The stars sparkled like diamonds against the clear, ink-black sky; I could almost hear them twinkling above me. A cool fall breeze blew whispers across my face as I stepped out of the front door and onto the porch.
Those walkway lights aren’t just for decoration, dearie. Go back inside and ask them to turn them on.
No. The night was so beautiful I just wanted to enjoy it. Besides, I’d been to this home so many times before. I knew the territory; I had no worries.
But it’s pitch black. You can’t see a thing and – last I heard – you don’t have radar.
I put my right foot forward and felt for the edge of the step I knew was there. Found it! I thought, “See? I’ll be fine.” Nearsighted all my life, I was accustomed to feeling my way. This walk in the dark was a walk in the park. I stepped onto the next stair with my left. Then my right foot sought this step’s edge. And the pattern repeated itself as I’d done so many times before. Finally, I reached for the fourth stair – but found no edge. Hmmm … I could have sworn there were four steps. But it had been awhile since I last visited; perhaps I was mistaken.
There is a fourth step; it’s deeper than the first three. Stick your foot out a little further.
I stepped out a little more, but still found no edge. Apparently, there were only three stairs after all — my bad. My left foot stepped boldly onto what I thought was level ground.
A short while later I awoke, dazed and in pain, to find myself lying beneath the parked SUV that finally broke my downhill adventure.
See, I told you so. A woman who forgets her alarm code regularly is not likely to remember the number of steps at a house she visits twice a year.
There is a voice deep inside each of us that does its darnedest to protect us from ourselves. Some of us call it intuition; some call them guides; others call them guardian angels. I call mine Lula – named for my late aunt who boldly did whatever she pleased whenever she wanted to. And she didn’t take any crap. My Aunt Lula, like me, was a big woman. Well, not exactly like me. She was well over six feet tall and as thin as the proverbial rail. I wear mine a little more – uh, compactly. As a child, I always looked up to her — I had no other choice. She was what I wanted to be. And now she watches over me.
At least she tries. But I tend to be as headstrong as she was. I often – far too often – decide I know better.
Many years ago — more than I enjoy admitting — I made a decision. My girls were growing up fast and before I knew it, they’d be off to college. And I’d be alone. Alone was not fashionable. The last thing I wanted to be was unfashionable. I could not be alone. So, I made a plan. Like my jolly red-suited friend on the North Pole, I made a list and checked it twice. But in my own analytical manner — a manner some might refer to as anal-retentive-obsessive-compulsive-down-to-the-most-minute-detail — I took it a step further; I prioritized. I made a list of the most important things I was looking for in my next victim hubby. I wanted a man who was intelligent (but not smarter than me), a man who was well educated (but not better than me), a man who was attractive (but not prettier than me), a man who was funny (but not funnier than me). The most important thing I wanted was a man who was rich (but not richer than me was do-able). And I went shopping.
On a blind date one year later, I met my future was-band. Granted, he only met two of my top five – unfortunately, not the big one — but he had ‘potential.’ I was in love and as happy as a rat in a cheese factory.
Throw this one back, sweetie. Even his parents won’t let him in their house.
It didn’t matter that he was forty years old and still living in his parents’ garage.
Honey, this is not a good sign. Your undies last longer than his relationships.
It didn’t matter that his first marriage ended in less than a year.
Put this one back on the shelf and quit shopping at the dollar store, dear.
It didn’t matter that he wasn’t my usual engineer, accountant or attorney; he was an artist. An artist who worked in a toy store.
Girl, what are you thinking? Run – escape while you still can! Run away!
But did I listen? Of course not! I was in love and I knew what I wanted. Yes, I decided I knew better.
So fast-forward three years in court, half of my assets and tens of thousands of dollars of legal fees. As I click on the button authorizing my bank to send his alimony check each month – Lula reminds me lest I forget:
See, I told you so.