“Are you ready?” He smiled at me as I climbed in and he shut the door.
“Uh-huh!” I glanced at him so that he wouldn’t see the terror in my eyes. Calm down! He’s not taking you to jail.
And he pulled the patrol car out of the driveway.
“I’m probably not going to write any tickets today. It’s Thanksgiving.”
My terror turned to disappointment. Reinforcing an underlying belief that I thought myself crazy. Apparently, I felt someone should go to jail. Just not me. A shining humanitarian moment.
“Oh. Okay.” Attempting to mask my neurosis.
He pointed the car toward his beat. That stretch of road that he was assigned to cover for the day. He parked on the shoulder of the freeway. Giving himself a view. And then he started a conversation.
It was challenging to follow. An unfamiliar female voice kept chanting all manner of numbers and letters and random words. She vied for attention but he continued to talk. Zebra and Mary and King. What is she trying to say?
“Um, feel free to stop and listen.”
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m listening.”
To who? Her or me?
But the conversation continued. My senses were a bit maxed but I tried to hang in there. Nodding where appropriate and still trying to act natural. The profuse sweating of my hands distracted me from the issue of what position to put them in.
“Darn it.” And the conversation stopped. He started the car and pulled out.
Remember Clark Kent? He would duck into a phone booth? (Remember phone booths?) Anyway, he would rip the front of his shirt and in seconds be transformed from journalist to superhero. I’ve seen something similar. David went from normal conversation to police officer in a fraction of a second.
I sat rigid in the passenger seat as he pursued an SUV barreling down the freeway. Lights flashing. An electricity charged the air. The conversation was gone. He was focused. Alert. And I was no longer a companion. I was a spectator.
I watched in amazement at this man I thought I knew. His composure and calm was mind boggling as he confronted the unknown. I became acutely aware of my lack. My lack of knowledge. My lack of authority. My lack of courage.
What would I do if the driver shot him right in front of me? Could I ever marry a man whose job required him to put himself in such a precarious position?
And then an amazing thing happened. I saw it. The razor sharp edge of the thin blue line. Sending him off to work meant endangering a part of my soul. He had my heart.
There would always be a part of him that I could not follow. I could give him my heart but I could never control where he took it. Or the possible dangerous positions he would put it in. That was just going to be part of the deal.
That was over fourteen years ago. (Difficult to believe based on the above photo. That’s not really me by the way and that’s not the really the car. Just in case there is any confusion.) My first and I think only ride along. A lot has changed since then. Children, moving, and now retirement. Oh, and moving out of state. That’s a rather big change. But one thing is the same.
He still has my heart. And on this Thanksgiving, I’m truly thankful.
What are you thankful for?