You’re probably asking yourself who the knight in shining armor is. He is a good friend of my brother and sister-in-law.
In late February of 2016, I called my oldest brother Jim to tell him of a business trip I had to El Paso the Monday after Easter. I asked if I could come for a long weekend to spend the holiday with the family. Without hesitation, he said, “Yes, book your ticket!”
After sending Jim a text confirming my flight my phone rang. Jim said, “We are excited to see you.” Before I could ask what we were going to do while I was there he said “Yolanda and I were invited to a friend’s horseshoe throwing competition on Saturday. Would you like to join us?” Once he gave me the details I said “Sounds like fun! Count me in. Get busy finding me a rich, fun guy to partner with!” We laughed and hung up. I didn’t give it another thought.
Over a week later the phone rang. Before I could say hello Yolanda said “Hi Shari. We found you a partner!” I shook my head not sure what she meant. She asked, “Did you hear me?” I said “Yes. What do you mean?” “Our neighbor Mr. Tucson wants to partner with you for the horseshoe throwing contest” she replied. I laughed and told her I was joking when I said it. She continued “Can I give him your number? He wants to contact you.” After agreeing we chatted a few more minutes then hung up.
I knew from the previous year while in Tucson that Mr. Tucson is 6 months older than me and a widower. His wife passed away 2 years prior. He had been dating a couple of women but wasn’t dating anyone at this point. I also learned he is an Ohio native and a huge Buckeye fan. Being a Michigan State fan this was a tough pill to swallow. Michiganders are born with a dislike of the Buckeyes. (LOL)
Yolanda wasn’t messing around when she approached Mr. Tucson. He is a successful guy who has three pizza franchises, owns a beautiful home, has a nice vehicle, has a large circle of friends, and a great life. By all outward appearances, he was a good catch.
A couple of hours after talking with Yolanda I received a text from Mr. Tucson. We continued to text and get to know one another every day leading up to my visit.
As I was packing the night before my flight I received a text from Jim that said, “Shari, I have friends coming into town tomorrow. I’m not able to pick you up at the airport but don’t worry Mr. Tucson will pick you up.” Say WHAAAAATTTTT? I was pissed. Can you blame me? Who in the hell entrusts their sister to someone she doesn’t know? Then tells her his friends are more important than she is?”
I hit the dial button. When Jim answered, I let him have it. While expressing myself I broke down. He found humor in my anger until I started crying. In a choked voice I said “Fuck it! I’ll get with Mr. Tucson. Don’t give me another thought.” He was taken aback. He said “Wait a minute! Mr. Tucson told me the two of you were hitting it off. I took that to mean he’d like to pick you up.” “Really, what about what I want?” I asked. In a nervous laugh, he said “Sis, I’ll pick you up.”
The butterflies in my stomach were overactive as I walked into baggage claim looking for Mr. Tucson. It wasn’t long when I saw him standing on the balcony above. We waved. He looked like his photos, a full head of dark brown hair, big brown eyes, with thick dark eyebrows, white straight teeth standing 5’8″. I would have known he worked out by his muscled arms. He was wearing a tight-fitting under armor shirt that he tucked into black skinny jeans. It wasn’t a good look because it accentuated his belly. I thought “Whoa, the only man capable of pulling that look off is a tall slender European or Johnny Cash.” I wasn’t impressed yet swore there was chemistry. Fewer cocktails that day may have had different results.
After an awkward hug, we grabbed my luggage and headed to his car. It was a beautiful warm evening. I wasn’t accustomed to the dry heat but found it a nice change.
Once my luggage was in the car Mr. Tucson jumped in and handed me a cup of Pinot Grigio, my favorite wine. I thanked him for the thoughtful gesture. He scored points. I was touched.
Once on the road, the conversation picked up where it was left the night before, poking fun of Jim. The easiness of it had me smiling and thinking “This is a huge change from my last relationship.” I found myself settling comfortably
into the seat, enjoying myself.
As we pulled into the upscale community he and Jim live, Mr. Tucson asked, “Where am I taking you?” I replied, “To your place.”
I was surprised when several days into the trip Mr. Tucson asked to drive me to El Paso. An alarm went off in my head. I tried to think fast. I explained that I had a confirmed seat on the flight. He said he wanted to spend more time with me. I thought “We were going to be together 4 days.” I couldn’t put my finger on why that seemed contrived. Besides, I didn’t want to be in a car with a stranger for 5 hours with no means of escaping if things went south. I told him I’d think about it and ignored his irritation.
It was a whirlwind 4 days. By the time Monday rolled around, Mr. Tucson and I had hosted my family for dinner, took my mother to Biosphere 2, had Easter dinner at Jim & Yolanda’s place, hiked, attended the horseshoe throwing party, and did some sightseeing. I needed a vacation from the vacation. LOL The weekend was so fun that I accepted Mr. Tucson’s offer.
It was a perfect drive. Mr. Tucson was charming, funny, attentive, and a great listener. I thought “I could get used to this!”
By the time I checked into the hotel we had less than an hour to freshen up before meeting a colleague for dinner. We walked into the restaurant right on time. He had already been seated and was sipping his first drink. This colleague is one of the funniest and coolest people I know. It wasn’t intentional but it was a good test for Mr. Tucson. If he had any problems with my colleague I’d know he wasn’t the guy for me because to meet him is to love him. The dinner went well. Mr. Tucson held his own.
The next morning Mr. Tucson headed home and we headed to the company plant in Juarez. While on the shuttle, the subject of Mr. Tucson came up and my colleague gave him two thumbs up.
All Aboard! The Transformation train is leaving the station. Next stop, “Beware of the Narcissist!”