My phone rang in the middle of the night and I answered it before I was even awake.
I could hear his voice somewhere behind the dark depths of the REM segment of my sleep cycle. Was Cayden there? In my bed? Why was it so dark? I attempted to pry my eyes open, but my brain couldn't send the signal to my eyelids. I felt like I was trapped in the bottom of a well, and someone was walking by but I couldn't form the words to call for help.
"Baby? You there? I hear you breathing."
I heard him, I just couldn't figure out where he was. Was he in my dream? Was he next to me? Was it just the soundbox in my teddy bear?
A short, loud snore jerked me awake violently. My eyes shot open. Something hit my arm. Was that Cayden? No. It was my phone. Which explained the distance voice in my dream. I lunged for it.
"Cayden?? Is that you?"
He was laughing. He must have heard the snore.
"Baby, guess what?" he said when he had contained himself.
I rubbed my eyes and then held my phone up to my face so I could see the time. The bright light blinded me and my eyes closed again. But I'd gathered it was 2:20 am. Why in the hell would anyone call me at 2 am to play guessing games? Who died?
"I got an earlier flight," he said before I could play his game.
Flight? Flight. Airplane. Cayden. Cayden on an airplane. CAYDEN WAS COMING TO VISIT! It finally clicked. I was finally awake.
"You're coming?" I squealed, mostly out of excitement but also because my middle-of-the-night voice hadn't stabilized.
"I am! I land at 3:50 pm," he said. "You know what that means?"
"That means I won't have to be the loser drinking margs in the corner at the rehearsal dinner!" I was so excited I contemplated jumping up and down in my bed like the little kids do on Sears commercials, but I feared the rest of my body wasn't as awake as my mind and I'd collapse and snap a leg.
"That's right!" he said. I could hear the excitement and relief in his voice. I loved that he was as excited as I was. "So go back to sleep. Sorry I woke you. I'll see you soon."
Usually when we said "see you soon" it meant "next month" or "in a few weeks." But this time, "soon" meant tomorrow. I smiled against my pillow and kicked my legs in excitement. I was giddy. Go ahead... ask me if I was able to go back to sleep that night.
I hate you oh so very much. You show up at the most inconvenient of times, like when I'm running late to work or when I'm trying to pick my boyfriend up at the airport baggage claim instead of on the curb. Airport hellos are less romantic on the curb, don't you know that? Get it together, Traffic. The brake lights you cause give me a headache. This stop-and-go shit is playing with my emotions. And the way you decorate yourself with those orange cones and the flashing orange lights that nearly give me a seizure is just tacky. Also, if you don't want me to rear-end the person in front of me and cause even more traffic, don't place giant billboards that say "Please don't text and drive. My Daddy works here" in small font, because you know what? I'm going to read it. And while I'm reading it, I'm not going to notice if the car in front of me slams on his brakes. Oh, that must be your Daddy. Tell him and all the other assholes in front of him to get off the damn road so I can get to the airport. Thanks.
Road Rage Whitney
My phone rang when I was still a few miles from the airport in standstill traffic. Road Rage Whitney was in full effect. Please don't be Cayden, I thought to myself. If it were Cayden, that would mean he'd landed already and was probably at baggage claim looking for me.
It was Cayden. Curbside hello it was going to be.
"Hey baby! Where are you?"
His voice alone managed to bring down my blood pressure and help the veins in my forehead and neck subside.
"Traffic. But I'm close!" I said, trying to hide my frustration.
"OK, I'll just grab my bag and meet you outside. Love you!"
"Love you, too!"
I took a few deep breaths and tried to relax but my heart starting beating faster at the thought of Cayden being in Texas. Our 5,000-mile gap had closed to about 3. He was so close. In a matter of minutes, my arms would be around him and his lips would be on mine. I grabbed my Blistex Raspberry Lemonade chapstick and gave my lips a fresh coat.
I could see the exit for the airport. If only I could get to it. I tried to use special brain power a la Alex Mack to move the cars in front of me with no luck.
It was 4:30 before I flew through the airport tollbooth and sped down the access road to terminal E. Cayden had been waiting half an hour by the time I pulled up to the curb. I spotted him among the other waiting passengers, all propped up against their bags and stretching from their long flights. Cayden was taller than all of them, which made it easy to spot him.
The second Cayden caught my eye, Road Rage Whitney vanished and in her place was Lovestruck Whitney. I threw my car into park and flung my door open without caring if a car was passing close enough to rip it off. Who needed doors, anyway? In five strides or less, I was in his arms. Right where I was supposed to be.
As soon as his lips touched mine, Lovestruck Whitney vanished and Hornball Whitney took her place.
Who ever said curbside hellos weren't romantic?