I remember the first time I saw her with a sharp, vivid fondness. I was on the train on my way to a job interview at just 20 years old. At one of the stops, she climbed on. She was wearing a royal blue dress with golden yellow sunflowers on it, which I would later learn were her favorites. Her beautiful chocolate skin glowed with a type of intense energy which I had never experienced before. The way her curly hair bounced up and down against her shoulders with every step, mimicked the beat of my beating heart, which was pounding in my chest as she moved closer. She looked at me with her beautiful deep brown eyes and said "Is this seat taken?"
I was so awestruck I couldn't get the word "sure" out of my throat. I just clumsily flung myself into the next seat, allowing her to sit beside me. "Hi, I'm Daria," she said, after settling into her seat and cautiously eying my oafish staring. "Eric" I managed to croak out. "Where are you headed?" she asked. I explained that I was on the way to a job interview at a restaurant. She started with "Oh my God, I have a crazy story about a restaurant." For the next 20 minutes she rambled on about this story, with each turn leading to a story about something else, and going absolutely nowhere. My mind raced to catch up, both absorbing her rampaging dialogue and simultaneously thinking about how beautiful she looked while she described all of the things she found funny, or was passionate or angry about. It was, to steal a cliche, "a roller coaster of emotions." I didn't want it to end. Finally, my stop came. She thanked me for listening, while noting my bushy beard and large stature and told me "I reminded her of a big teddy bear." I noted the fox keychain hanging off her backpack. "Goodbye Mr. Bear," she said in jest as I made my way off the train. " Goodbye Ms. Fox," I chided back.
I can't explain the feeling I had as I stepped off the train, watching it roll away with her on it. It was a deep seeded sadness, as if I was losing a part of my heart, and yet, there were a strange lightness to my soul. I quickly shook it off, and went to my interview.
5 years and 4 failed relationships later, I found myself in France, staging at famed restaurant "Septime." I had been there nearly 3 months, sharpening my skills as a chef, a career I found myself excelling at, but lacked the kind of soul satisfaction I was looking for. I stopped by the local bistro for a croissant and an espresso, and that's when I saw her. Ms. Fox was sitting alone, sipping water in inside the bistro. This time I was determined to not let the moment slip away. "Hello Ms. Fox," I said with a type of confidence I didn't know I had in me, as I approached her table. She turned around and looked at me with surprise. "Mr. Bear!?" she exclaimed, immediately recognizing me. "What are the chances?" I remarked. "Pretty slim" she agreed. I was just about to cut through the small talk and ask her to dinner when an incredibly handsome young man, far better looking than me, brought her a coffee, kissed her on the cheek and asked "Who is this?" She introduced me to her new boyfriend. I was crushed, but did my best not to let on. I wanted her to be happy, she deserved to be happy, I just wasn't convinced he could do that. For lack of a more creative term, he looked like a complete and total fuck boy. Nevertheless, we exchanged social media accounts, and I went on my way back to the restaurant.
9 more years flew by. I stacked up failed relationships by the dozen on my my journey to find whatever it was I was looking for. My career as a chef was over. Despite my impressive skillset, I just didn't had the passion for it. I had instead found my passion as a wordsmith, quickly becoming renowned as a writer for fine dining blogs and magazines. I had begun to transition myself into screenwriting, and had just released the first horror film with my name attached as a writer. I felt at least from a career perspective, I had finally found my place. I had kept in touch with Daria over the years, trading stories about relationships or issues we needed to vent about. We had always had good rapport like that, but I had given up on the idea that we were on a path to collide romantically.
I was in my apartment in Hollywood cooking myself some eggs when my phone rang. It was Daria. "Hello Ms. Fox" I said, as was custom to open our conversations. I could sense immediately that this time was different. Her newest boyfriend had trapped her within his own cyclone of emotional abuse. The spark she once had in her soul was non existent. I could hear it in her voice. We talked for a few hours, and went over all the scenarios in her head. By the end of the conversation, she had made up her mind to leave, and that's exactly what she did.
Shortly after I made a trip down to Texas for a film I was a part of. As part of the wrap party we went to a local nightclub with the cast and crew to celebrate. I stepped up to the bar to order my drink, and my jaw nearly hit the floor. Daria was the bartender. "Bear?" she asked excitedly? "Fox?" I replied. We shared a laugh. After her shift she came out to join us. As the night progressed, I worked up the nerve, and while dancing with her, I went in for a kiss. The second our lips met there was this sense of intense energy that coursed through my entire body. It was like everyone else disappeared and it was just her and I, the Fox and the Bear, floating on this cloud that existed outside of space and time. For the first time in a long, I felt at peace. In that moment, we both knew what love was.
We married soon after, and had two beautiful children. At the age of 48, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. It was a death sentence. Daria stuck with me through every step of the way. She doted on me, nursed me, and gave up for more than I would have ever asked her too. The love and kindness that she showed me was more than I could ever ask for. More than I had deserved. If I listed all of the things I had done wrong in my life on paper, then the love I received wouldn't make any sense. I didn't deserve it. Good thing love doesn't take resumes.
As I write this, I can feel the life fading from my body. I find myself with that same feeling I had the first time I watched her roll away on that train. I feel a deep sadness that when I close my eyes after writing this, I may never see her again. I also feel a sense of peace in knowing that I will without question find her and love her again in the next life, because that is just simply who we are: Wild, untamed hearts who always seem to find their way to each other, throughout eternity.
That is the saga of the Fox and the Bear.
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An epic saga! I liked this line- Good thing love doesn't take resumes.
Clap'n. It was like a good Harry Met Sally interview.