A snowy morning at the ski house.
When I walk downstairs in my après
tights and giant sized sweater I don't know what to expect. I know there is a man in the house but I don't know what kind of man he will be. I don't know I'm going fall in love in with him.
Barry jumps up from his chair to shake my hand. He is that kind of gentleman. He explains the bandages on his right hand - a motorcycle accident. I barely hear what he is saying because I'm mesmerized by his beauty - his pale blue eyes, his tan, weathered skin, and a little tuft of dark hair peaking out of his ski hat. Oh, oh my. I watch him sip his beer gingerly with his good hand. He smiles often.
Why am I standing in this kitchen? Was I going to make dinner? Who cares about dinner with Barry sitting at the kitchen table? I grab a beer, forget about dinner, and with my three friends bombard him with questions.
When Barry was ten his mother dropped him off in the Redwoods to camp for the weekend - alone. She trusted me, he tells us. He is a mountaineer, a guide, a skier, a climber, a man who doesn't want kids. He's 41 and he's sure of it, even as we ask him how he can be so sure. He can. He is. He asks us how we feel about marriage, children, all of it.
When the A-framed ski chalet gets cold he tends to the fire and soon we are warm again. Although sitting next Barry I don't need the fire to keep me warm. I stay in my chair for the rest of my life listening to his husky yet soft-spoken voice while he talks about relationships and life. I want to know everything about him right now. He wants a life partner, he wants to get married, but dating is difficult because of the kids issue. He is up front about this on the first or second date. "I don't want to waste their time." I imagine their disappointment.
Barry just met us and yet on his way out he envelopes each one of us with his strong arms in the most amazing hug. He squeezes me gently and lingers for a moment longer than any other stranger I just met would. He smiles when he says good-bye. He loved meeting us. I believe him. I loved meeting him too.
Barry is a man. A type of man that I did not know existed on this planet until now. I wonder why I had to travel 3,000 miles to meet him and if I'll ever know anyone like him again.
Barry guides men and women up the most challenging mountains on the planet. He pushes them to their physical and mental limits because they pay him to do so. When they are tired and broken, panting, sweating, shaky, and are sure they can't take another step forward, Barry is there.
He stands next to them, holds them, tells them that, yes, they can keep going if they dig deep enough inside themselves. Eventually they will find that place of inner strength and they will believe what he says. He will wait until they do. Then he will watch them go forward on their own always trailing closely behind in case they fall.
I want a man like Barry close to me always to catch me if I fall.