In Greek mythos, Perseus came upon the Princess Andromeda and saved her. It is from this heroic constellation that the Perseid Meteor Shower comes from. This particular star show peaks every year between August 9-13th.. For many years, it has been speculated that some of these meteors come in pairs. Hand in hand, racing, blazing fire across the sky. The Perseid Shower boasts on an average year 60-100 meteors streaking by every hour. August 2016, however was special because that particular shower boasted 100-200 meteors an hour. It was also during this time that my own hero came with his fire and crashed into my life.
He has kind eyes. This is the first impression I had of the man I would not so secretly come to call, El Tejano. We sat in the coffee shop, a chocolate cookie in between us, and I listened as this Texan with the kind eyes and a mischievous smile told me about how important the tortilla was to the taco. The tortilla is just as important as the filling, he explained. Never eat white corn tortillas, they smell like feet. And flour tortillas are the best when made by little Mexican ladies in the back. I watched the way his strong hands gestured and wondered what they would feel like on my skin. I got lost in his smile, wondering which dimple was deeper and if he was smiling that way just for me. His eyes twinkled and they made me think of shooting stars I could wish upon. Our first date lasted 12 hours and took us to a record shop, to nachos, to hiking in the dark. Our first kiss was on the bank of a creek, a quiet place where I wondered if he could hear the butterflies in my stomach or feel the rapid beating of my heart. Could he sense the moment he took my breath away? The moment I knew that I never wanted to stop kissing him.
We spent our second date on a picnic at my favorite spot along the Guadalupe River. It’s full of giant trees and rushing water and secrets. Do you want to see shooting stars? I asked him. He was much cooler than me, a respected House DJ, a talented artist, the owner of the best dog I had ever met. He knew how to work a ranch and knew the history of Chicago music better than me. He was eloquent and passionate and intimidating. But I had heard about the Perseid meteor shower and I knew the best overlook and I wanted to share my nerdy world with him. That sounds great, there was that smile again and there followed my heart. El Tejano scared me, my hand fit in his as it had been molded just for that purpose. My belly ached from the laughter he pulled out of me. How could it be, I wondered, that I had to come half way across the country to find someone that felt like home.
I don’t like labels. This is not what I meant to say when he asked me about being his girlfriend. I meant to say, how is it that Love rolls off my tongue as easily as your name does. I meant to say, I’m scared at how happy I am, at how invested in this I already am. I meant to say, yes, I’m yours. I remember the way his eyes blazed, the way his hands clasped each other tight. I remember how annoyed he looked, as if I had forgotten the past few days. As if what was happening between us was an every day occurrence. What if you are too good to be true? This was my deepest fear, this was the baggage that I carried from previous relationships, this was me desperately trying to save myself. This was me at my most vulnerable. His face drops and he drops to his knees. He looks at me with those kind eyes, those warm brown eyes, his strong hands are on me, his voice is full of purpose. What if you are too good to be true, Kriss Abigail?
In that moment, he was my Perseus, cutting the chains of past heartbreak, breaking me free of the fear that had entangled me. He was also risking his heart, setting down his baggage, and giving in to what we both knew was right in front of us. Something like this doesn’t come along every day, he explains. How can we just walk away from it? And the truth is, that I had never planned to walk away from him. Even before we talked about it, I had already deleted all my dating apps. I was already his, even if my words were coming out all wrong.
He’s standing at the edge of the overlook, watching the sky and I’m watching him. I’m watching him and my mind is racing so far ahead that I barely register in time that a massive ball of fire is blazing across the earth and it lights up the whole sky. The meteor lands so close to us, I don’t understand what we have seen. Was it a flare? I ask…because how could it be that a star has fallen to earth at the precise moment that I’m pledging myself to another? He smiles that smile that’s just for me and says, see even the Universe wants us to be together. What more do you want?
In the months since the Universe sent a sign, El Tejano has been my hero. He has shown me what real love looks like. He shows up to our relationship with a battleax and an open heart. He is my Champion. He has dried my tears when I’m so homesick that I don’t make sense. He has danced me around the kitchen to old Spanish ballads, as if he knew just how to fulfill my dreams. He has driven hours from his home in Austin to my ranch in the Hill Country simply to pick me up and take me on adventures. He has never faltered, never wavered, never backed down from loving me.
I never did make wish on that shooting star and maybe that is because with him by my side, every dream seems possible.