Despite my sinus infection and bronchitis, I was feeling good. Optimistic. Refreshed. The new year brought a new outlook on my relationship. I was going to stop feeling sorry for myself and acting all Debbie Downer because I couldn't get a goodnight kiss every night. Instead, I decided to feel blessed that I had someone calling me every morning to wish me a good day and tell me how much he loved me. How could I be upset about that?
"You OK?" Cayden asked, cautiously. He was preparing for my eventual meltdown.
"I'm OK," I said, smiling up at him.
He gave me a concerned look. I squeezed his hand has reassurance.
We sat down on a row of hard, uncomfortable chairs against a window. We had a few minutes to kill before he had to go through security. I leaned into him with his arm around me and tried to absorb every sight, scent and texture of him so I could close my eyes anytime and imagine him holding me tight.
"So, are you sure you want me to come back for St. Paddy's day and not Valentine's Day?' he asked. I could tell he thought I'd regret that decision and call him crying on Valentines Day, whining about how everyone else was out on their fancy Valentines dates while I was stuck at home dog sitting.
"I'm sure," I said, pulling away from him to make eye contact. "The St. Paddy's Day parade blows Valentine's Day out of the water. Who needs chocolate and dinner dates when you can have green beer and beads?"
He laughed and shrugged his shoulders.
"I mean, green beer gets my vote, too," he said. "I just wanted to make sure."
I turned and sat sideways to in my chair to face him, crossing my legs beneath me. He watched me cautiously. Was I getting into my crying position? My breakdowns usually happened closer to the security line. I smiled and opened my eyes wide to reassure him that there were no tears on the brim.
"Why are you so chipper today? Are you ready to get rid of me?"
"Oh, god, yes. I can't wait to sprawl across my bed and stop shaving my legs." I was serious about the shaving part, but we both knew I was going to miss him in my bed.
"I'm not happy to see you go," I explained. "I've just decided to not be upset about it."
"Oh yeah? And what brought you to that decision?"
"Well, did you realize that after today, we'll only have to say one more goodbye and then it will be hello forever?"
He smiled and nodded.
"Of course I realized that," he said. "I think about our forever all the time. I just can't wait to start my ife with you here in Texas. Life will be so much easier then. I just hope I can find a job."
"Do you think we'll want to kill each other?" I asked in all seriousness. "What if you move here and then we realize we can't stand each other?"
"Well, I can't stand not being with you, so if I decide I can't stand being with you either, I guess it's a lose-lose for me, right?"
I punched him in the shoulder and leaned forward to plant a big, wet kiss on his lips.
"Now how could I not stand that?" Cayden said when we pulled away.
"But seriously," I said. "You're going to need a lot of boys' nights and I'm going to need a lot of girls' nights so we don't smother each other to death."
"We'll be fine," he said, patting my leg. "I seriously can't wait."
I just needed to survive another six months without him. We'd already made it a year and a half officially, two and a half years unofficially. (You know, if you want to count that year I was hooking up with Brady and then dating Addam.)
"Either can I," I said. "But for now, you need to get on that plane and I need to go to work. That whole forever thing is just going to have to wait."
I swallowed and felt for that familiar lump in my throat that signaled that tears were near. No lump.
I stood up first and pulled on his arm to help him stand. He went limp and let me pull with all my might. He found it hilarious that I lacked all upper body strength. Eventually he gave in and let me pull him to his feet. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and sighed. This time it looked like he was going to be the one to throw a fit.
He dragged his feet while we walked toward security hand in hand.
"Thanks again for the beautiful necklace," I said, reaching up to twirl the crystal between my fingers.
"Thanks for the sexy pictures. I'm going to put them right next to my bed."
I tried to imagine what I'd do if Cayden gave me sexy pictures of him covering his no-no parts with an American flag and posing with a kickball. I had to fight back a laugh at the thought of it.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye for the second to last time," he said when we made it to security.
"I'll see you in 10 weeks. Ten weeks sounds much better than two and a half months," I said.
He pulled me in for a hug and I slipped my hands in his shirt to feel his hips. I couldn't help but to run my fingers along those lines on his hips that lead to all things good. They were my favorite part of his body.
"Happy New Year," he whispered into my hair.
"It's our year," I whispered back.