British Literature was one of several literature options required my senior year of high school. Many of my peers took the course because it was rumored to be easier than Word Lit, but I quietly shared my instructor’s passion for all things British. A favorite experience was when we watched the 1966 film “A Man For All Seasons” about Sir Thomas More, a Lord Chancellor in England who was martyred when he challenged King Henry VIII’s request to divorce is wife. Sir Thomas More stood on his principles and beliefs, never letting the power of the monarchy sway him. I know a man like that. For the sake of anonymity I’ll call him “Ice.”
My friend and co-worker, Charlene Smith, and I attended an out of state workshop organized by the military. We arrived at our destination to learn the airline had lost Charlene’s luggage. I tried to console her when a voice said “Ms. Fluffy Girl, please go to the hotel. I’ll stay with Ms. Smith.”
I turned around and found myself eye level with the chest of an officer. Holding my head back further I saw the face behind the voice. Oh my! I was staring into the eyes of one the most striking men I’d ever met. Ice introduced himself, flashed a dazzling smile and extended his hand to me. I took his hand and received his strong, firm handshake. I casually stepped back so I could see him fully. I’m 5’5” on a good day so Ice was at least a foot taller. His smile deepened the lines around his mouth and his piercing blue eyes seemed to look into my soul.
If my awe could be set to music, it would be to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” All this time I’m still holding his hand. I was so embarrassed! Ice laughed and joked about his ability to make women swoon. This encounter was the beginning our friendship.
The week I spent with Ice was a memorable period in my life. As a young girl I had visions of being an officer in this branch of the military and I got to live it for a week. I marched in formations, shouted cadences, ate with soldiers and even shot a weapon (yep)! Ice got a kick out of my enthusiasm and took pleasure in escorting me to each location on the tour. I was unaccustomed to this type of male attention. Midway through the week I noticed that I was different. I stood up little taller, I laughed deeper and my confidence was through the roof. Even as I type this it’s hard to describe, but I think I found myself during that week. Ice helped me discover the authentic Fluffy Girl and his zest for life had become my own. The new tune in my head was Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy.”
Toward the end of the week we toured a local airbase where a movie was filmed. Snapping pictures of the planes, I turned to ask Ice a question and the sadness on his face caught me off guard. His body was present yet his mind as far away as the jet that had just taken off. His aviator sunglasses prevented me from observing what his eyes were saying. I’d seen the heaviness he was carrying – it was the same I’d witnessed when looking in the mirror. I was so moved that I captured the moment on film (don’t laugh because I hadn’t gone digital yet). Ice looked my way, smiled and returned to my side. I didn’t ask what troubled him and it would be a year before I learned his secret. That story is for another day.
Ice and I have never had a romantic relationship, but that week he helped transform me into the woman I am today. No longer the overweight sister/daughter/friend/cousin, I was the sexy, curvy and vibrant Fluffy Girl. I like who I am. Thank you, Ice – my man for all seasons.
In Part 2 I’ll share what Ice and Sir Thomas More have in common.P.S. The airline never found Charlene’s luggage.
Question: Do you remember the first time you felt beautiful?Scripture: Psalms 139:14