Canoeing to My Destiny
Chapter 20

Copyright© 2012 by Lance Manne

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dawn. I'm in my mid-twenties and that is all I will tell you about my age. One of my goals in life is to become a nurse so that I can help people. I have an adventuress streak and I like to try new things. Last year while exploring the wilderness with a couple of guys, I met Matt. Since that time, my whole life has changed. I would like to tell you a little bit about this man.

Matt is taller than me and has the bluest eyes of anyone I have ever known. When I look into them, it is like looking into a vast unknown universe. Sometimes, it seems to me that time slows as I gaze into those amazing orbs of unfathomable depth and wonder. I never know what treats are waiting there for me to ponder and enjoy.

He also has a head of thick dark hair. I will often come up behind him and run my fingers slowly through his wonderful locks. He believes in using only water, no shampoo, on his hair. The reasoning there is that your own body will supply the oils necessary to make your hair vibrant and rich. It sure seems to work for him. His hair is always so soft and shiny. After my tousles, his hair will gently fall back into place.

His face is strong and handsome. There is a certain jutting of his jaw when he sets his mind to something. I will often study his profile when I see him from across the room. Occasionally, our eyes will meet and then that wonderful smile will quickly spread across his face. At that moment, my heart will usually skip a beat as I smile lovingly back at him.

His body is very pleasing to the eye. He possesses a narrow waist which eventually transitions into a wide chest and shoulders. When I see him outside, working in the yard without his shirt, I sometimes feel all giddy, like a teenage girl.

And then there is what he calls his guns or pipes. I love his arms. They can be so gentle and tender; like when he hugs me. And then when they are needed, I watch amazed as those ribbons of muscles swell to perform the task at hand. I love the way they bulge and ripple when flexed.

The first time I saw him, he was lying on the ground in an unconscious state. I have to admit; I did gently run my fingers along the outline of his face. I secretly hoped that I would have an occasion to learn more about him. At the time, I knew the chances for that happening were slim.

I have known of many beautiful women who have married less attractive men. I would guess that they were looking for other qualities; maybe stability, kindness, or strength of character. I would surmise that they valued those attributes higher than those of mere physical attractiveness.

That brings me to the point I wish to make. Why should I be so lucky? Why did I meet a strong and handsome man who is also kind and thoughtful? Unlike many women, I do not feel I deserve anything. I have gone through some very difficult times in my life. Over the last few years, I have arrived at the point where I thought my hopes and dreams were gone forever. I had come to the realization that I should learn to settle for the little pleasures I might find scattered, like crumbs, along the way.

That all changed when I met Matt. So far, I have been pleased by almost everything he has done. Of course, there are a few things that irritate me. But he is a man. He just can't help himself. He sometimes snores at night. He loves garlic. He puts the toilet paper roll on backwards. He lives in an igloo in the winter rather than staying in a nice warm cabin.

Realistically, I'm sure there are things I do that irritate him. If there are, he seems to keep those things to himself. I have never heard him criticize me in any way. I have never met a man like that before. I have also never heard him raise his voice in anger or wrath, except with the guys from the canoe adventure.

I do not believe I could ever find a gentler or more caring guy.

Another feature I admire about him is his hands. They are strong and I can feel the power in them. They have calluses. Sometimes they feel rough against my soft skin. I love his hands. I realize that he uses them to earn a living. I know that they will protect me and work hard to supply my needs.

On most occasions, I am surprised at how gentle they can be. Best off all, I know that those mitts of might will never hurt me, or be used in anger.

I have observed Matt during times of stress, when other men would have lost their cool. Matt assesses the situation, thinks about it, and then takes steps to correct it. There are many times when I just stand back and watch him with awe and respect.

It is hard for me to accept the fact that someone adores me. Sometimes I wonder if it is a dream. My life has been a series of relationships that have been formed and then lost. Every time I thought I had finally found a home, I would see that stage end and a new one would begin. Some families I stayed with were good, while others were bad. I guess, over the years, I learned to develop a shield to protect me from the hurt that would eventually come.

I have always been self-conscious about my body. I look at the models on the covers of magazines and I cringe. I know there are so many places where I fail to live up to the expectations of the world. I try my best to look good for Matt, but there is only so much that a girl can do.

Matt never seems to notice. When I catch him looking at me, I can see that he is very pleased. He often verbalizes and lets me know that he likes what he sees. Do you have any idea what that does for a girls esteem? I feel pretty and I want to be even prettier for him.

When I married my first husband, I was young and in love. He looked so handsome in his uniform and I found the lifestyle to be so exciting. While he was stationed in Virginia, he took out some loans to buy a Harley and other things that he thought we needed. He was to so proud of that bike and he loved it when I would ride with him. I have to admit, it was a fun time.

It was so easy to find a place that would offer loans to military personnel. They knew that most of the men were young and unwise in the ways of the world. There were many loan shops that were situated along the roads leading to the military bases. I suspected that many of the loan companies preyed upon the men and women in uniform and then charged them ridiculously high interest rates for their services.

My husband became involved with one of these companies. When I told him that I was concerned about our financial situation, he told me not to worry. In fact, just before he went on his last mission, we argued about money. He told me that he would try to win the money back in a poker game. He told me he had a plan. He said to leave the worrying to him. I gave him a hug and a kiss. As he left to protect the very people who were preying on the young soldiers, he had the added burden of wondering how he was going to get out of his financial situation.

When he was killed, I was crushed. It was hard for me to believe that he was really gone. It wasn't until several months after the funeral that I realized that the burden of the debt had fallen on me. At the time, I was only working a few hours and attending school.

I had to find a job just to pay the debt and my living expenses. Most of the time, I could only pay the minimum that was due on the loans. The debt began to build and my credit rating took a beating. I realized that I was in a difficult situation, but I was determined that I was going to pay back the money that I owed.

When I met Matt, I didn't think too much about my finances. I fell in love and thought that we could survive on his earnings. He already had a house and seemed to be financially stable. I figured that I could continue to work and apply the necessary funds to the reduction of my debt.

Then he found the property out on the island. I could not believe how excited he became. His enthusiasm was intoxicating and I was soon caught up in his dream. When he gets excited, the boy in him tends to surface. He tends to talk fast and his eyes sparkle. It is so cute to watch and observe him when he is in this state. It tends to make me love him even more.

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