This was a good day. Do you remember? Do you recognize the place? Do you recall where we went that day, and what we did? When you hear the word, does it take you back, to the hours you spent with me under the autumnal desert sun? Do you remember?

I do, and clearly. It was cold. So cold that you gave me one of your coats to wear, so I could stand the wind whipping my body as we rode in the open air. You drove there; I drove back. Remember? You were impressed by how comfortable I was handling the ATV on the steep path, so jagged and narrow.

The brush was dense with overgrowth, and you deliberately pointed us down the most treacherous path you could find. You wanted to conquer, to dominate. To show the land who was lord and king over it.

We packed pretzels and pickles and cookies, soda and beer. You fixed tiny cold cut sandwiches on crackers that we ate as we motored slowly across the rocks. We stopped whenever I wanted to take pictures. We stopped at the gentle trickling waterfall, and climbed around on huge boulders in the crisp quiet. We nearly got stuck a few times, and you were so proud when the Ranger came through in the clutch. If it wasn't for your direction, I would have gotten us lost in the fast-falling dusk.

I didn't hate you yet.

You hadn't shown me everything you had to show - every last ugly inch of hatred and anger and spite and envy and insecurity.

I didn't fear you yet.

You hadn't shown me the uncontrollable rage and the fury - the need you had to frighten me into submission and compliance. You hadn't taught me to sublimate and aquiesce to your demands for utter control, lest I incur wrath - or worse, apathy. You hadn't yet perfected your system of reward and punishment.

You hadn't scarred me yet.

You hadn't said the cruel, wicked, unforgettable and unforgivable things you had inside of you, ready to unleash in a fit of screaming furor. Were they buried deep, or were they close to the surface? They seemed to come so easily, I'd have to guess the latter.

Today was just a good day, passed happily in the company of a man I still trusted, respected, and loved. You were so excited to give me a taste of your world, to share with me your idea of fun. I could see how delighted you were that I truly enjoyed myself, out there in the wilderness, so different from what I've come to expect from men wishing to impress.

This place is exactly like how I'll remember you: rugged and rough, beautiful but dangerous. Difficult to navigate. Easy to get lost in. Somewhere I'd go once, but never again. Like an illness one has to suffer through, in order to gain immunity from it. I'll never be sick that way again.

I don't know exactly where I belong yet. I just know it isn't Redington.