Tuesday, November 22, 2011

239. Present Tense

"I don't want to go to work tomorrow," I said that night when Cayden and I curled up in bed. "I hate that we have to go months and months without seeing each other, and then you finally get here and I have to work all week."

I sounded like a broken record. I muttered the same exact complaint every time he came to visit.

"Well, at least it's a short week. I'm so glad you got Friday off," he said, tucking my unruly hair behind one ear. It was still styled in tight spirals from the wedding the day before. I wasn't usually one to skip days between hair washings, but those spirals looked too damn good to wash out.

"I can't wait to show you Austin. You're going to love it."

It was Cayden's fifth visit to Texas and I had yet to take him out of the DFW metroplex. Every visit, I had big plans to take him up to Norman or down to Austin for a quick weekend getaway, but our schedules never worked out. This time, we were going to make it happen, but it wasn't going to be just the two of us. Carson's birthday is Sept. 3, Cayden's is Sept. 11, mine is Sept. 28 and Rae's is Oct. 3, so we all decided to plan a weekend trip to Austin the last weekend in September to celebrate. Unfortunately, Carson had to bail because she was starting a new job the following week and wanted to spend the weekend relaxing and preparing.

"I've heard a lot of great things about Austin," Cayden said. "I'm interested to see what it's like."

I was interested to see what the 3-bedroom house I'd rented for the weekend was like. At only $90/person for the entire weekend, it sounded too good to be true.

"This weekend was great," he said. "So much better than spending the weekend cooped up in my room with my laptop because there's nothing to do in Reading."

He was right. It had been an exciting, event-filled weekend. I felt like it had been a while since I'd had one of those. As much as I love being able to sleep in and not think about work for a few days, weekends lack a lot of their appeal when Cayden's not there. In fact, come Friday afternoons, I have a slight anxiety attack when I realize I'm the only one without weekend plans. In a long-distance relationship, weekends are when you're at your loneliest. Weekends are when you're most vulnerable. Remembering that feeling made me cling to Cayden tighter.

"Can you please just move here now?" I begged.

"I'm trying, baby." He hugged me close. "But your government isn't exactly jumping at the chance to recruit foreigners right now with unemployment the way it is. I don't even have my MBA yet, so there's little chance anyone would even look at my CV over here."

I knew he was doing everything he could. But it couldn't hurt to ask. Or beg.

"Pretty please?"

"May, baby. We're shooting for May," he said in an attempt to reassure me. "By then I should have all of the training and program certifications I need to make my resume stand out. And by then I'll have enough money saved up to survive here without a job for a few months while I search."

I wanted to believe it would happen in May, but I'd already decided not to get my hopes up. Our original plan was January, which got pushed back to March, which got pushed back to May. I promised myself not to get my hopes up until his one-way ticket had been purchased and the eticket confirmation was waiting for me in my inbox. That would be the happiest day of my life.

Cayden kissed the top of my head. I looked up and smiled at him. That kiss reminded me that it was not the time to worry about the future or reminisce on the lonely weekends in the past. Cayden was in my bed. I was in his arms. His lips were inches from mine. This was the present, and I needed to be present for it. I titled my lips up to his and let him kiss away my fears, anxieties, and uncertainties. Kiss after kiss, I came back to life. And right there in that moment, life was beautiful.

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