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Viviana MacKade: Living with the Anxious Man
Friday, April 20th, 2018

DJ, my heroine in All Those Miles I Walked, is a woman I like and understand. We both like to travel, we both are open and hungry for everything that’s new and different. She’s way more sociable than me, but she’s still a person I feel close to. And now that she’s with Scott, we share one more common trouble—the Anxious Man.

Let me tell you a bit about him.

The anxious man is a highly intelligent, self-made, strong man who got where he is by sheer work. Maybe exactly because he’s used to controlling his own universe, he’s also someone who needs reassurances on your well-being whenever he decides to check on you, with no regard whatsoever for what you might be doing.

Let’s say at any given time of the day a thought (“Is she all right?”) crosses his mind. He acts upon that thought, and he texts or calls you.

From that moment, you have from 5 to 20 seconds to reply/answer.

Problem is, maybe you can’t because you’re, I don’t know, using the restroom, or cleaning the ceiling with a long-handled brush, or trying to get your son out from the lake-size puddle of mud the last rain created in front of your house.

Maybe you forgot to turn on the ringtone, and you’re peacefully filing your nails oblivious of the poopy about to hit the fan.

After an average of 10 minutes from the first text (and at that point you’ll have an average of 150 of them and at least 300 calls) (yes, the Anxious Man can defy time and squeeze all those messages and calls in just a few minutes) the police, fire department, an ambulance, and possibly the FBI and the National Guard will barrel down through your door.

Poopy. Fan. There you have it.

I’ve been with my husband for 18 years, and let me tell ya, that cool, self-controlled man can go bat-shit crazy if I don’t answer the phone in .3 nanoseconds. So does Scott in the story.

And you know what? I get it (mostly because of the almost 20-year-experience in the front line), and now I’ll tell you why.

The Anxious Man doesn’t do that out of a need to control you. There’s no jealousy or will to tell you what you can or can’t do. He’s not throwing you any alpha crap or Neanderthal-like claim.

Literally, he only needs to know you’re well. He doesn’t have time or inclination to hear about your shopping day or whatever else you’re doing. Nope. No need to keep it long; a simple thumb-up emoticon would do.

The fact is, he might be busy, his head might often be somewhere work-related, and he probably will forget some anniversary but the Anxious Man loves, and loves deep. So deep, he needs to know the most important thing in his life, more important than work, more important than his wellbeing: not that you love him, miss him, think about him, but that you’re alive.

Which means you can’t get mad. Or overly mad, at least. Sometimes I do get annoyed (okay, pissed).

So, because I learned from personal experience that people like me and DJ will never be reliable with our phones, I have a word of advice for all the people like Marco and Scott, and the relationships that follow.

Buy an iWatch or any device like it.

Tired of the constant heart attacks, my husband gave me one for our anniversary few years back, and now I never lose a call or text. I can reply anywhere with the littlest time and effort. It’s pretty, and it gives him peace of mind, and me the freedom from checking the phone or (the horror) having to turn on the ringtone.

You’re welcome.

All Those Mile I Walked

At eighteen, DJ had to make a choice–her heart or her dreams. Neither was wrong, yet either would break her heart. She chose the world. Over a decade later, she returns to Crescent Creek and to the one regret she’s ever had—Scott. Scott’s always been steady as a rocky reef. He’d loved once and when she’d left, his strong heart had crumbled like a sandcastle. Now DJ is back, and Scott wants nothing to do with her. The problem? They share Eva, a close friend of both, and now Eva needs their help. Because of her, he’s stuck with DJ and he’d be damned, the woman still gets under his skin. DJ is a free spirit who needs the road under her feet. Scott is a family man who wants to groom his roots. With danger on their doorstep and a baby to keep safe, how much are they willing to compromise for love?

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DJ fished her cellphone from the bag, turned it on thinking nothing of it. 12 unanswered calls and 6 messages appeared.

Fear raced through her good mood. Something had happened to Eva? To her parents? She checked the call list. Scott. From all of the calls and texts.

Well, unexpected. From zero interaction to a gazillion? She called his number; he picked up probably before it even rang.

“Where in the fucking hell are you?” he said quietly, anger vibrating in his voice more than a guitar string.

“Okay. Not really prepared for that, but okay. We’re across the road, at the beach.”

“Damn it, DJ, you’re supposed to text me when you leave.” She had to move the phone closer to her ear to hear his words.

“I know. We’re just across the road.”

“Are you in the house?” he asked. Still very much pissed, but at least he’d gone back to a human tone, one she actually heard.

“It’s basically the same.”

“It is not.”

“Okay, my bad. Besides, I didn’t realize I’d agreed to a middle of the morning text. When did it happen, by the way?”

“Damn it, DJ.”

Oh god, back to hissing. “You said it already. A few times, in fact.”

She brushed sand off from Henry’s legs, blew the boy a kiss that made him smile. Then heard a voice in the background of the call, then Scott saying to someone, “They’re fine, they’re at the beach.”

“Who is with you?”


“You called the sheriff? Where are you?”

“At Eva’s, ready to bust the fucking door down.”

“That seems extreme.”

“You don’t text me, don’t call me, and don’t pick up the damned phone,” he said, anger making his quiet words a bit breathless. “What am I supposed to do?

“Calm down would be the first thing, I guess.” DJ had always thought he might have a stroke, at some point. All control freaks like him did. Maybe today was the day, who knew? “You saw us at 8 this morning, two hours ago. You could have waited until, let’s say, lunchtime before freaking out this big.”

“I could kill you right now,” he said, so evenly it might actually have been truer than truth.

“You might want to be careful with what you say while Sheriff Charlie is there with you. By the way, tell her I say hi. Actually, can you give her the phone? We planned a spa day for next week but I’ll have to postpone it until Eva comes home.”

He closed the call.