I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“Daredevil Trapeze Artists”

I do not wish to write a book series. I have far too many names and diverse characters who reside within my crazy never-shuts-down head for just one. Far too many. Plus my God-given talents expand much broader than writing a book series. –-Raelyn
Blogging Friends…. This above quotation was something that I wrote several years ago. I saw it on the very bottom of ‘Minuscule is good!’ yesterday, and I laughed inside. Why? Because I had forgotten all about this vow to myself. And here I am—today—working hard on Fictional Story Number Thirty-Seven…. Which just so happens to be Part Three in my first ‘official’ intentional book series!! Why? Because I fell in love with my characters, Ellington and Elizabeth!! Well…. This will also be—if I can control it—my very last book series!! Why? Because—as I expressed above—I possess a crazy never-shuts-down head!! And to quote Bob Dylan from his song, ‘Maggie’s Farm’…. I got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane…. While writing this particular fictional story? That line reflected exactly
how I’d frequently felt—as several different potential fictional stories simultaneously spoke to me—I got a head full of ideas that are drivin’ me insane…. This is also my second version of 'Daredevil Trapeze Artists', because, apparently, the first version—which was written in longhand—sucked!! Well!! This is what happens when I let Little Miss Perfectionist run amok…. ‘Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive’, Raelyn
“Daredevil Trapeze Artists”   
Children are a blessing, not burdens. That is exactly what Ellington and his lovely wife, Elizabeth, firmly believe. Now, many, many, many happy, positive, Life-changing events have occurred in their existence since they met during the unlikely circumstances of when she served as a police detective—who found his late first love, Lucia’s corpse—drowned in Rocky River’s scenic, yet freezing cold rushing waters. Lucia had committed suicide there over twenty years ago.
Since then, Ellington and Elizabeth got married at Three Wooden Crosses Church!! It was there where they became born-again Christians!! Elizabeth resigned from her career as a police detective. Together, they have created twelve beautiful children—who rage from age twenty-two to two years old—Eleanor-Lucia, Ellis, Eliora, Eldridge, Eleena, Eldon, Electra, Elliot, Ellen, Elmo, plus fraternal twins, Elvis and Elvira!! Elizabeth has obviously had her hands plenty full as their ‘non-working’ homeschooling Mother and Ellington’s wife!!
“Mom, Dad,” said Eleanor-Lucia—age twenty-two—one day during a visit to Ellington and Elizabeth’s house, “Everybody…. I have met somebody!! I think I’m in love!!”
Really?!” said Elizabeth, “Oh, Eleanor-Lucia!!”
“What is his name?” asked Ellington.
Zimmerman,” answered Eleanor-Lucia.
She smiled.
“But I call him ‘Zimmy’!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
What?!” Ellen—age six—said matter-of-factly, “‘Zimmerman’?! You mean his name does not start with an ‘El’ like the rest of our family?!”
Nope!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I are going to break the mold with our relationship!!”
“That is stupid!!” protested Ellen in a bossy fashion, “Why would you want to ‘break the mold’?”
“Be nice, Ellen!!” said Elizabeth.
“Is your relationship with Zimmerman as serious as you are making it sound, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Ellington.
Yes!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I are absolutely inseparable!! We’re together every single day!!”
“That is so sweet!!” Eleena—age fourteen—who is Ellington’s and Elizabeth’s young, Hallmark film-watching, love story-reading romantic of a daughter, “How did you two meet? Tell us!! I want to know!!”
“We met at church!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “You may—or may not—have seen him there, Mom and Dad!! But, who knows, because Three Wooden Crosses is a huge congregation with practically hundreds of people!!”
“What does Zimmerman look like?” asked Elizabeth, “Describe him, Eleanor-Lucia and maybe—just maybe—I will be able to picture the guy in my head!!”
“Zimmy has curly brunette hair and distinctive beautiful blue eyes!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia.
Wow!!” exclaimed Eliora—age eighteen—who is a practical thinker, “Zimmerman has brunette hair and blue eyes?! That is seemingly unusual!! Brunette-haired people normally—but not always, obviously—have brown eyes!!”
“I know!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
Elizabeth shook her head in bewilderment.
“No, I haven’t a clue who Zimmerman is!!” said Elizabeth.
Neither do I!!” said Ellington.
“Let Eleanor-Lucia finish the story!!” said Ellen.
Yeah!!” agreed Eleena, “Eleanor-Lucia has not even gotten to the romantic part, yet!!”
Eleanor-Lucia laughed.
“Anyway, I was talking to my best girlfriend, Lorraine, on Wednesday night, when she said something absolutely hilarious,” continued Eleanor-Lucia, “So I laughed out loud!! And then Zimmy said that he immediately thought, Who is that? Where did her laugh come from? Ah, she is ‘the one’!! And….”
Eleanor-Lucia smiled.
“'The rest is history', as they say!!” Eleanor-Lucia finished.
Awwww….” sighed Eleena, “Are you and Zimmerman going to get married?!”
“I hope so,” said Eleanor-Lucia, with a smile written on her face, “Someday…. But Zimmy has not even asked me to marry him yet!! We are still in our dating season of Life!!”
“If you and Zimmerman get married, then you’ll leave our family….” whined Elliot—age eight—who is a sensitive soul.
“Do not get ahead of yourself, Elliot!!” Eliora chimed in, “Like Eleanor-Lucia said, Zimmerman hasn’t even proposed to her yet!!”
“And I do not even live here anymore, remember Elliot?” Eleanor-Lucia gently said, “I am trying to live my own independent Life as an adult!! But I still visit you all frequently…. Right, Elliot? I am here today… Right, Elliot?”
Yeah….” said Elliot.
“Well, that will not change when Zimmy asks me to marry him, alright, Elliot?” said Eleanor-Lucia.
“Do you promise, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Elliot.
She smiled reassuringly.
“I promise!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
“Is this Zimmerman guy a nice man?” asked Electra—age ten—who is cautious, “We do not even know him!! Does he like big families? Because we definitely have one!! Does he like kids? Oh, what if Zimmerman hates us?!”
“Zimmy is a nice guy!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia, “He’s wonderful, he’s humble, he’s kind!! Do not worry…. Zimmy serves in Three Wooden Crosses Church’s kindergarten Sunday school class every single week…. He is great with kids!! And his classroom has, like, fifteen or twenty children…. That is obviously way more than this family’s clan!! Zimmy will absolutely love you all!! I promise!!”
“Do you and Zimmerman kiss each other?” Elmo—age four—said in a childish, immature fashion, “Ewwww!! You can catch cooties from Zimmerman!!”
“Wait. What?!” said Elizabeth, with surprise and shock in his voice, “Where did you hear the word ‘cooties’, Elmo?”
“From me!!” Eldridge—age twelve—confessed matter-of-factly, “Because I say that girls have cooties all the time!!”
“So do boys!!” teased Eleanor-Lucia with a cockeyed smirk written on her face, “That is why Zimmy and I have decided to wait until marriage before we kiss each other!! Why? Because you cannot catch cooties from your husband or wife!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“I think that saving your very first kiss for marriage is so romantic, Eleanor-Lucia!!” sighed Eleena, “I mean…. Because nobody does that anymore!! Not in books, not in movies, not even in real Life!!”
“I know!!” agreed Eleanor-Lucia with a smile written on her face, “Which is exactly why Zimmy and I are waiting until marriage for our first kiss!!”
Eleanor-Lucia smiled a cockeyed smirk at Ellen.
“Zimmy and I are going to break the mold and exempt all of society’s clich├ęs if possible!!” said Eleanor-Lucia.
Alright!!” exclaimed Elizabeth on a whim, “We have now all heard an awful lot about Zimmerman!! Would he like to meet our big, crazy, insane, wild, rambunctious, yet beautiful family?”
Yes!!” replied Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy would absolutely love to meet this clan!!”
“Wait. What?!” said Eliora, “You do not even need to text or call Zimmerman and ask his permission first, Eleanor-Lucia?”
Nope!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I have talked about him meeting this clan!! I’ve told Zimmy all about you!! Besides, Zimmy goes with the flow real well!!”
Good!!” said Eldridge—age sixteen—who is sarcastic, “You know what that means, right, everybody? Zimmerman will fit perfectly into this clan!! Because what is our longstanding family motto?”
Go with the flow!!” said everyone in unison, except for twins Elvis and Elvira—age two—because they are bashful.
“Can Zimmerman come over here—at our house—this upcoming Saturday evening for dinner and dessert, Eleanor-Lucia?” asked Elizabeth, “You do not need to bring anything!!”
“Just Zimmerman!!” said Eleena, with a grin written on her face.
“Yes, yes….” said Elizabeth, “I will cook and bake everything!!”
“And I’ll help you, Mom!!” volunteered Eliora, “Because you cannot possibly cook and bake a huge meal for fifteen people without some extra hands!! I will drive here early from my house!!”
“I’ll help you cook and bake, as well, Mom!!” offered Eleena.
Me too!!” said Electra.
I cannot cook or bake, Mom!!” said Ellen, “Because somebody needs to teach me how!! But I will set the table!!”
Thank-you, girls!!” said Elizabeth, “I will appreciate that!! See, Eleanor-Lucia? I have a lot of help!!”
Alright!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “Zimmy and I will arrive here at 5:00!! No earlier, no later!! Is that time alright for you, Mom and Dad?”
Yes!!” said Ellington.
“I am so glad that you and Zimmerman can come on Saturday!!” exclaimed Elizabeth, “We all look forward to meeting him!!”
“I have a valid question!!” said Eliora, “Does Zimmerman have any food allergies or issues that we should know about? Is he vegan, gluten-free, or a vegetarian?”
That is my practical Eliora!!” said Elizabeth, with a smile written on her face, “You always think of everything!!”
“No, Zimmy does not have any food allergies or issues!!” said Eleanor-Lucia, “He isn’t even on a diet!! Thanks for asking, Eliora!! Just cook and bake whatever you want, Mom!!”
“But Saturday is pizza night!!” said Ellen, “Remember, Eleanor-Lucia? Mom always bakes cheese, pepperoni, Hawaiian and cowboy pizza on Saturdays!!”
“That’s right!!” exclaimed Eleanor-Lucia, “I miss Mom’s Saturday night pizza now that I’m no longer living here!!”
“Then why did you move away, Eleanor-Lucia?” said Ellen, “Huh? Why? I do not blame you for missing Mom’s homemade pizza!! I would too!! Make pizza on Saturday evening, Mom!!”
So that is exactly what Elizabeth—and the girls—did!! They made steaming hot pizzas, creamy Caesar salad and buttery garlic/cheese bread!! For beverages, Elizabeth offered water, strawberry lemonade, and soda pop!! Ellington also made coffee!! For dessert, Elizabeth—and the girls—baked homemade blonde brownies!! Eldridge—who recently obtained his driver’s licence—drove Ellington’s ‘old’ 1970’s baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck {which once belonged to Lucia, Ellington’s first love} toward their nearby grocery store for vanilla ice cream!! Just like she promised, Ellen set the table…. With plates, silverware, napkins, glasses and mugs!! Now it was time for everybody to meet Zimmerman!!
Wow, you really outdid yourself with tonight’s dinner, Mom!!” exclaimed Eleanor-Lucia.
“I absolutely agree!!” said Zimmerman, his crystal blue eyes sparkling, “Pizza. Caesar salad. Strawberry lemonade…. It feels like we are eating out at Serito Con Amore Italian restaurant, or something!!”
Thank-you!!” Elizabeth humbly said.
“Mom wanted to make a good first impression with Zimmerman!!” said Eleena.
“Of course she did!!” said Eldon—age twelve—who is a smart aleck, “Doesn’t Mom always like to make good first impressions with people? Well? Doesn’t she?”
I’ll say!!” said Zimmerman, “You certainly are making a good first impression, Elizabeth!!”
Thank-you!!” Elizabeth humbly said, “But Eliora, Eleena, Electra, Ellen, Eldridge and Ellington all helped me!!”
“What do you do, Zimmerman?” asked Ellington, “I mean…. Do you work or have a career or have a job?”
“I absolutely hate that question!!” protested Ellis—age twenty—who is an aspiring writer, “‘What do you do?’ I don’t currently have a career, or a job. Well, other than volunteering at Sir Barks A Lot Dog Shelter part time…. You know what….? Sometimes…. I feel lost and without any purpose in Life…. Sometimes…. It feels like I don’t do anything with my Life…. Sometimes…. I feel like a complete failure whose Life will never, ever amount to anything….”
He blinked back vulnerable, insecure, wet, hot tears.
“But, Ellis, you are a writer!!” encouraged Eleanor-Lucia, “I have read your fictional stories…. They are brilliant!! Someday—in the near foreseeable future—you’ll even be an author!! Your books will be published…. Even sold in places like Barnes & Noble!! That definitely counts as doing something with your Life in my book…. Ha!! No pun intended!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“Do you write, Ellis?” asked Zimmerman.
“Yes, every single day….!!” answered Ellis, “I have written children’s stories.... Dramas.... Love stories.... Dark tragedies.... Comedies.... Feel-good stories.... Even poetry…. I do not exactly have any ‘genre’ that my fictional stories fall under, I just write whatever I’m in the mood to create….!! As a rebellious artist, I absolutely hate that word…. ‘Genre’…. It feels so limiting to my God-given gifts, talents and abilities….!! Why do you ask, Zimmerman….?”
“Because Bob Dylan once wrote…. A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.’,” said Zimmerman, “So, Ellis.... My question is ‘do you live out this Dylan quotation’?”
Yes….” Said Ellis, “I guess I am living out that Dylan quotation….!! Even though my dreams, aspirations and ambitions of being a published author isn’t happening….”
Not yet!!” said Zimmerman, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop writing, Ellis!!”
“Oh….” Ellis vehemently said, “I can never stop writing, Zimmerman…. Even if I do not become a published author!! Because writing…. Is the heart that beats a steady rhythmic beat within my chest!! Writing…. Is the blood that pulses through my veins!! Without it, I would be dead!! To me, writing is the best form of therapy!! It's healing in every single way!! Writing is the superglue that holds me together both emotionally and mentally!! Because, writing.... Helps keep me sane!! Writing…. Is my heart and soul!!”
Good!!” said Zimmerman, “I am glad that you are passionate about writing, Ellis!!
Zimmerman looked at Ellington.
“To answer your question,” he said, “I am currently attending college. I want to be a doctor!!”
“In what?” said Elizabeth, “Psychology? Counseling? Therapy? You are very profound, introspective and wise, Zimmerman!!”
“No….” said Zimmerman, with a smile written on his face, “But thank-you, Elizabeth. I am attending medical school to become a primary care physician!!”
Wow!!” exclaimed Ellington, “That is an admirable career choice, Zimmerman!! Not to mention, it’s quite the long-term commitment!! And very expensive!! Are you working to pay off college expenses? Or is your Mom and Dad doing it?”
“No, my parents don’t have very much money,” replied Zimmerman, “Dad delivers morning newspapers and Mom works as a secretary. So.... I am currently working twain jobs to pay for college!!”
“Wait. What?!” exclaimed Eliora, “Zimmerman, you work two jobs, attend college, serve in Three Wooden Crosses’ kindergarten Sunday school class every single week…. And yet…. You still somehow manage to spend time with Eleanor-Lucia on a daily basis? Yikes!! Do you even sleep?!”
Zimmerman laughed.
No!!” he said, "I do not!!"
“Zimmy is my Superman!!” gushed Eleanor-Lucia, “He flies through Life and somehow manages to do it all!! The only thing that can actually defeat Zimmy is Kryptonite!!”
Everybody laughed at Eleanor-Lucia’s witty sense of humor.
“Do you take Eleanor-Lucia out on romantic dates, Zimmerman?” asked Eleena.
Yes!!” answered Zimmerman, “I have taken Ells-Bells ballroom dancing, out to dinner, we’ve walked along the beach together….!!”
Awwww….” sighed Eleena.
“Well, duh!!” said Eldridge, “What guy doesn’t take his girlfriend out on romantic dates?”
“Your Dad didn’t!!” said Elizabeth, with a smile written on her face, “He took me out on wild, dangerous, adventurous dates!!”
“That was because we were both skydiving, lion-petting, bungee-jumping daredevils!!” said Ellington.
“But not anymore!!” said Elizabeth, with a contented smile written on her face, “We aren’t leaping off of waterfalls now, huh, Ellington?”
“And why not?!” said Ellen, “You should still be skydiving or bungee-jumping!! Besides, I want to pet a lion!!”
Why?”said Electra, “Do you want to be mauled by one and die a bloody death?! No, thank-you!! That place was not Daniel in the lion’s den!!”
Electra!!” scolded Elizabeth, “Ssshhh!! You will frighten your younger siblings!! Or me!!”
“But why aren’t you daredevils anymore?” pressed Ellen, “Come on, Mom!! Tell me why not!!”
“Who says your Dad and I aren’t daredevils anymore?” said Elizabeth as she sat while holding a clingy Elvis on one leg and a clingy Elvira on the other, “We have twelve children under the age of three…. Right? I say that your Dad and I are trapeze artists!!”
Everybody laughed at Elizabeth’s witty sense of humor.
Now, your Dad and I obviously possess a huge responsibility as parents!!” continued Elizabeth.
She smiled a contented smile
“You know what?” said Elizabeth, “I used to serve as a police detective. But not anymore, because I ‘retired’!! Now, I am ‘sacrificing myself’—if you will—for family, not a community!!”
“Wait. What?!” exclaimed Elmo, “You were a cop, Mom?! Really?! That is so cool!!”
Elizabeth smiled.
“And I have absolute zero regrets about our decision to be daredevil trapeze artists as your Mom and Dad!!” said Elizabeth, “Because I love you!! I do mean that!! I love being a Mother!!

Sometimes…. When you are truly in love, it does not take very long to realize that he or she is ‘the one’. Six short months later, Eleanor-Lucia and Zimmerman were married at Rocky River by Pastor David from Three Wooden Crosses Church!! Yes, where Ellington’s first love, Lucia, committed suicide. Yes, where Eleanor-Lucia’s Mom and Dad were engaged!! It was a small intimate wedding shared with only close family…. Eleven of whom were Eleanor-Lucia’s siblings!! Eliora, Eleena, Electra and Eleanor-Lucia’s best girlfriend, Lorraine, served as bridesmaids!! In their hands, they carried bouquets of friendly-looking daisies!! Ellis, Eldridge, Eldon and Elliot served as groomsmen!! Ellen was their flower girl and she tossed daisies in the makeshift aisle!! Elmo served as the ring bearer!! Shy, overwhelmed, timid Elvis and Elvira cuddled up on Elizabeth’s lap!! An emotional, teary, proud Ellington walked Eleanor-Lucia down the aisle toward Zimmerman!! And they each vowed…. ‘To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, until death do {them} apart!!’
Three months after that, Ellington and Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy named Elston—their precious surprise—who is Beautifully Unique and has Down syndrome!! Yes, yes, Elston made baby number thirteen!! Also—just as Eleanor-Lucia and Zimmerman said he would—Ellis became a published author….
--The End--

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"An Incredible Love Of A Lifetime"

Blogging Friends.... This particular fictional story was not what I initially planned to post on 'Minuscule is good!' for the month of July. No.... I had an emotionally autobiographical/fictional story that I was working hard on. {Look for it in August, Lord willing!!} But then.... After posting 'A Cautionary Tale' last month, me and my dear Blogging Friend, Adelaide Dupont, exchanged some comments on 'Minuscule is good!' which went like this.... I am so glad that Elizabeth and Ellington are friends. {Adelaide}. Well.... Elizabeth and Ellington are a little bit more than just friends!! Maybe I should start writing their love story? {Me}. It would be great if you did write Elizabeth and Ellington's love story and the way it evolved. {Adelaide}. I am currently working hard on another fictional story.... However. I am already writing Ellington's and Elizabeth's love story in my head, which is a good start!! To quote Bruce {Springsteen}.... 'I can't promise, as I don't want to disappoint.' {Me}. Well, Adelaide, here it is!! Ellington and Elizabeth's unlikely love story.... What on Earth did I walk myself into?! Thanks, Friend. By the way, I finished writing 'An Incredible Love Of A Lifetime' past midnight on July 5th, because I was sitting in our recently remodeled 'Boy's Bathroom' {which I affectionately call a 'bomb shelter'} with my poor, frightened, noise phobic dog, Rosalita as bombs--I mean, booms--literally exploded all around us outside because of Independence Day. Fireworks, fireworks, fireworks.... And then, as soon as I finished writing 'An Incredible Love Of A Lifetime' and I thought.... The cone is silent.... There were several more consecutive booms after, like, twenty minutes or so of absolutely nothing!! It was 1 AM when I finally fell asleep that day.... 'Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive', Raelyn

"An Incredible Love Of A Lifetime"

Made for each other. That is exactly what Ellington and Elizabeth are. One year ago, they met amidst perhaps the most unlikeliest of circumstances. Ellington's girlfriend, Lucia, had committed suicide and Elizabeth served as his kindhearted, compassionate, understanding police detective.... Who found Lucia's corpse drowned in Rocky River. Then, the two immediately became friends, found like-minded commonalities, and they fell in love!! It was destiny, it was fate, it was.... Magic!!

But Ellington was in love with Lucia before she killed herself. And that simply does not happen twice. For Lucia was 'the one'. And you just cannot grow a new heart. Or so Ellington thought!! That was, until he met Elizabeth!! And, although Ellington misses Lucia for obvious reasons? He just emotionally clicked with Elizabeth!! It somehow felt as though she had been missing in his Life all these years.... And {unbeknownst to him}, Ellington had been waiting for Elizabeth to arrive in this existence all his Life!! So.... Falling in love does happen twice after all, and you can grow a new heart!!

"Are you working today, Lizzie?" asked Ellington--who is an adventure-seeking, adrenaline loving guy--one Saturday morning, while Elizabeth was at his house, "I do not remember."

"I am off-duty today!!" answered Elizabeth, "Why?"

"Do you want to go skydiving with me?!" asked Ellington.

"You and your wild, dangerous, adventurous dates!!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "Just the other day, we jumped off of Mermaid Falls together!! And it was so romantic!! Because we kissed each other underwater!! I mean.... We were just like real Life mermaids ourselves!!"

Ellington smiled at that sweet memory.

"So, do you want to go skydiving?!" repeated Ellington.

"Yes!!" said Elizabeth, "Are you freakin' kidding me?! To quote Simba from The Lion King.... 'Danger?! Ha!! I walk on the wild side!! I laugh in the face of danger!!'"

"'Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!'" laughed Ellington, as he finished Simba's line.

I appreciate that Lizzie is an adventure-seeking, adrenaline loving girl!! thought Ellington, with a smile written on his face, Just like me!!

Ellington drove Elizabeth in Lucia's 'old' 1970's baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck--which her parents gave him after she had committed suicide--toward Cloud Nine Skydiving Company. Once they arrived, an instructor strapped equipment onto their bodies. She dutifully gave them rules, expectations.... And even instructions on what to do if--during the rare event--their parachute failed to open while they descended planet Earth. A pilot revved up his airplane's loud, rumbling engine. Excited, nervous energy flowed through Ellington's and Elizabeth's veins!! She lifted up, up, up, up, up high into the Heavens. This was it.... Ellington and Elizabeth were going skydiving!! Then--while their airplane was eighteen thousand feet above ground level--her doors swung open!! Together, Ellington and Elizabeth jumped, flying free as birds!! They yelled, they screamed, they flashed the 'peace' hand sign!! It was definitely an incredible chance of a Lifetime!!

"Ell," said Elizabeth one Wednesday morning while he was at her house, "Do you really, truly, literally want to 'take a walk on the wild side'?"

"Yeah!!" exclaimed Ellington, "But what do you mean by 'really, truly, literally 'take a walk on the wild side'?"

"Well...." Elizabeth mysteriously said, "What is your very favorite zoo animal?"

"The lions!!" replied Ellington, "Why? Are we going to the zoo, or something?"

"The lions!!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "thought so!! Noit is even better than that!! How would you like to pet an actual lion?"

"Wait. What?!" said Ellington, with excitement in his voice, "We can get up close and personal.... With real Life lions?!"

"Yes!!" said Elizabeth, "Males.... Females.... Cubs.... You name it, we can pet him or her!!"

"No way!!" exclaimed Ellington, "Well, what are we waiting for?! Let's go pet some lions!! What is this place called?"

"Lion Around Petting Zoo!!" said Elizabeth.

Ellington laughed.

"Lion Around Petting Zoo?!" he said, "That is a pun!! Lion Around!! I love it!!"

So Elizabeth drove Ellington in her 1990's white-colored Subaru station wagon toward Lion Around Petting Zoo!!

"You know what?" said Ellington, on their way to Lion Around Petting Zoo, "When I was a kid growing up, our 3rd Grade teacher, Mrs. Mennes, gave us all writing assignments!!"

"What was it about?" asked Elizabeth.

"Mrs. Mennes asked us.... 'If you could have any wild animal for a pet, what would it be?'" answered Ellington, "We all had fun with that writing project!! One kid chose an elephant, another picked a zebra...."

"Let me guess...." said Elizabeth, "You chose a lion!!"

"Correct!!" exclaimed Ellington, "I wrote in my writing assignment that he was a male lion!! I filled my kitchen refrigerator with raw zebra, antelope, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, crocodile, giraffe, buffalo and wild hog meat!!"

"Ewwww!!" said Elizabeth, "That would be so gross to open your kitchen refrigerator and see nothing but raw wild meat all the time!!"

Ellington laughed.

"His bushy mane was an afro!!" continued Ellington, "And he also slept on my living room couch!!"

"Did your pet lion have a name?" asked Elizabeth, "You know.... Like Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?"

"His name was Mufasa!!" answered Ellington.

"From The Lion King!!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "Of course!!"

Then Ellington and Elizabeth arrived at Lion Around Petting Zoo!! There were, obviously, well-trained wild animal handlers nearby, people who have clearly known those big cats forever. And Elizabeth was absolutely right.... There were male lions with bushy, tangled, hair-like manes. Adorable, cuddly, irresistible cubs. There were lionesses with muscular bodies. Neither Ellington, nor Elizabeth felt frightened, despite those big cats' sharp teeth, huge paws and wild animal instincts. No, they were awe-stricken, captivated, enamored by the lions!! Their fur coats felt rough, bristly, coarse and oily to touch. Ellington scratched the lions' pelts. Elizabeth rubbed them. Because of the lions' oily skin, their fingers became black. But there were hand sanitizer stations nearby and restrooms with soap. It was definitely an incredible chance of a Lifetime!!

Just like with Lucia, Ellington felt as though Elizabeth is 'the one'. But still.... Ellington worried about Elizabeth's mortality. Not that she would ever commit suicide.... For Elizabeth is happy, successful and does not even suffer from Depression. No, Ellington worried about losing her, about living--once again--without his lover....

"Lizzie....?" said Ellington one evening, as they were on a date at Servito Con Amore {Served With Love} Italian restaurant, "You are a police detective...."

"Yes, I am!!" Elizabeth confidently said, in between bites of her chicken broccoli alfredo.

"Well, police detectives die in the line of duty...." said Ellington, as he took a tiny bite of his macaroni and cheese, "They get shot.... You hear about it on the news frequently...."

"That is true...." Elizabeth said sadly, as she drank her water, "My partner, Conner, was shot, critically injured and, ultimately, killed in the line of duty six months ago.... We still miss him to this day...."

"I remember...." said Ellington, "And that is exactly what I am talking about.... If Conner can die in the line of duty.... Then so can you.... I cannot stand the thought of losing yet another lover like I did with Luci...."

Ellington blinked back wet, hot tears.

"Lizzie...." he said, "I cannot make it without you....!! Promise me.... That you will stay alive....? Please....?"

"Have you held all of these thoughts, feelings and emotions within yourself for six months?" Elizabeth asked, in between bites of her garlic bread.

Ellington silently nodded, as he sipped his strawberry lemonade.

"I cannot promise that I will never be killed in the line of duty like Conner was," Elizabeth gently said, "For my job as a police detective is, obviously, very dangerous and risky. You knew that going into our relationship. Right?"

Ellington blinked back wet, hot tears.

"Life is infinite," continued Elizabeth, "There are absolutely no guarantees that I--or you for that matter--will still be here on Earth tomorrow. We could have...."

She paused for a nanosecond. Elizabeth remembered how Lucia had committed suicide by drowning herself in Rocky River. Elizabeth understood that--under those circumstances--the next thing she was going to say would hurt Ellington emotionally....

"....Drowned when we jumped off of Mermaid Falls," Elizabeth gently said, "Did you know that?"

Ellington quickly looked up from his plate of macaroni and cheese.

"Or bashed our heads against a sharp rock," continued Elizabeth, "We could have died while skydiving. Our parachute may not have opened, or something bad. It happens. We could have been eaten to death by the lions. They do, after all, possess wild animal instincts. It happens. I could go on and on and on, but I'll stop. Life is uncertain. We do not have tomorrow.... We've only got today--this very moment--to live, love, laugh, cry and celebrate our lives together!!"

Ellington smiled at last.

Elizabeth is so profound.... She is so introspective.... She is so wise.... thought Ellington, as he ate his macaroni and cheese, I am in love with an old soul....

"Lizzie!!" said Ellington one Saturday morning while she was at his house, "I have a brilliant, beyond brilliant idea!!"

"What is that?" said Elizabeth, with a smirk written on her face, "We obviously cannot switch places like Hallie Parker and Annie James did in The Parent Trap!!"

Ellington laughed.

"No, let's go bungee-jumping off of Peterson's Bridge!!" said Ellington.

"But...." Elizabeth gently said, "Peterson's Bridge is located at Rocky River.... Where Lucia drowned herself...."

Ellington swallowed hard.

"I know...." said Ellington.

"Have you ever returned to Rocky River since Lucia committed suicide there?" asked Elizabeth.

"No...." answered Ellington, "I have not.... And that is exactly why I need to go back.... Luci died one year ago.... That was three-hundred and sixty-five days.... I mean.... We found Luci's body in Rocky River one New Year's Day, one Valentine's Day, one St. Patrick's Day, one Easter, one Independence Day, one Halloween, one Thanksgiving Day, one Christmas Eve, one Christmas Day, one New Year's Eve, and, of course, one birthday ago...."

Ellington blinked back wet, hot tears.

"If I do not go back to Rocky River, then I never will...." continued Ellington, "Ever.... And then Rocky River--the memory, the nightmare--of seeing Luci's Lifeless body drowned there will haunt me forever...."

"So...." Elizabeth gently said, "By bungee-jumping off of Peterson's Bridge into Rocky River it will give you a positive, happy, lighthearted memory there?"

"Exactly...." said Ellington, as wet, hot tears streamed down his eyes, "Right now, whenever I go to bed at night, all I see is Luci's beautiful, bright-as-a-red-sunrise hair.... Her fair, snow-white skin.... Luci's green-as-jade eyes that sparkled like diamonds.... But she is dead.... In Rocky River's cold, rushing waters.... I have to go back.... I just.... I have to...."

"Alright...." Elizabeth gently said, as she blinked back wet, hot tears, "Let's go.... And bungee-jump off of Peterson's Bridge into Rocky River!!"

"I will face my past...." said Ellington, "Embrace our future together.... And find emotional healing, find mental closure.... That is my brilliant, beyond brilliant idea!!"

So, bungee-jump off of Peterson's Bridge {yes, into Rocky River} Ellington and Elizabeth did!! He drove his lover in Lucia's 'old' 1970's baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck toward Take A Dip Bungee-Jumping Company. When they arrived at Rocky River, Ellington was, obviously, overwhelmed with emotion.... Both negative and even positive. Healing, wet, hot tears silently flowed down his face. An incredibly sympathetic, compassionate, understanding smile spread across Elizabeth's face. Once they arrived at Peterson's Bridge, an instructor strapped equipment onto their bodies. He dutifully gave them rules, expectations.... And even instructions on what to do if--during the rare event--their cord disconnected. This was it.... Ellington and Elizabeth were going bungee-jumping!! Excited, nervous energy flowed through their veins. As Rocky River's serene, beauteous, partially snow-covered mountains and towering trees surrounded them, they plunged head-first into the waters!! Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down.... They yelled, they screamed, they flashed the 'hang loose' hand sign!! It was definitely an incredible chance of a Lifetime!!

But one more happy event occurred on that unforgettable day....

"Lizzie...." said Ellington, when they were finished going bungee-jumping together, "At first I felt ambivalent, worried, doubtful and afraid about spending.... You know.... Forever.... With someone whose job as a police detective can lead to losing you. But.... It is like you so wisely said.... 'We do not have tomorrow.... We've only got today--this very moment--to livelovelaughcry and celebrate our lives together!!' And then I also realized, that I do not want to lose 'the one' if you ever broke up with me!! Lizzie.... I want to spend forever with you!! I mean it.... Will you marry me, my love?"

"Yes!!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "I want to embark on years and years and years of wilddangerousadventurous dates with you!!"

"Me too!!" said Ellington.

He paused momentarily.

"Wait a minute!!" Ellington suddenly said.

"What?" said Elizabeth, with a quizzical expression written on her face.

"Just.... Wait a minute!!" repeated Ellington.

He then quickly ran toward Lucia's 'old' 1970's baby blue-painted Ford pickup truck. Because hidden safely inside her glove compartment was an engagement ring for Elizabeth!! Ellington then returned and finished his proposal.... Yes, at Rocky River!!

"No proposal feels right without an engagement ring!!" exclaimed Ellington, "In my opinion, anyway!!"

"I agree!!" said Elizabeth.

Because it was definitely an incredible love of a Lifetime!!