I love reading this book, Captivating, about a woman’s heart by Stasi Eldredge. Her husband, John Eldredge, wrote the accompanying book, Wild at Heart, for a man’s heart.
In the introduction of Captivating, she mentions about a time she and John were camping in the Tetons with their three sons and how they canoed through pitch darkness. What seemed like an adventure had suddenly become a test of skill as a couple. To provide some context, they knew dusk was settling in; in less than twenty minutes night would be upon them and the river and the woods. They’d be in the river alone with only a general idea of which direction to manoeuvre. They went ahead anyway because it was a sense of adventure. They planned to go ashore along a cove closest to the road so they wouldn’t have to walk too far to find their car. As they were reaching their destination, a bull moose appeared exactly where they had planned to come ashore. Knowing the dangers of deaths by moose, they knew they could not come ashore there and that they had to find an alternative. At this point, it was pitch black and they had to canoe up, searching for the right channel that would keep them out of the main current. In that moment, John must steer with skill and Stasi must paddle with every strength. One mistake would basically sweep them and their boys off downriver into the night. But they did it and that required teamwork. At this point, Stasi Eldredge mentions that she was no longer Stasi. She was Sacagawea, Indian Princess of the West, a valiant and strong woman. This was directly lifted from the book itself.
Every woman desires just that. They long to be captivating and to play a purposeful role. I know I do. I’ve always longed to be one of those Charlie’s Angels kind of girl. I loved watching those powerhouse movies starring chicks who were kickass and could just take down bad guys. Totally Spies, Kim Possible, Charlie’s Angels, Nikita, Agent Carter etc. I would often fantasise how I’d be as kickass as they were.
Marion and I share a dream of creating stories together one day. I’d often imagine the type of character I’d like mine to be. I guess it’s no surprise that when I did play Dungeons and Dragons with him and a group of friends, I chose to be a wood elf druid, Lia Wolfheart. I didn’t choose to create that character because of my love for animals alone, but also because of how powerful I’d be when I get to turn into elements. Aside from Dungeons and Dragons, I’d imagine myself as an assassin spy who took down bad guys or a vigilante who brought justice to those who escaped a sentence, especially towards cruelty to animals. It seems silly to talk about these dreams out loud because it’s a fantasy. But enough about all of that and back to the topic of what I wanted to write about.
On Friday, 25 November 2016, Marion and I decided to have a cycling date at East Coast Park. We left my house a little late and the journey itself was long. We reached East Coast Park around 5pm. The skies were teasing us the whole day with dark clouds looming over the horizon. We heard thunder too but we decided to just stick with our plans and go for it. As usual, we got the two-seater bike. It’s also because our legs were still sore from Muay Thai so we thought that sharing a bike would be a better idea than having two individual bikes. Marion took the front seat and I took the back. We cycled without a destination in mind for awhile, along the beach. I told him I wanted to try cycling us so I took the front seat instead. Although I had better control than Marion did, mostly cause I cycle more; Marion had more strength and I grew tired easily. So we changed seats again and decided to find the hawker area where they sell BBQ Sambal Stingray. We cycled to the hawker area and decided to just have an early dinner. It was already 6plus at that time. We didn’t have a bike lock or chain with us so we had to leave it outside. Because of that, we chose the outside seats with a single umbrella to shelter the table should it rain.
We were halfway into our dinner when it started to pour. We didn’t move to the seats inside. The rain got heavier and it was beating in to our food. It was also beating in to the seats and our butts were getting soaked. We continued finishing up our food in discomfort – there was nothing else to be done. If it was one thing we learnt as a couple over the years, it is to rough it out.
We were done with our dinner and the time was now 7.15pm. We knew we had to make a move soon or there would be overtime penalty charges. The rain was now a thunderstorm and we could see the lightning flash across the sea where the ships were. It was dangerous but we didn’t have much of a choice.
I turned to him and asked if we should just ride under the rain. He said “okay, we might as well”. I was surprised by his answer because Marion hates the rain. He doesn’t like the feeling of being drenched and the discomfort that comes along with it. I have often asked him to come play in the rain with me when an opportune moment arises; he has always said no. So we walked into the rain with a single small umbrella and we stepped into the puddle that surrounded our bike. I held the umbrella up as he carried the bike out of the puddle. I think he thought I meant to push the bike out but I actually meant to cycle out.
So I told him to hold on to my backpack and to carry the umbrella for me as I got into the front seat and cycled us back. The rain was so bad that it kept getting into my eyes. So I took out my sunglasses and wore them at night so that it could at least keep most of the water out from my eyes. We looked ridiculous. Imagine this – Marion with the umbrella in his hand sheltering us, me with my shades at night cycling us back. We tried to take a short cut but there was a dead end and I was afraid because there was lightning and being out in the open like that was dangerous. My vision was also reduced by the rain. Although I was the one in control of the bike, Marion was paddling with me to stabilise it and he was giving me the directions of where to turn. We stopped by a kiosk and bought two disposable ponchos before continuing on. At this point, it was already 7.22pm and we needed about 10-15 minutes to get back to the bicycle rental.
As mentioned before, Marion had a lot more strength and a lot more speed so he took over this time. Thankfully, the rain was beginning to subside and we could see better. We eventually made it in time.
He did it. I did it. WE did it.
We looked like fools but it was one of the best moments I shared with Marion. It was indeed an adventure and it was fun. I felt like we were working as a team and that I had an active role in this instead of sitting in the sidelines as he did all the work. As much as a woman likes to be the damsel or the princess once in awhile; a woman also likes to be the heroine. Like Stasi Eldredge, I was no longer Cristy; I was Lia Wolfheart, heart of the wild. I felt strong and valiant.
Marion could have easily told me to take a back seat and to let him do the work but he knows my heart and he knows I am meant for more and that I am more. With drenched clothes and the tumultuous and unrelenting rain, I felt so free and so close to nature. I felt all my worries being washed away. It has been a long time since I played in the rain like that. The last time I did that was when I was walking home from school (my Millennia Institute years) and the rain was so heavy that I didn’t see a point for an umbrella anymore so I took it down and started dancing and twirling in the rain, just like in the movies.
Sometimes, as we grow up into adults, we forget to see the world with child’s eyes. On Friday, we were just two kids on the greatest adventures of our lives and it was perfect.