Title: Less Than Perfect
The dark shadows of the winter night seem to be imprisoning my very soul as I stand here next to a man I am very sure many consider a perfect specimen of our species. And though I have fought the idea of that very image of perfection for several years now, I am now very sure that in so many degrees of what is considered normal behavior he is so much less than perfection itself. And yet he is oh so much more than mere standard of perfection as decreed by our RCMP rules of engagement. He is perfect in so many other ways than can not be indicated by a quarterly mental fitness review, which is the means as a commanding officer, his commanding officer have been taught to value my personnel. But in my heart, despite the numbers on the fitness scale that indicate that his mental state is sometimes merely adequate to perform his duties I know that they do not summarily indicate his superlative fitness as a fellow officer. He is the most determined person I know in his pursuit of justice for others, yet he never seems to demand it for himself.
He is a man who holds true to his own beliefs no matter what the cost to himself. Within that steadfastness and concentration towards his ideals and those he holds dear has always lain the reason for his apparent oddness. For those around him and superior to him in rank have never understood his dedication to what he considers his duty.
His behavior can be infuriating, and at times incomprehensible. I have spent the last two years of my life trying to understand what makes him continue on with his life despite the disappointments that have been thrown his way. And, despite his exile to this metropolis that is so unlike anyplace he has been conditioned to handle, he has prevailed and made fast his small world of friends. He can be a bumbling fool, (a totally incomprehensible idiot), a clumsy oaf, an acrobat or a knight in shinning armor, or a totally romantic soul all in one day. It is these exasperating attributes that seem to be among the things he does that drive me crazy.
But then as one of his staunchest and most irritating admirers asked me recently, "Have you ever looked at him? I mean really looked at him?" And I listened and found myself wondering if I had been the one living in some kind of `other' world of my own. This man who has driven me to taunt him, to rail at him, to expect both the least and most of him has somehow crawled into my own soul.
I have been forced to consider all the things I have done out of a deep need to try and force this man into displaying his true nature. I, who have been city born and bred, cannot begin to understand that which seems to have set his soul free. I need the swirly red flash of city lights and city people for my survival. The very density of people crashing along the sidewalks in one thick line of humanity is a palpably needful thing to my being. The intensity of city smells; the good, the bad and even the ugly are woven into the fibers of my being. I need them to survive.
The permeating smells of city life sooth me. And yet those same smells and roaring rhythms of city life hurt him; wound him deeply. It should have been abundantly apparent to anyone who knows this infuriating man with his trailing wolf companion that city domesticity is not his style.
I've been cold to my very core here, surrounded as we are by deep snow and vast expanses of emptiness. But, looking into his eyes and seeing the deep expressiveness of emotion there awakened as I have never seen it before I realize that I have never once really considered his needs or what will best nurture him. I've imagined some fairytale existence that can never be. I've tested him looking for faults of character in him that never existed hoping to find him so lacking that he wouldn't fit in my world. It saddens me to realize that it is my own set of faults that make me unable to fit into his world.
His time of exile for his actions in doing that which any one of us should have been proud to proclaim loudly has been a punishment felt by the core of his being but sublimated with the soft venire of those few friendships he'd made. The wind howls around us and ruffles the fur around the hoods of our parkas as we stand here some little distance from the dancing firelight that so many of our colleagues are sitting around. My fingers are numbed within the thick mittens I wear and I fear that somewhere deep inside me my soul may just as cold.
He watches me out of the corner of his eyes as he stands here next to me dressed just as heavily layered as I but with a warmth radiating from him that I wish I could bask within forever. He and I are afraid to look at one another. The teaming frustrations that held us both prisoners in a land that we were not comfortable in have made us so. I want to slide my mittened hand sideways to see if he is reaching out to me. I want to turn and look at him and know that I could leave my life behind and be happy here in this wilderness with him. My heart jumps into my throat even as we finally turn and face each other. I find myself staring at him and seeing that which I do not want to destroy. I have listened to the silence out here and know he belongs as I never will.
We brush our bodies closer to each other and I find myself cocking my head back to search in the depths of his eyes once more. I can't do it. I can't find it in myself to ask him to stay in further exile from that which he loves. I find myself telling him with words that I would miss those things I love about city life, but I don't ask him to join me for that would destroy him. I watch from the corner of my eyes as his shoulders raise then droop as I talk.
When I walk away from him with the sound of wolf howls in my ears I feel upon my lips the soft, warm gentleness of the imprint his lips left there upon me. Tomorrow I will find my way out of this white blanket of nothingness. Tomorrow night I will find the time to crawl into my solitary bed and mourn my own lack of perfection.