Rowan '04: One True Thing

Metaphorically speaking, I've spent much of my life learning to stay upright on shifting sand. For as far back as I can remember there was nothing truly constant in my life except for change. No bedrock I could rely on, no one I could count on save myself, no absolute truism except the perpetual expectation that nothing, good or bad, would last for long.

My mother, bless her heart, changed husbands the way others change their socks. In darker moments of private reflection, I wonder if she didn't select them for no more profound reason than the suitor of the moment happened to compliment her current attire. Certainly the only obvious character trait they all had in common were their very hefty bank accounts that were substantially reduced when they and my mother parted company.

I need fingers on both hands to tally the number of husbands she's managed to work through. I sometimes wonder how any of them could possibly have believed her when she swore forever to them since she'd been blatantly unable to keep that same promise to others. But then I suppose most men when confronted with the beautiful, charming and vivacious person my mother so easily pretends to be, any trace of common sense they could lay claim to vanishes.

For the most part, I suffered from benign neglect where my stepfathers were concerned. And it didn't take me long to realize that was preferable to the alternative. I still have scars from those who took a more direct interest in me. That was one of the reasons I quickly learned not to argue with Mother about being sent off to yet another boarding school. While no one could ever claim being perpetually labeled as `the new kid' was an ideal situation, it was certainly preferable to the alternative.

Boarding schools gave me a feeling of temporary stability. They were by no means immutable since I knew I could be forced to leave at any moment. My mother's somewhat laissez-faire nature toward me in no way ensured I was totally free to do as I liked even though she might be on another continent.

She's always maintained an interest in me because I was occasionally useful. Sometimes to help set up a new prospective husband, assisted her in a con, or lent my god given talents to some new scheme. When she needed me, she was always quick to bolster my ego with compliments, to give me gifts and money, to do whatever it took to woo me. When I wasn't needed or proved to not possess the degree of skill needed, I was quickly shunted off to some other location. I wonder if she realizes just how much she taught me by doing so. I learned to see and hear lies, to spot the omissions, to comprehend hidden motives not solely from her lessons, but also from her actions. She fostered a deep distrust that I still find hard to shake off.

I also wonder if she's ever realized just how many times I deliberately sabotaged her plans. The first time was an accident, but by happy coincidence I realized doing so got me sent back to school and away from stepfather number three who was a mean drunk. The second time was a deliberate test. I wanted to know if she valued me, Ezra, and not just what I could do for her. I can't say the conclusion I came to necessarily made me happy, but then they say the truth shall set you free, and I would prefer to go through life without blinders.

Unfortunately I carried some of that need to test, to push, to weigh the motives each person I encountered well into adulthood. I need to know what it is others want from me, the price I will be asked to pay. I have to know what it would take before those around me walked away or sent me away. I can say without conceit that I am an expert at keeping people at a distance and finding ways to push the buttons they didn't even know they had.

I managed to keep nearly everyone at arm's length until I met Vin Tanner. I have never met a more laid back, unassuming individual, who is so totally competent at what he does. He is the first person I've ever met who was genuinely comfortable in his own skin, refusing to apologize for being who and what he was. He fascinated me from the moment I met him, a detail I took great pains to hide.

I had doubts that such a handsome man, someone with wonderful, quirky sense of humor and gentle nature could possibly be unattached. Or if unattached that he would deign to be interested in someone like me. No one else ever was, or certainly not for long at any rate.

We were friends, good friends, and I didn't want to ruin that. I knew all too well that carnal pleasure was fleeting and I wasn't prepared to exchange the sense of belonging I got as part of the team for a few brief moments of ecstasy, especially not when I didn't think it would last or ever be repeated. I didn't want a onetime thing. I could get that anywhere.

Was perhaps the first time in my life I was leery of rocking the boat. Funny that when I think back on it. There I was used to testing the depth of the water with both feet knowing full well I couldn't swim, and this as one incidence where I was afraid to even get my toes wet. I just couldn't trust myself not to drown.

Rather glad that Vin has far more courage than I could or will likely ever lay claim to. I would have missed out on so much if he hadn't forced the issue. Persistent in his pursuit, he is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me. Although, it took me awhile to believe in him, to trust him, I do now without reservation. They say good things come to those who wait.

Tonight, not long after he's fallen asleep, I find myself just staring at Vin. Just being able to look at him, relaxed and comfortable, satisfied little smile that graces his full lips after our passion had been sated, makes the world seem to melt away. It is almost as though we are the only two people on the planet. Nothing else matters, nothing else can touch or hurt me at this moment. It is a sense of peace that I never really expected to have. And I am so grateful for this opportunity.

I can't resist lightly caressing his face. He is so damn beautiful, so strong and sure of himself. I still have trouble understanding how he can see me at my worst, at my weakest, and still take me as I am. But all my fears, insecurities just sort of slip away in the face of his affection. All those shadows I carry with me vanish in the warmth and light he gives.

He's become the solid ground my world lacked, my pole star. Even when everything else is going to hell, Vin Tanner is the one true thing in my life I know I can believe in. I can trust him to stay the course, to hold the line. God, but I love this man, heart and soul. He is all that I will ever want, need or desire. I'm not sure I've ever been able to verbalize that, to really express it, and yet, I'm equally sure that somehow he knows.

I'm startled when his hand reaches out to capture mine entwining our fingers. Blue eyes barely open to look at me. "Ez?"

Damn. I hadn't meant to wake him. "Shhhh….go back to sleep."

"You `kay?" The question comes out more as a tired sigh as he shifts to pull me against him, holding our joined hands against his chest.

"I'm fine." I place a soft kiss above his heart, enjoying the feeling of warmth that envelopes me as I snuggle into him. We fit together so well, I wonder how the hell I ever managed to sleep without him in my bed.

Vin frowns, eyes drifting closed to blink open again. "Sure?"

"Very." I smile and lay my head on his shoulder.

He sighs softly, and rubs his cheek against my hair. "Love ya, Ez."

"Love you, Vin."


Inspiration for this is the song `Push' by Sarah McLachan.

Every time I look at you the world just melts away
All my troubles all my fears dissolve in your affections
You've seen me at my weakest but you take me as I am
And when I fall you offer me a softer place to land.

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You're the one true think I know I can believe in
Your all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in.

I get so mad so easy bu you give me room to breathe
No matter what I say or do because you're too good to fight about it
Even when I have to push just to see how far you'll go
You won't stoop down to battle buy you never turn to go

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You're the one true think I know I can believe in
Your all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in.

There are times I can't decide when I can't tell up from down
You make me feel less crazy when otherwise I'd drown
But you pike me up and brush me off and tell me I'm OK
Sometimes that's just what I need to get through the day

You stay the course, you hold the line, you keep it all together
You're the one true think I know I can believe in
Your all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in