After eight days in paradise, it was time to say goodbye for the last time.... again. I begged the time to stand still. I pleaded for someone to invent time travel before we had to part ways again. I wanted to relive our honeymoon all over again because every single moment of it had been absolutely amazing, and I couldn't stand the thought of watching him walk away from me again.
We ate our breakfast slowly and left plenty of time to sip our coffee and enjoy our last few hours together.
"I think we'll hear back this week," Cayden said, nodding assuredly.
"We've thought that every week," I whined. "I can't get my hopes up again. So I'm just going to assume we won't hear back on the the very last day of week 22. But at least that's only 7 weeks away."
I tried to sound optimistic, but the thought of going another 7 weeks without him made it hard to swallow the lump forming in my throat. I took another swig of coffee and gazed out at the calm, empty pool.
"I know this is going to sound weird, but I think I'm going to miss our new friends, too," I said. "We definitely have to invite them to the wedding."
"For sure," Cayden agreed. "Don't worry, we'll take a road trip out to Monroe, Louisiana. I have to see where this Duck Dynasty show you all were talking about takes place."
I smiled and nodded, but my mood was already heading south. I wanted to drag Cayden back up to our room and hide under the sheets with him and hope no one found us. But instead, we had to gather our bags and head to the taxi stand.
It just so happened that our new friends had a layover in Dallas and we were all on the same flight. If anything, that would make this final goodbye slightly more tolerable. At least I wouldn't be the lonely girl crying at the airport. I'd be the girl crying at the airport amongst new friends. Or maybe I wouldn't cry. Maybe I could find a way to lock it up for the final goodbye.
The six of us piled in the airport shuttle and I plastered myself against Cayden. Everyone was mostly quiet, either because they were recovering from the previous night's boozefest or because they felt awkward knowing they were about to get stuck with the crying girl.
The moment I saw the ferry dock out the taxi window, I tightened my squeeze on Cayden. It was his stop. He'd have to take the ferry to Playa del Carmen and take another taxi to the airport in Cancun. The driver pulled over, and I told him not to leave me while I said my goodbyes. Cayden shook hands with our new friends and we all made promises to be Facebook friends as soon as we all had free Internet access.
I stepped out of the taxi with Cayden and wrapped my arms around his neck. There was no swallowing that lump in my throat. It nearly choked me. As I'd done so many times before, I buried my face in Cayden's shirt and let it absorb my tears. He squeezed me hard.
"I don't want to let go," he whispered against my cheek.
"Neither do I," I mumbled into his shirt.
"This couldn't have been more amazing. And one day soon our life together is going to be amazing. I can't wait."
"Seven weeks," I whispered. I couldn't manage to talk full volume with the tightness in my throat. "Seven weeks tops. And then it's forever."
He pried my face off his soggy shirt and kissed me. "And then it's forever."
I'd survived 3 years long-distance. I could handle another 7 weeks. At least that's the pep talk I gave myself as waved at him through the window.