In spite of the many opposing emotions swirling around like a hurricane within me—grief, shock, sadness, excitement, exhilaration, anxiety, to name a few— I remember feeling a strange sense of lightness while waiting there at the gate. Strange as it was, it was of course welcomed, especially because in the last six years (and make no mistake: generally wonderful years) of being with Charlie, I was undoubtedly weighed down by my own inner feelings of uncertainty and doubt. To this day, the origin of those feelings was still a mystery; was there a lack of intellectual stimulation? Did I need someone to motivate me in more ways? Did he not challenge or inspire me enough? (My therapist loves that one— please be more vague,he says). After years of futile attempts to uncover their roots, I suppose I’ll never truly know, or at least not until enough time passes for retrospect to shine its inevitable light on the path that had now led me here: Gate C27, Terminal B, at Boston Logan on my way to Dallas Fort Worth.
I had half-expected to be jolted into a state of panic shortly after take-off, with thoughts of “what the hell am I doing?” swiftly replacing the above-mentioned lightness. Again, to my surprise, a sense of calm permeated by body, interrupted only by brief moments of excitement and anticipation for the days ahead. Four and a half hours ticked by, and as I touched down into DFW, I had felt more confident than ever that no matter what happened these next few days, I had made the right choice to come and to see this through.
After walking towards baggage claim and seamlessly retrieving my stuff, I of course did what any girl would do coming off a long flight headed to see a new male suitor: I promptly made my way to the bathroom to freshen up. I’m pretty sure in spite of the calm demeanor I so proudly describe above, I still sweated profusely the entire flight. A few dabs of perfume, a fresh application of deodorant, and another layer of lipstick later, I made my way to the pickup area where he’d meet me. “What are you driving?,” I’d texted him. He’d said something along the lines of “A big badass blue truck.” Of course, I should have suspected this, as I laughed silently under my breath thinking, I am in Texas, after all.
I made my way out and spotted his truck, again, feeling surprisingly calm, and saw him. We immediately embraced and I sort of lost my breath as he kissed me. I don’t think either of us could truly believe I had come, because most of the ride to his place left us quiet in a stunned sort of way. But never did it feel awkward, or unnatural. It felt like I had just jumped into an ocean of unknown depths, and I welcomed the water as it washed over me – it felt warm, cleansing, and I embraced its engulfment, not yet wanting to come up for air.