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Updated: Oct 15, 2020

Rivers & Roads Blog by Patty Inwood

Once upon a time, in a small kingdom in the countryside, there was a Queen. She had recently been thrust upon the throne after the death of her son, King Luke. King Luke had been a popular ruler and his death had caused the people to turn to his mother for guidance and support. What they didn’t know was behind the closed doors of the palace, the Queen herself was lost without her boy.

Enter young Eric. Eric and the King had been best friends and had traveled the countryside together on many a joyous adventure. King Luke’s death was unexpected and left Eric a bit untethered in this world. He spent much time at the palace in the days and weeks following, and observing the Queen’s distress, made it his job to take care of her.

When the Queen was having a hard time, no matter the hour, she would text Eric and he would always respond. ALWAYS. The Queen tried to keep these exchanges light, as she didn’t want to add to Eric’s own distress and frankly, the goal was to lighten her own heart, so the humor was a distraction. He would share crazy stories of his times with her son, favorite movies and books, gossip from the Kingdom. Eric was the Queen’s connection to all things “Luke” and being seventeen and it made the Queen feel like she was right there living her son’s life vicariously through Eric. He called her Bro and Dude… most unconventional as she was Queen, but it made her giggle so she allowed it.

After spending that first summer in almost daily contact of some sort, young Eric went off to college. Their correspondence abruptly came to an end and although the Queen wanted to reach out, she knew how important it was for the young man to go forth and learn. She didn’t want him to be stuck in the past with her – she wanted him to move forward. You can imagine her delight when one cold November day, waiting patiently for her carriage to be gassed up, she heard the words “I would recognize that hair anywhere, lol” and it was young Eric! Somehow, seeing one another in person reminded the two of how much they missed the other, and their relationship picked up where it left off. Eric would try to visit the Queen whenever he was in the Kingdom, almost always bringing a sidekick or two. These visits were cherished by the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Barry. They appreciated that the young lads made time for them, especially with Luke being gone.

Eric not only took care of the Queen, but he also adopted Luke’s younger brother, Logan, as his own. Logan adored Eric. They shared a taste for fashion, hair, music, philosophy – all things young gentleman should be aware of, lol. It made the Queen’s heart swell to see Logan and Eric together as she understood the void left by Luke. Eric’s favor grew as he took the young Prince under his wing.

One day, the Queen posted on Social Media that she was having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” It had been a particularly dastardly day where grief was concerned and upon seeing this message, Eric quickly reached out to the Queen. “What’s wrong?” he wanted to know. Unbeknownst to Eric, the Queen’s sadness had been lifted by their mutual friend, Billy. Billy had a job at that time, tending to the Kingdom, and so he was close by and delivered a most wonderful hug to cure the Queen. Eric, although happy to hear the Queen was better, admitted he was disappointed it wasn’t HIM that helped the Queen in her distress. “I like to be the one to save the day,” he told her. ” I want to be the white knight.” And there it was. It turns out young Eric had created his own quest – to serve and support the Queen, in honor of his lost friend, no matter what the cost. A gallant quest, indeed.

Like all fairytales, this one, too, has a happy ending. The friendship between Eric and the Queen only grew in depth and love over time. They understand one another and accept each other – faults and all. She forgives him when He forgets to use his manners every once in a while.. okay OFTEN, lol. He tolerates it when She nags him about love and life choices. Still, whereas at one time, Eric filled the role of the *missing son*, now he has his own space in the Queen’s heart. He is family of his own right.

Time passed and although Eric moved to the big Kingdom of Boston, he still made the trek back to the countryside when he could. The Duke of Barry dominated Eric’s visits to the castle, (they share a love of ale), but the Queen didn’t mind. That Eric still came to visit and catch up was the most important thing. It was on this last visit that the Queen decided on an act long overdue and a scribed a proclamation.

“On this day, let it be known that for some five years, Eric has been a steadfast protector of the Queen’s heart. For this service and for his unwavering love and support, he has earned the title of knight of the Rutland Round Table. Arise, Sir Eric, and thank you for undertaking such an important quest. You have my thanks. You have my heart.”

And so, Sir Eric took his rightful place in the palace and they all lived happily ever after. THE END.

So here’s what I need you to know: There is no way Eric would tolerate me sharing most of what has transpired between us these past five years. How embarrassing, he would say, lol. And I realized I will never be able to put into words what having Eric in my world means to me. If you see me when I am with him, you know I never stop smiling. If you see me when I talk about him, you know I practically beam. This kid… well, this young man now… has brought me through some incredibly difficult days. He is my friend, my son, my pain in the ass, lol. I love you, Eric. Forever and always. Xxx

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