I miss my sweetheart.  :(  I feel lucky because I do have one and I tell you from my heart, every woman should have a sweetheart.  I think you only get one a lifetime, if that, but I've known a couple of ladies who've had two.  My mother got hers about 2 years before she died.  She was 58 and re-met the man she broke up with right before she started dating my father.  They adored one another, but couldn't get married because they could not live on combined social security versus two single social security income.  He is a devout Christian and would not be more intimate than a kiss with her if they were not married, but they adored one another and he made my mother very, very happy. 

My sweetheart came along when I was 35.  He was the most adorable, confident man I'd ever met and made me laugh right away.  He was so very, very strikingly handsome and knew a million movie lies by heart, which won mine pretty quickly.  We were drawn to one another right away, but real life intervened.  I was newly divorced and the mother of four and he lived in another state (I was in Idaho, he was in California), he was in the military and I was an AF civilian employee, so he could be relocated even further away at any time.  He talked to his mother about his feelings for me and she had a heart attack.  I was a cradle robber (true) and he was only 20 years old.  (My son Joe was almost 19)  It just wasn't going to work, but hey, we could be really, really good friends!  When he went back to California, we spent many late nights on the phone, up until the wee hours talking away.  When time came that I had to leave Idaho or stay forever (yikes), I started thinking about where I wanted to move.  I had friends in Florida, where I'd never been, in Texas, which I loved (the Dallas-Fort Worth area), Southern California (love California, but So Cal has gotten too... "Escape from California" for me) and of course, my family in Kentucky.  I could also have tried out somewhere completely new.  Regardless of where I went, I'd have no job and have to completely start over again with Joe and Delena.  David and Josh wanted to stay with Paul and finish out the school year.  I was leaving in January. 

I also had two other friends in the Sacramento area and a tarot reading told me that if I made that choice, it would change my life in a wonderful and profound way.  Joe and I decided to go for it.  Foolishly, we lit out for Calafornie.  Eric was tremendously excited about the move, as were my other two friends.  I didn't know about issues like "snow on the pass" and no one had the good sense to tell me it might be rough or I might need chains.  Weather in Idaho was cold, but mild... same with California.  How could something treacherous be in between.  I had to spend $80, a huge chunk of my going on money, to buy chains at Donner "Starve and eat your traveling companions" Pass and still barely made it down the mountain.  My Buick was stuffed full of me, Joe, Delena, 2 cats, 2 turtles and an ill-mannered cockatiel named Simon.  Almost everything we owned went into storage until I could get work and we could find a home. 

Long story short, it took 7 long weeks and I thought we would go mad living with my friend, who was, in retrospect that began about 8 minutes after we got there, not a good choice to stay with, sadly.  We managed to get through it, but barely and still, many years later, it's cumbersome and there's often a thickness in the air around us.  We don't see one another often, but when we do, it's a mixture of excitement to see her and too much turbulent water between us. 

I moved into a house close to then base where I had gotten a good job (during a hiring freeze, some real magical stuff going on there) and where Eric worked.  We saw each other usually a few times a week.  He would come over to watch movies or just laugh and talk.  He was great about helping me fix things around my house, which was nice.   My older boys all liked him a lot and Delena was totally enamored of him, telling me she was going to marry him when she grew up.  (I'm sorry, Sweetheart)

In September, not long after my birthday, Eric was sent to Saudi Arabia for four months.  We were devastated, but Eric had that young guy eagerness to see and do something different.  He called me as his plane was taking off  :) and we talked often while he was gone.  We missed each other very much and in one particular conversation, I said something to the effect of, "If this is THIS hard, what's it going to be like if you get orders or one of us gets married?  No spouse is ever going to go along with us being close friends."  He's had a few girlfriends in the previous year and none of them had been very happy about me being in the picture, even though there was nothing going on.  We thought about the inevitability of our friendship having to end and Eric blurted out, "That's it.  When I come back, we're getting married."  ??!!  I was stunned, to say the least.  It made sense.  If we were married, when he was transferred, we could move too.  I'd have priority on the civil service job lists.  The kids and I would have medical coverage.  We could hang out together all the time. 

As it turned out, he came home two months early.  His rotation ended up being the shortest tour any units had in Saudi.  When I picked him up at the airport, we didn't quite know what to do with one another.  It was just... odd.  A few days later, on his 21st birthday  so he could gamble, we drove to Reno.  One of my friends bought a nice dress for me to wear.  I went knowing full well one or both of us might back out at the last minute.  All of my kids were supportive, but Josh was afraid it might hurt our relationship.  We were an hour late because we ran into some bad weather, but the wedding chapel held our reservations.  When we went to the courthouse to get the license, there was a security check point at the entry.  They took my wand from my bag and held it for the time we were there, saying it could be a weapon.  As a Witch, I was most flattered.  ;-)  I'd taken it because I figured the worst case scenario is that Eric and I would have a good laugh and hit the slot machines and that wand is a stud for divining the ones that will pay out.  The cassette of our wedding, with canned music and a slightly slurring store bought minister, reveals us laughing all the way through.  We both got the giggles because it was so weird that it was us.  The minister included fidelity in my vows, but not in Eric's, so I called him on it and he straightened up.  After it was over, we returned to the courthouse to file the paperwork and I told him it was "speak now or forever hold his peace."  He slid the paper across the counter to the clerk, who stamped it and it was done.  We went to the casinos and had a blast, winning enough to play for the trip and the wedding. 

When we got back home, it took us 5 days to work up the nerve to kiss beyond a peck on the cheek.  After that, we both had a wonderful flood of emotions and over time, we learned that each of us had secretly hoped our relationship would develop into more.  It did and we have been very happy together.  We are very, very much in love and no matter what, I will always know that I have been well and truly and utterly loved.  He has seen past my fat when he is someone who is only into women with Barbie doll shapes.  He has seen past my age despite strong disapproval by his family.  He has loved Delena and raised her as his own child.  She even carries his name.  We have two beautiful little boys together and he is a wonderful father.  My older boys still love and respect him very much and approach him for help and advice before they do their biological father.  He and Joe are dear friends and have a lot in common.  He has another side of himself that connects well and relates to Josh.  He and Dave are very different people in nearly every way, but they also get along well and have a lot of respect and love for one another.  It's amazing.  This 21-year-old guy stepped up to the plate, took on a ready made family, adjusted as it grew a bit and even handled the time released bombs in my own psyche that crept up on me and made me afraid to love and be loved again after the disaster with Paul that lasted 20 years. 

It's been a tough go, especially in the 2 years since he left the military.   The telecommunications field is unstable and work is tenuous at best.  (If you're a newbie or haven't read in a few days, catch up here) Last year was the worst and now we seem to have the mirror of it this going on yet again.  Eric was raised in a family with money and his time with me has been the only time in his life that he has lived in poverty.  It doesn't sit well with him.  He desperately wants to give us better and takes it very personally that it's not happening.   I've watched this wonderful man get a dark cast to his face, walk with the weight of the world on his shoulders and draw into himself more and more as this process continues.  I try to keep his spirits and his hopes up, but lately, it seems as though the words are falling on the floor a few seconds before they read his heart.  I want so much to hold him and make it all go away and tell him how much he means to me and how very, very proud of him, despite the current circumstances.  He is still and will always be the love of my life.  My heart still jumps when I see him.  He can still make me laugh.  He still loves me more than 10 people have the right to be loved (and vice versa).  I know this isn't a deal breaker and that we'll be together when this is all behind us, but for now, I miss him.  If I tell him I miss him, he feels like I'm putting more pressure on him to be a certain way or do more or produce more hours in the day.  He feels like I'm accusing him because he's accusing himself and judging himself.  We've been snapping at one another a good bit lately, balls of frustration and fear looking for a place to land.

For my part, I'm going to work hard to stop that from happening and just be a safe, soft place for him to fall.  Meanwhile, I miss my sweetheart and this is for him:

Dimming of the Day
By Richard Thompson

This old house is falling down around my ears
I'm drowning in a river of my tears
When all my will is gone you hold me sway
I need you at the dimming of the day

You pulled me like the moon
pulls on the tide
You know just where I keep my better side

What days have come to keep us far apart
A broken promise or a broken heart
Now all the bonny birds have wheeled away
I need you at the dimming of the day

Come the night you're only what I want
Come the night you could be my confidant

I see you the street and in company
Why don't you come and rest your mind with me
I'm living for the night we steal away
I need you at the dimming of the day
I need you at the dimming of the day..

Eric, Honeybear
I love you.