As I drove along the 105 freeway, I kept looking over at him. This man who makes me feel loved and worth it. He had sad eyes, and every now and then let out a big sigh. When the sign read, LAX 30 min, he turned to me and said, “Okay, I’m going to be up beat because this was a great trip and I’ll be back soon yeah?” I grabbed his hand and squeezed his fingers and tried to smile lifting them up to my mouth to kiss. He gave a weak smile back and we sat in silence. He was leaving. We were sad.
At the beginning of the trip I hoped the days would pass slowly. Playing pool, watching a movie, cooking dinner, I prayed for the hours to drag. Every night before bed I wished the minutes would crawl so the day wouldn’t end. But driving onto the off ramp heading into the airport, I was gripping the steering wheel, holding my breath trying not to cry and counting each second, thinking if I slowed way down maybe I could squeeze out a few more with him.
I turned off the car in front of Terminal B and got out to help him with his bags and hugged and kissed and clung to him so tight. We were both wrecks. I wish I could remember all the things he said because I know they were wonderful. But it is a blur to me. All I can remember are tears, and kisses, and him looking at me saying encouraging things and me nodding my head. I remember seeing a woman smiling at us. And for a brief second one of the security guards walking toward us and then turning away.
Nobody told us to get a move on this time. We must have stood there for 5 minutes at least. I think they knew that our hearts were breaking.
This trip was special.
He spoke to both kids separately and asked them for my hand in marriage. They both said yes. There was a time when I thought only crazy people believe that marriage could work. What in the world am I thinking??? I’m one of the crazies again! Martin said that my daughter “lit up” when he asked. Both of the kids told him they would help him come up with a good way to ask me. And he took me to look at rings. 🙂 It was fun. I don’t remember doing that before. I felt so proud. Proud of us. Proud that we are working through real life issues with tenderness and respect for each other. That even when things aren’t perfect we think “we” are worth it. And being worth it means a lot.
It’s not a drive across town to see me. It’s thousands of dollars spent and difficult long trips to endure. It’s time off work, away from family. It’s him living in a rented room instead of his own place to make sure he has enough money to come see me often. It’s him buying an iPhone plan just so he could send me pics and stay in touch over email when he is away traveling. It’s many decisions he’s made that put value to the relationship, and to me.
I remember the first time we started talking about trips and I was attempting to play devil’s advocate saying that even if we got along and decided that we wanted to get closer it would be impossible with him living so far away. He told me not to worry about it and that he had the means to come out once a month for a long time if that is what he had to do. I didn’t believe him but I should have. Because essentially that is what he’s done for a year now and is still committed to doing.
When my son got home from school today I told him how much I missed Martin already. And asked him how would he feel about having him as a step father. He lifted his shoulders and nodded his head. He agreed with me that Martin is an easy guy to like and they get along great. They hung out one day just the two of them and drove around Bel Air being tourists and ate at Pink’s hot dog stand. They watched war movies, played pool, took down the Christmas tree together. I think my son liked having another man around.
When I walked through the door home from the airport my kids yelled out to me, “Hey Mom Martin called! He forgot his phone charger.” Just then the phone rang again and he told me he loved me and that he was the last person to get on the plane. I think he was hoping it would leave without him.
He didn’t have a good flight home. It was bumpy and he should have slept but couldn’t. He drove three hours home to a new room he’s rented at a friend’s house cause his other friend moved. He couldn’t log onto the wi-fi. It was dark and rainy and windy and he was super tired. But instead of relaxing after this big long trip he got in his car with the 10% battery he had left on his iPhone to try to find a signal at a service station so he could call me on Skype. That wasn’t working either though so he drove from service station to service station ringing me hoping to get a good enough signal just to say that he was okay but by the time we actually spoke he was not okay…I could tell. It had been 18 hours.
If that doesn’t make a person feel loved I don’t know what would.
Now I’m trying to go to sleep without having talked to him all day. I’m sure he’s getting caught up on his sleep. I’m feeling unsettled and anxious. And sad. But super happy that I got to see him and that he still thinks I’m great. I have lots and lots to smile and be thankful for. I will close my eyes and let that breath I’ve been holding out long and slow.