For the fourth time since I'd met him, I had to say goodbye. The first time I said bye to him, from my bed in NYC, I wasn't sure if I'd ever see him again. I remember rolling over in my bed with a huge smile on my face after he'd left, replaying the night's activities in my head. I was on cloud nine.
The second time I said bye to him, snot-nosed and tear-streaked at Heathrow airport, I wasn't sure I'd see him again. I'd told him I needed some time to clear my head. I'd ruined his airport "I love you." I'd crushed him.
The third time I said bye to him at Dallas-Fort Worth airport, it was a little easier. I knew I'd see him again. I was 100 percent confident in our relationship, and it was just a matter of surviving the next 6-7 weeks until I'd see him again. That time would fly, right?
Wrong. After his last visit, I was in a funk I couldn't shake. I fell asleep bummed out that he wasn't next to me. I woke up bummed out his arm wasn't around me. I felt like there was too much room in the shower without him in there with me. I couldn't get my work done because I knew he wasn't at home waiting for me. After a week or so I snapped out of it, but at the time, I wasn't sure I would. Blogging about his visit helped, because I could almost pretend he was still there.
So saying goodbye to him the fourth time was pretty rough because I knew what the following days would bring. He'd be back for Christmas, just 6 and a half weeks away. But he'd miss Thanksgiving. But he'd be here for Christmas. But he'd miss Thanksgiving. But he'd be here for Christmas. I had this argument in my head, back and forth. Half of me being optimistic, the other half the pessimist.
We got to the security line and Cayden pulled his backpack off my shoulder and set it down beside him. He wrapped me in a hug and I clung to him. Don't cry. He'll be back for Christmas. He'll be back for Christmas. He'll be back for Christmas. He'll miss Thanksgiving. Tears came close. Shut up. He'll be back for Christmas. The tears retreated.
"Wow, no tears?" Cayden said when he pulled away and looked down at me.
"Nope. I locked it up. You'll be back for Christmas, and that's pretty much the best present I could ask for."
"I can't wait to spend our first Christmas together," he said. And then, "Damn, that means I have to buy you a gift, right?"
Good, he was keeping it light. No reason to cry. I laughed with him and then he bent down to kiss me. I wanted the kiss to last forever. It wasn't one of those obscene trashy kisses that make other people uncomfortable. It was soft, somewhat still. Like five long pecks rolled into one.
"Feel better, OK?" he said when we finally broke the kiss. My stomach still wasn't right and we'd barely gotten to cuddle on his last night here. So much for mind-blowing orgasm take two, three, and four.
"I'll try. I just wish I didn't have to go into work right now."
"Hang in there," he said, kissing me on the forehead. "I'll see you at Christmas."
After our mutual "I love you" and yet another long kiss, I headed back to my car. I stepped outside and the sun was shining. It was 75 degrees, beautiful weather, and I was proud of myself for not letting one tear drop. I had a skip in my step and thought I just might be OK this time. I walked into the parking garage and my smile faded with the sunlight. I dropped down in my car and shut my door.
He won't be here for Thanksgiving.
The tears sprang to my eyes before the optimist in me could fight them back. I let it out. I bawled into my steering wheel. I didn't care. No one could see me. I was just glad I didn't lose it in front of Cayden. I figured I'd have a good cry on the drive to work and be done with it. Get it out of my system and then reclaim the optimist in me.
I looked in my rearview mirror before backing out of my parking spot and noticed something balled up in my backseat. I looked back and saw Cayden's navy blue coat. He'd left it behind. I half thought about keeping it, snuggling up with it in bed, wearing it until he came back. I reached back and pulled it into my lap. I lifted it to my face and smelled it. It smelled like him. I wanted to keep it more than anything. But then I realized he was going to freeze when he got off the plane in London where it was already in the 30s.
This meant two things. I was going to have to sprint back through the airport to catch him before he made it through security. And I was going to have to make it look like I wasn't just bawling.
There wasn't time to do both, so I said "Fuck it," and I ran back inside with my red-rimmed eyes and snotty nose. I caught him right before he handed the security guard his passport and ticket.
"Babe! You left this!"
He turned, surprised to see me standing there.
"I had just realized I left that! Thought you'd already left!"
That's when he noticed my tear-streaked face.
He stepped out of line and pulled me in for another hug. I let myself cry into his shirt as he held me.
"I'll be back for Christmas," he whispered.
"You'll be back for Christmas," I mumbled into his chest.
In the end, the optimist won out and I walked out of the airport with my head held high, a smile on my face, the breeze and sun drying my tears. I blasted the music in my car and drove to work with the windows down.
And despite my fears, the post-Cayden funk didn't return. After two sick days (legit sick, not love sick), I was back at work, back in the swing of things, and ever the optimist. I have my amazing girlfriends to thank for that. Well, them and happy hour.