"I never realized I loved pancakes as much as I do before I came to Texas. First your pancakes, now these," he said, gesturing to his short stack of IHOP pancakes dripping with syrup.
"Stay and I'll make you pancakes every morning."
"Don't tempt me." He took another bite of fluffy pancakes shook his head in disbelief at how good they were.
I couldn't eat much because I had an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. Every time I thought about him leaving my stomach turned.
"Just remember, I'll be back in 6 weeks," he said, reading the look on my face. "Six weeks is nothing, baby! We went a whole year without seeing each other, and then three months, so six weeks will fly by."
I knew he was trying to cheer me up, and in a way, it was working. He was right. I could keep myself busy for six weeks and before I knew it, he'd be back in Texas, back in my arms, back in my bed.
"I don't think I'm going to cry at the airport this time," I said, trying to be optimistic. "So at least I won't ruin your airport 'I love you' again."
On the way to the airport I wanted to pull over, turn around and go back to my house. How much is the fine for international kidnapping these days, anyway? I was almost willing to find out. But Cayden squeezed my knee and I knew he was trying to tell me to be strong. We could do this.
I walked all the way to security with him. It was time to say goodbye.
"Let's make this short and sweet, OK?" I said, knowing if we drew it out I'd be a blubbering mess.
"I'll see you in six weeks," he said, kissing me hard while he held me tightly against him.
"Six weeks," I said when our lips parted.
"We can do this," he said.
"We will do this," I answered. "Now go before I lose it!"
"I love you so much," he said, then kissed me again. I blocked out the thought that this would be our last kiss for a while and instead just tried to enjoy the feel of his lips on mine.
"I love you, too." I meant it 100 percent. There was no one else I'd ever loved the way I loved Cayden. And I knew there would never be another person after him. The thought made me smile, and I turned away from him with my head held high, a confident strut to my stride. We could do this. We're worth it.
That was six and a half weeks ago. Or 44 days ago. Or 1,066 hours ago. How long do you think that confident strut and can-do attitude lasted? Less than five minutes. By the time I got to my car I started crying. That night, when I went to sleep alone, I switched my pillow with his so I could try to smell him, try to bring him back, and I fell asleep crying.
By day 2 of puffy eyes at work, I knew I had to get my shit together. I needed a goal, something to strive for to keep me busy until he came back. Should I learn how to knit? And then I could knit him a tacky sweater to give him during his next visit? No, I didn't want to become the lonely lady who knits. Should I take cooking classes and learn how to make a delicious meal from scratch? No. I couldn't afford classes.
I knew what I had to do, I was just avoiding it. I had to run a 5K. Now, most of you out there are probably thinking, "That's only 3.2 miles, how hard can that be?" Well, let me let you in on a little secret: I was that chubby kid in elementary school who finished the 1 mile run dead last and wheezing after stopping to almost throw up eight times along the way. I was not a runner. Sure, I played all kinds of sports. In softball I was the pitcher, so not much running happened there. When I played soccer I was a fullback, so all I did was body slam people who tried to rush the goal and kick the corner kicks because I had the sickest kick on the team. Therefore, not much running involved in that one either. I played basketball, and considering I was at least a foot taller than any other person on either team, it didn't matter that I couldn't run. I just body slammed people who tried to shoot layups. Or I stuck one arm out and deflected the ball without even trying. I was a big kid, and I made it work for me. But the only place it didn't work was on the track.
Once I'd escaped my awkward phase, I hated running too much to give it another chance. To me, running was a form of punishment, something you did when you were 5 minutes late to basketball practice or when you missed a fly ball in the infield. It wasn't fun. It wasn't a hobby or a sport. Hell, I didn't even consider it exercise. It was cruel and unusual punishment.
But I wanted to change that. It didn't help that I'd developed a case of asthma, probably from living in a 400-square-foot apartment in NYC with a cat (which I'm allergic to) and a cabinet full of black mold. But the first step in changing my anti-running attitude was to register for a race and tell myself I could do it. How cool would that be to know I finished a 5K without walking by the next time Cayden came to visit?
I registered for the Living for Zachary Heart Run in Plano. I dug out the multiple pairs of high-end running shoes I'd acquired from my days working at the health magazine in NYC, I downloaded a kick-ass playlist (thanks to your suggestions on my Facebook page), and I enlisted a few close girlfriends to be my running partners.
Last Saturday, I crossed the finish line with one of my best friends, Joyce, and my girls Carson and Rae cheered us on from the sideline with a giant poster and iPod speakers blasting the Rocky theme song. We did it. We ran an entire 5K without walking. Fourth Grade Me wouldn't believe it. Twenty-Five Year Old Me was a runner.
I wish Cayden could have been on the other side of the finish line. But hearing his voice congratulate me on the other end of the phone was good enough. One day we'll run a race together.
I'm about to register for my second 5K, and I'd love it if yall ran it with me. Not sure if any of you watch the show the Biggest Loser, but Abby Rike from season eight is going to run it with me. Well, by "with me" I mean we're starting it together, but I'm sure she'll cross the finish line while I'm half passed out at the 2-mile marker. We're running the Turkey Trot in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Nothing like running and 5K and then devouring a Thanksgiving feast, right?
Aside from running, I've been keeping myself busy with work. Even took a work trip to Vegas for BlogWorld & New Media Expo. (I handle the social media for my magazine as well). Cayden had always wanted to go to Vegas. Me? Not so much. I wish he could have experienced it with me. I wasn't that impressed. The casinos looked just like the casinos I'd been to in Oklahoma and the clubs looked just like the clubs I'd been to in Dallas. I didn't get it. But I knew Cayden would have loved it. He's drawn to the bright lights, whereas I find them tacky. But one thing I didn't find tacky: The Lion King. It was the most incredible performance I'd ever seen. And I'd lived in New York, where Broadway rules all, but this performance didn't hold a candle to those I saw in the Big Apple. The costumes alone out shined NYC. At times I forgot I was watching human beings because I saw the actors as the animals they represented. I wasn't even sure if Cayden had ever seen the movie the Lion King, but I knew he'd appreciate the pure talent on the stage, the intricate costumes and scenery. And I knew I appreciated the half naked men prancing around me.
Yes, I feel like there are half naked men everywhere when Cayden's not here. My horniness level has become that of a teenage boy. Well, maybe I shouldn't just chalk this up to horniness, because it's not just sex I'm craving. I'm craving his affection. I want him to hold my hand, to kiss my cheek, to hold me against him while we sleep. I want to (playfully) punch him in the stomach when he's not expecting it. I want to feel his arm around my waist. I want to hear him breathing next to me. I want him to run his fingers through my hair. And I want him to rip my clothes off and throw me on the bed.
Have I been tempted by other guys while Cayden's been away? Sure, I still find other guys attractive, but then I remind myself that they're not what I want. They're not Cayden. I want affection, but not their affection. It's Cayden's touch I want. It's Cayden's heart I carry. So, what do I do when confronted with temptation? Easy: I set them up with one of my single lady friends and live vicariously through them until Cayden comes back. Lucky bitches.
Speaking of Cayden coming back, his plane will touch down in Dallas in 39 and a half hours from right now. He'll get to stay a whole 10 days. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW EXCITED I AM! I'm actually crying right now as I write this because he's so close, yet still so far away. I can't even call him right now to tell him how much I miss him because it's only 6 am there. So you guys are stuck hearing me rant about it here. Sorry about that! Damn time zones.
Also, if you're wondering why it took me 44 days to write about his 4-day visit, it's because with every post, I got to relive what it was like to have him here. It was almost like he was still here.
If you have any questions before Cayden gets here Friday and I go MIA again, please ask away! Feel free to leave questions in the comments box below or email me at fairytalebeginning73 [at] gmail dot com.