.
Last December, we celebrated his big “60”. I enlisted the help of his four older sisters to contact his closest friends. We decided to have the surprise party at one of his sister’s houses.
I had to drag him (kicking and screaming) out of the house on his birthday to get him to go to his sister’s house, but it was worth the struggle.
We approached the door and heard laughter coming from within. The mix of voices rang out some obviously quite drunk already.
We opened the door and as we stepped in everyone there began to yell out Happy Birthday to him. I turned to look at him and was rewarded with a huge smile and a hug.
He had a wonderful time (despite his protests). I was deeply moved by the camaraderie I witnessed that day.
A bunch of obnoxious drunken old bastards talking about the good times they had during their lifetime friendships.
That really touched me, these guys had been friends for over fifty years. Fifty years.
They were all very different men yet the bond of their friendship survived unchanged. These guys had serious history between them and stories to tell!
Many of them had not seen or spoken to each other for several years, but time nor distance had lessened their love for each other.
One by one, they gave my guy a big bear hug, promised to get in touch more often and headed back to their homes as his party came to a close.
I was busy getting his gifts together, helping to clean up before we left.
I headed towards the living room to tell him I was ready to go.
He was sitting with his back against the pillows on the couch, Ziggy laying across his lap. His hand was absently petting Ziggy. He was lost in his memories.
I quietly stood there watching him and in that moment, I realized just how much I love him.
He is a very deep, thoughtful and kind man. He is not mean or cruel or phony. He is loyal, he is honest, he is caring, he listens.
When I am sad, he puts his arms around me and allows me to be sad (holding me close to him). When I get mad and stomp around the house slamming things and mumbling under my breath, he leaves for a while, allowing me to vent my anger without taking it personally.
When I am being unreasonable or argumentative, he responds with sarcasm or laughter. He does not argue, nor will he allow me to pull him into a fight.
We were comfortable with each other the moment we met baring our souls without any fear.
I have been blessed with his presence in my life. I am able to express myself without worry, without fear. We have a beautiful partnership. We have complete trust in one another a genuine love between us…something I never thought I would find.