Friday, December 03, 2010

Is This Really Me?

December 3
Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

September 29

Sitting alone at a table in Devon's Pub, the heavy smell of stale cigarettes and the stench of cigars assaulting me, I waited.

Last year, I thought a 2-week wait to see him was too long. Each day was an agonizing eternity. Would he call?

He always called...eventually.

Until...almost a year to the day that would find me waiting there in the bar, plugged into my droid, listening to 16Volt, trying to sip my Bombay Sapphire and tonic slowly...the mini-explosion. And he stopped calling. Stopped e-mailing. Stopped everything. Gone.

I'd saved every e-mail, every picture he'd ever sent. I stored them in a folder named after one of his nicknames, Cripes, and every time I opened my e-mail, that folder stared accusingly at me, taunted me...with stupidity and regret.

I'd finally summoned the courage to delete the entire folder about 7 months in exile. I knew it was time to finally start trying to say goodbye even though I'd never wanted anything less in my life. He wasn't coming back, I told myself, and holding on was simply an extension of the idiocy that had gotten me in this mess to start.


It's never quite that simple though. Even when the delete is a key stroke or a mouse click. It doesn't erase anything. Not really.

Not when there's not a delete key for the heart.

So, there I sit, waiting. A year - almost to the day - since that fateful exchange. The text message had come in the middle of the night two weeks' prior. The text message that made me stop, wonder if I was hallucinating (I'd had a lot of gin), feel as though I was in a Salvador Dali painting - all floating lips and noses...surreal.

I didn't know how to feel.

I still don't.

So, there I sit, waiting. He's late - stuck in traffic. And I'm plugged into my droid, listening to 16Volt And I Go, sipping on my gin and tonic - nursing it, and surfing the interwebz...trying, without success, to keep myself from the panic attack looming.

What would I feel?



I don't know how long he'd been standing there. I was zoned out on the music, lost in my thoughts and my deep cleansing breaths, when I became aware of him. Standing, looking down at me, smiling his sweetest smile - the dimple in his cheek popping out at me as if to say, "Hello, Beautiful" and I knew.

Nothing had changed.

He wore red - a red polo work shirt as he was coming from a customer service call - and biege trousers and that smile. His blue eyes - ice blue - shining...I think he was nervous too.

And I was entangled in the cord to my headphones and my purse straps, trying to figure out how to turn off my smartphone and unplug myself from technology so that I could stand up and feel myself enveloped in his arms. The one place I'd longed to be and the one place I couldn't be for over a year. Eternity.

We sat. We talked. We held hands. I reminded him how important holding his hand was for me. I couldn't stop reaching for him. I felt...electrified. Alive. On fire.

I was vibrant. Vibrating. He could hardly look at me without blushing and looking away.

He dipped the tip of his cigar in a shot of Jameson, drew in, and blew the smoke at me time and again.

The smell of that cigar would linger...for weeks. Recorded as a new favorite smell.

And I knew.

Nothing had changed.

He held my hand as he walked me to my car, wrapped his arms around me, pulled me to him, and kissed me long and long and long.

And I knew.

Nothing had changed.

He said, as he pulled away, to go his own way into the night, "I may never see you naked."

And I knew.

Nothing had changed.

And then everything changed.

He doesn't read this blog. If he did, I might not have been quite so open about it. While 2010 was full of vibrant moments and feeling the warm, tingles of aliveness, this one evening is set apart for so many reasons. Most notably because, not long after, he happened to mention the very thing we are discussing - how he was reminded in that moment that he was alive.

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