I was reluctant to just jump on the white horse with him at the invite and ride away although I knew him well. It's just that it had been over thirty years since I had last rode with him. The seventeen year old said, 'just go', the older version said, 'hang on a minute'.
Questions internally arose from me such as, 'Once you're a knight are you always a knight or have you become a distinguished King?' And conscientious concerns like,' Does he realize too that princesses age and mature into (maybe not so stately) Queens?'
Things had changed. He now owned a horse named Harley who sported leather and I had retired not only the Daisy Duke wardrobe I'd borrowed but what had fit into it. Carefree youthfulness was taken away by maturity in the form of children, jobs, ex's, bills and other responsibilities. Things that we before never knew existed in our youth (or at least couldn't care less about) had now become our common daily concerns.
But no matter how many years had passed I still had not become so mature that I had outgrown the belief in fantasy. I was just more cautious, slower to be swooped away- trying not to jump on just any inviting horse ride. I had had my share of long, lonely treks back from deserted castles and wasn't looking to travel that route again anytime soon.
However, age doesn't erase dreams, at least not completely. The-little-girl-turned-woman who believes in fairy-tales still yearns for a happily-ever-after ending, even when experience has taught that it is a lot harder to come by than good ol' Walt portrayed. And I had had my share of tin-foiled knights to prove that.
Still he came. Inviting. Fun and adventure didn't await 'down the road' it was right away. Right now. Boy, when you become conscious and appreciative of life's time-line itself, 'right now' is more than just alluring, it's practical and even more appealing.
Not having to do initial introductions and take time to build impressive facades saved us a lot of time. Quality time. Because we had already been there. Plus it was extremely relaxing and comfortable just 'being'.
Passing years had been good to us as we had done much of our "growing" away from each other and now came open handed to share the 'fruits-of-our-labors' - the product of our efforts. There is something uncharacteristically romantic about the transformation of a reformed, flimsy, tin-foil boy into a shiny knight without actually watching the process, but reaping the rewards.
Maybe in some ways the years had helped us learn not to 'sweat the small stuff ' and at the same time it magnified them. Experience just helps you to categorize better, straining out the small things that are trivial and unimportant in the big scheme of things, and appreciating the things that used to seem so 'small'.
Castles look different at mid-life than they did at eighteen. So do the occupants. And the expectations of those occupants. I don't know if it's a place of permanent residence, but it is nice to visit and have a "Disney-call" as one should never be too old to dream and to take, if nothing else, just one more ride down that road on that horse.