I promise, I love having Khaled here with me. He’s more than fine with our house that’s really a studio apartment. And having him in my home, and in my bed, has been better than I imagined in a lot of ways. But… he does little things that are tough to deal with. For instance, he moved the campfire over closer to the expanded garden.
I now know for the future that he loves outdoor spaces and we’ll need to have some real landscaping for him to hang out in, but that does not help me now. Luckily, he put out the fire he started. Even though this counts as one for the cons column, there are more pros.
Plus, that moment was one of the ones when I knew I really truly loved Khaled. I lost my garlic plant and my plantain tree. Garlic is so expensive to grow, and plantains take so long to grow. But I didn’t even care, I was just happy Khaled was safe.
Plus, he was nice enough to clean up the ash from the destroyed plants so I could plant more when I got the chance.
Another point in the pros column for Khaled is that he loves my cooking. He’s happy when he eats the leftovers of any and everything I make.
After a while, it felt like he spent most of his time by the campfire enjoying the warmth on his hands. When I gardened, loving on my plants and coaxing them towards perfection, he was by the campfire.
When I was enjoying fish tacos, the bounty of another fishing outing, he was there at the campfire.
One morning, I was rehearsing how to ask him to pick up some hobbies. He was, of course, heading over to the campfire. He had a bit of an accident, but I refuse to count this as him catching himself on fire.
After he made sure he wasn’t about to burn himself or the house down, we sat and chatted by the campfire. He agreed he needed another hobby. He was actually looking for a career change, and he thought he could combine the two. He’d always wanted to be an artist. Living out on the Windenburg Island inspired him, and he finally felt ready to make that switch.
I thought about how Daddy would cringe at the the thought of me having a boyfriend who was an artist instead of something like a tech guru or investment banker. Well, I don’t just have him as a boyfriend. We live together, and we plan to marry one day. Part of me wanted to contact my daddy just to shove my new happiness in his face.
Then I realized something. This new life of mine isn’t about Daddy. It’s about me. I only left because I couldn’t have the life I wanted. Had my family been less oppressive, I would’ve been this exact person, just not in Windenburg.
I have to shake my head at myself a bit here. Poor little rich girl, sad because her money comes with strings attached. That’s why things are going to be different for my kids and their kids. If I have anything to say about it, no other Duvall will have to run away from home to be themselves.
Daddy wouldn’t get that my current life means something to me. He would see it as an extended period of acting out. And it just might kill me if the first man I loved didn’t accept the last man I’ll love (unless I have boys!). That would break my heart, and I don’t think I could handle it.
I think I’ve just decided. My daddy and Khaled will never meet.