Holding My Own
by Kim
Thirty minute timed challenge.

Ella Gaines. Thirteen years ago, I would have done anything for her. But a man fresh out of the Navy, going into a law enforcement career wasn't good enough for her. She wanted me to get into politics. Me? In politics? Not in this lifetime. The Goddamn politics in the ATF office in Denver has given me a damn ulcer. And, that's with Travis keeping the boys upstairs off my back as much as he can. I still have to smile and pretend that I don't think some bureaucrat is a fucking asshole, but only when Travis absolutely, positively, can't get me out of it.

So she left me flat. Didn't even say goodbye. I woke up one morning after just about the wildest night I ever had in my life and she was gone. She taped a note to the fucking mirror. "If you ever want more out of life, than being a cop, call me. Love, Ella." Love? How the how do you blow someone off in a note that you claim to love? But, she did. And, I never heard from her again. I think God every day that she left me. What if I'd married her? I'd never have met Sarah. Adam would never have been born. I would never have had the two greatest gifts in my life.

If someone had sucker punched me, I couldn't have been more shocked than I was when I saw her. One minute I was ordering lunch for the boys from Inez and the next minute she was there. She said she was worried about me and wanted to know how I was getting by.

Getting by isn't even close. I had seven years with the best woman I ever knew and five with an amazing son. I have a best friend who made sure I didn't kill myself, when I lost them. He took so much shit from me, that most men would have walked away and left me to self-destruct. But not Buck. Buck is one of a kind. When he decides someone is one of his, he doesn't let them go. Not ever. No matter what, Buck is there. It's going to sound sacrilegious, but whenever I see that Footprints poem, you know the one where God is carrying the person in the sand through their darkest hours? Whenever I see that poem, I don't think of God. I think of Buck. Because that's what he did for me. That's what he does when someone he loves is in pain. Buck carries them through, even when he's hurting himself. Buck loved Sarah and Adam almost as much as I did.

So, when she said she was worried and wanted to know how I was getting by, I just looked at her and said, "Thank you, I'm holding my own." I'm not telling her that I had a great life with an amazing wife and son. I'm not telling her that losing them almost cost me everything. Losing them almost killed me. But, it didn't and when the door to that old life closed and I had to go through to the other side, there was an amazing man waiting for me. Buck saved me from dying and Vin made me glad he had.

Vin is the second chance I never thought I'd have. It shocked me to find myself in love with another man, but I am. I love Vin as much as I loved Sarah and he loves me back. How the hell did someone like me find two people who were so different, but who were both so perfect for me?

It was all fire with Sarah. Even after Adam was born, the fire didn't go out. It banked a little, got less intense, but it warmed our house and it warmed my heart and it was always ready to flare up if one of us poked it. And, we did a lot of poking. I'd pick a fight over something dumb, or Sarah would. And, we'd fight about it. We were never nasty about it. Truthfully, I think we fought just so we could make up.

Vin's not like fire. He's calm and quiet and he thinks about every word that comes out of his mouth. He never picks fights with me.

He won't let me pick a fight. Whenever I try, he just grins at me. The son-of-a-bitch knows what I'm doing and he just laughs at me. Not that anyone else knows he's laughing at me. Vin's got this way of laughing inside. He does that with a lot of things; keeps them inside. Most people don't know what's going on in that head of his, but I do. I can just look at him and know. But, it's fair, because he can always tell what I'm thinking. He knows when I'm pissed- ok, everyone knows when I'm pissed- but it's more than that. We think alike. We see things the same way.

And, the sex is great.

I don't think Ella can say the same thing, because her new love walked on up and said hello. And, she caught my eye and mouthed, "tell me there's a chance for another try." She wanted to hear from me. I guess she didn't understand, so I told her again. "Thank you, I'm holding my own."

It hurt me a lot when she left me behind, but there's two sides to every door. The life she left behind led me to lives I'd never have known if she hadn't left me. I'm more than holding my own. It took me long enough, but I found the one I was looking for and he was looking for me. I think I'll go find him and show him how glad I am that she left me.


"I'm Holding My Own"
by Lee Roy Parnell

You said the only thing harder
Than saying goodbye
Was saying hello after all this time
When I ran into you with your new love in tow
Said you worried bout me and you wanna know
How am I getting by


Well thank you I'm holding my own
Don't you worry bout me no more
You hurt me when you left me alone
But there's two sides to every door
And the life you left behind has led to lives I'd never know
So thank you I'm holding my own
Your new love walked on up
while we said goodbye
You took my hand and you caught my eye
Tell me there's a chance for another try
You would love to hear from me
some sweet time
I guess you didn't understand

repeat CHORUS

There's a lesson I learned
When a love stays true
If you look long enough
You'll find the one who was looking for you


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