I know, weird title, but, trust me, it makes sense. Or at least it will.
It started over 25 years ago. It was the day I meet Heather. She was sitting on a desk in the foyer of our church. I can’t remember what she was wearing, but I remember that I was messing around with one of the pastor’s daughter’s, Mel, who had decided she had had enough of my bugging and very unceremoniously, dug her nails into my forearm. I just watched her do it, pretending like it didn’t hurt. (It really didn’t, I felt it but just dealt with it.)
That’s when I saw her. The foyer was empty, she was waiting for a ride or something. Just sitting there, swinging her feet, looking all cute and what not. I found my new target to impress. So, while I noticed her watching me deal with the pain, I walked over to her and boldly said, “It doesn’t hurt.” and held out my arm so she could see the red marks from the previous aggressor.
She just looked at me.
So I fluffed my feathers and made sure they stood tall and proud. I was going to impress this girl, for no other reason then the fact that, well, I just had too. I wanted her to see that I was tough, and strong, and.. um.. other guy stuff that I am sure every 16 year old boy does to get the attention of a female.
So I held out my arm and looked at her. “Go ahead, it doesn’t hurt.” I strutted in my tough talk. My arm out in front of her like a sacrificial offering. My peacock strut coming through with my stance and my tone. I goaded again. “It’s ok, go ahead.”
That’s when I saw interest in her eyes. (Ok, to be fair, I found out later it wasn’t interest, but annoyance, a look I have gotten quite familiar with, I might add). She reached her right hand out, took her nails, placed them onto my forearm. I smiled, preparing for her to dig her claws into me, ready to impress her with my resilience.
Then, she did it. She dug her nails into my skin. I held steady and strong, this was going to impress her immensely, I just knew it. I would walk away, a victor again. She would watch after me, wondering who that guy was. She would be impressed by my plumage of feathers and I would then have a peahen that would follow me. It was all so perfect in my mind.
That’s not even close to what happened.
That’s when I realized that what I thought was a peahen was actually a tigress. Those claws she had, yeah, the dug deep. But they didn’t just dig deep, she then proceeded to rake them across my skin, tearing into my flesh and leaving a very noticeable scratch mark with several layers of skin missing. And blood.
I felt pain.
It hurt a lot.
And I am sure my face didn’t hide the fact, even though I did everything I could to muster up the willpower not to cry out and pull away.
This tigress just stared at me. Satisfied that she had successfully beaten me, (or just annoyed and done with everything, I still can’t tell the difference) she let her claws retract out of my skin and let me scamper away to mend my wounds.
So I walked out the door and got into my friends car. I wanted so badly to rub my arm when I walked away, but I did not want her to see that she caused me any pain. After all, a peacock has to strut, right? Even when walking away from a tigress.
But the damage was done.
I feel in love that very first moment. I know, sappy and what not, but, it’s true. I turned to my friend and told him, “I’m in love.” That red head tiger had smitten me through and through, her claw marks on my arm a reminder of my defeat, and yet, somehow, I knew, the beginning of a really cool story.