None so Blind… Pt 1 of 2

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The interior of the plane was softly lit. Most of the passengers were trying to sleep during the long flight but a few were still awake. Clint counted himself in the latter portion as he tried to digest all that was occurring in his life lately. Even though it was almost 2am New York time he couldn't quite get his mind to settle down yet.

It made him chuckle as he remembered thinking of his initial trip to New York as his 'adventure of a lifetime'. Now he was flying to a third world country to serve a community that would probably consider his home in Montana as a 'big city' and 'sophisticated'. He glanced over at Nancy sleeping in her seat and chuckled again as he thought of how he had initially come to New York to pursue one 'big city lady' and was now jetting off to another country with an entirely different 'New York woman'.

He thought back to the first time he met the spitfire nurse he came to know and love. She barged into Ms. Dewitt's office and after one look at him made a wisecrack about having dreamed about a cowboy in tight jeans and boots. She hadn't known he was also a doctor but when she found that out she backed off a little. Initially he had pegged her as a typical shoot from the hip Big City girl, but he'd been wrong. As he worked with her and saw how much she cared about the patients, like the teenage girl who would miss her prom because of a heart problem. He watched as she went out on a limb to help that girl have a prom in her hospital room and was amazed that someone in a big city would care so much for a stranger. After he found out about how she grew up without a mother he understood more about the guard she seemed to put up at times. Over the past few years he'd seen that tough exterior soften into a gracefulness that took his breath away. Reconnecting with her mother and then losing her to cancer had put Nancy through an emotional wringer but it had also taken away the protective shell she had built around herself.

Shaking his head he pondered how, over the past five years, both he and Nancy had been oblivious to what their friends and others had noticed for a long time, that they belonged together. He also wondered if they wouldn't still be just as oblivious if Nancy hadn't decided to quit Westbury and move overseas. The thought of not having her in his life had made him realize that their friendship was much more than either had been willing to admit. He thought back to all of the ups and downs they had been through during the past five years and marveled that they hadn't seen what God was creating between them. "There are none so blind as those who will not see' he muttered to himself.

"That's pretty philosophical for the middle of the night cowboy" a voice chimed in the next seat. "Penny for your thoughts, especially the ones that made you so philosophical."

Clint was surprised to see Nancy awake so soon and gave her a quick smile. She looked beautiful even in this light with her hair a mess and no makeup. He thanked God yet again for letting her be in his life.

"Well these thoughts are worth at least a dime but I'll cut you a deal since you asked so nicely", he quipped and saw her answering smile grow wider.

"Sounds like somebody has been spending too much time with Junior and Jellybean…" she started but then laughed and added "Come on, spill it Clint" with a touch of concern.

He laughed and confessed, "I was just thinking back to how blind we both have been about how we felt about each other and how everyone else seemed to see it so easily. Makes me wonder what else I missed along the way these past few years. As a doctor I'm supposed to be good at observing people but this one didn't really hit me until I knew you were leaving for good."

"Well, that certainly explains your mysterious quote", she replied. "Maybe we were both just too close to the situation to see it. I mean, we never did any overtly romantic things but they could have been taken that way if you think about it."

"You mean like the time I played the part of your boyfriend when your former surfer boyfriend came to town? Or when I was accused of having an affair with a lady and you claimed to be my girlfriend to give me an alibi for not being, what was the phrase, a 'home wrecker'?"

Nancy chuckled, "And the time Twyla and Jinx had their problems and I wound up matched up with Junior and you told him you had feelings for me in order to get him to back off. How did we miss it when it kept being thrown into our faces so often?"

"Maybe God just wasn't ready for us to acknowledge it yet. Maybe He kept us from seeing it until the time was right?" Clint added. "Sort of how we read in Galatians 'But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law', He had to bring us both to the point where we would realize what we had and how much we didn't want to lose it".

"Wow, that makes a lot of sense. And it gives a whole new meaning to the passage in Romans about 'He works all things for good for those who love him'. In the midst of my crisis after the plane crash and after losing my mom I almost gave up hope that I could find some real meaning to my life. But now I see all kinds of meaning."

They both fell silent for a minute as they pondered that.

"And to be honest Clint", Nancy started, "I should have figured it the first time I saw you with Sarah. I mean she such a great person and you guys seemed to be so well matched but I really had a pain in the pit of my stomach when I thought of you going back to Montana with her. At the time I thought it was just 'I'm going to miss a great friend' but now that I think about it I should have known, even then, that you were more than just a friend."

"You felt that way even back then?" Clint asked, surprised to hear how far back Nancy's feelings ran.

"Well, yeah. What girl wouldn't like a cute doctor in boots and tight jeans??" Nancy quipped and nudged Clint with her elbow, a teasing grin gracing her face. "Are you saying that you didn't have any feelings or qualms when I was dating Tippy's attorney friend or, ugh, Richard Black?"

"You're right", Clint replied, "Both of those times I felt that same wrenching in my gut that you mentioned. Especially with Richard Black. I could tell that he only wanted you for one thing and it wasn't your personality!" She could tell from the look on his face it wasn't a pleasant memory.

"Easy Cowboy, we both agree that Richard was not one of my finer moments. No need to lock and load!"

"Sorry, that whole situation still bugs me. But you're right, Richard got his due rewards and, thank the Lord, he didn't get what he wanted from you." Clint sighed in relief. That whole situation still reminded him how precious his friends in New York were, even Dr. Crane. "So did you mind it much when I was seeing Kate Weston? I remember a few comments you made but I was never sure how you felt about that situation."

"Well, I guess I didn't like it but I could understand it. You're both doctors and had a lot in common so I wasn't too shocked when the two of you hit it off. It did become a bit more difficult when she was actually working at Westbury for a few months while our OBGYN was gone. But she was such a sweet lady I didn't have the heart to dislike her."

"But Sarah was also a doctor and a sweet lady, so why was that different?" Clint asked, a bit puzzled at this.

"Well, yes, it was similar but the fact that Crane took such a liking to her just didn't sit well with me. Anybody who was that buddy-buddy with Dr. Crane was not on my 'best friends' list. And when she came the second time and was trying to pull you back to Montana that was just too much. I guess by that time I had begun to think more possessively of you as a friend. Anybody who was going to take you away was bad news in my book."

"I guess that does make sense, in a feminine logic sort of way" Clint said with a raised eyebrow as he looked back at Nancy.

"Careful, cowboy" Nancy growled and then laughed, "Nobody said it had to make sense, right?"

Clint just joined her in laughing and pulled her close for a hug. "I guess that we were both just blinded by the big city lights and didn't see what we had until it was almost gone."

Nancy hugged him back and lay back in her seat to think. Looking over at Clint she commented "Guess it's your turn to sleep now, sheriff. I'll keep an eye out for any wild varmints in the plane". Clint grinned back at her and nodded. "Okay, I think my brain has settled down enough for a nap", he said as he yawned. Leaning back in his seat he closed his eyes and relaxed. In a few minutes he was almost snoring.

Nancy lay back in her seat and thought about what Clint had said. Had they really not seen the bond that had built up between them over the last five years? Or had they simply not been ready to admit what it had become?......

Part 2 (Nancy's side of the this) to come soon !! Please read and review. Thanks