Three months and three weeks after we held each other last we embraced again. A long time has past since that last moment. So much emotion that has simmered under the surface. I didn’t know how to feel or how to act. I just went with my intuition and held her tight amongst the other passengers that have left the plane.
Four hours earlier I awoke at my sisters place way before my alarm was set to go off. My eyes opened to stare into darkness of the morning. Light filtered through the window blinds from the street lights below. There wasn’t much to look at on the ceiling. Soon I was up making a coffee waiting for the right time to stir my sister from her bed. I listened to her alarms go off one by one in the quiet. I was ready to go.
We made a couple of cups of joe to go for the road. We took the elevator down to the parking lot and got into the car in order to face the traffic. I was going to get dropped off at King George station. I wasn’t going to subject my sis to the long drive to the airport. If we get to the station on time I will get to the airport on time. I’ll ride the skytrain from one end to the other and then again on the other line.
Once at the airport I discovered that Chrl’s plane will be thirty minutes late. Domestic arrivals were also on the other end of the airport. I rolled my little suitcase filled with all the stuff I needed for the next few days. Anticipation has created its release of naturally occurring endochemichals that have found their receptors. Soon it will be time. I have a distraction that I tap on or into all the time. I am waiting for commotion, a sign that the plane has landed.
There was movement amongst those that have been sitting here waiting. People started to pour out from the exit I scanned each form for the one that I’ve been waiting for. Soon enough I spotted her. She was walking and scanning too. I tried to sneak behind a support in order to surprise but Chrl saw me and thwarted my attempt. We embraced and kissed like two people that haven’t seen each other in a long long time. We said ‘hi’ and then embraced again our bodies remembering once again what it feels like to be so close together. Andrew said hi but he had to leave as he was being picked up. He travelled with Chrl from Saskatoon.
We held each other as we waited for the luggage to be unloaded from the plane and for it to arrive on the conveyor belt. Chrl’s dad was somewhere waiting for our phone call to pick us up. I met one of Chrl’s classmates who was also on the plane. She seemed completely out of it as they had to be up really early to catch the flight. First to Calgary and then to Vancouver. Since Saskatoon is so tiny it doesn’t have many flights that connect to the west coast directly or economically.
Those first moments for us were wonderful. Emotions were high and we were enjoying our embrace in peace uninterrupted for just a short while our bodies getting used to being so close to each other. We smiled and gazed into each other’s eyes no longer mediated by technology but right there in flesh in reality. As the conveyor belt began to turn indicating that the wait for luggage is over. Chrl’s fancy vintage luggage arrived and we pounced to retrieve it removing it from the vortex that is this carousel.
Chrl’s dad arrived within a few minutes from his waiting spot to the pick up location. We loaded up our stuff into the back seat and began our journey to the ferry terminal. We were on our way to Victoria to spend an evening together alone. This would give us an opportunity to connect together before facing all the family stuff that lays ahead of us this holiday season. Being together will help us reacquaint ourselves with each other. We have been waiting for so long to be together…
Chrl’s dad parked his truck and we rolled in to the waiting area. Ruth an aunt of one of Chrl’s close friends was also going to be on the ferry. We will be visiting them the next day and as Ruth is elderly we helped her with her things and sat with her during the ferry ride. There was conversation happening throughout the wait and the ferry ride across the Georgia Straight to Schwartz Bay. Ruth was picked up on the other side and I got a chance to meet the kids that were and continue to be a big part of Chrl’s life. This being together in person allows us to get to know all these other parts of ourselves and the people that populate them.
We found the bus waiting and with a big line up. People piled on thick from the ferry onto the express bus. The slow one was behind it empty. We decided to jump onto the empty bus and sat on the top level in the front cuddling the whole way. There was another couple sitting beside us doing the exact same thing. This was finally the first time we were alone together in the sense that we didn’t have anyone we knew around us. We talked a bit but mostly just sat there watching the road in front of us as Chrl snuggled up to me. The road ahead was sometimes scenic and sometimes jammed with traffic but we made good time into the city. Our hotel was very central and we were soon within its luxurious confines. Alone together at last!
The view from our balcony was great. The sun shone into our room as it descended over the horizon. We embraced this freedom and enjoyed the privacy of our room. We shared a lot of laughs as both of us felt really happy to be together again. We have built up all of this emotion over the time that we were apart. This emotion needs to be released and finally we were able to. We kept saying to each other how surreal this all felt. How wonderful it is to be in the same time zone and in the same room with each other. We faffed around for a bit as we got ready for dinner.
Chrl had asked some of her old acquaintances where we should eat and it was suggested that we go to a particular Chinese restaurant. We had a short distance to walk to get there. We were walking along hand in hand like tourists or lovebirds on a night out in a new city. I have been here before a long time ago and Chrl used to live in the city a long time ago. It was essentially a newish experience for the both of us. We were engrossed in our conversations as we slowly made our way to this restaurant. The guy that recommended this restaurant was there having dinner with his daughter who was visiting from Europe. We sat in the back and figured out what we wanted to eat. We were both hungry from all the activity we had to do in order to be here now.
Afterwards we walked along another street and then sat in a coffee shop away from the cold. We had a chance to have a more serious conversation about our future. This conversation went beyond just the immediate logistics of being in the same room and in the same city. We are obviously serious about being together not just for one night but also for a lifetime. We need more than just feeling but strategies that will enable us to overcome issues that will inevitably arise through the course of our relationship. With us being a bit older and wiser there is also a bit more history that we both carry with us. We have each dealt with our issues and heartaches as best as we could and we have been good at communicating with each other. We wanted to clarify these ideas and move forward towards a closer relationship between us. Our intimacy is like a drill that burrows to the core of our being. At the source is love but it is protected by layers that have been built up over years to protect it from abuse. We are exposing this core to each other and sharing it with each other as we have finally found that special someone to give it to.
The coffee shop was closing down and they kicked us out. We walked along the street towards the waterfront. The harbor was dotted with boats moored for the season. Some were decorated with lights in tune with this festive season. We walked along admiring the calmness of the water and the reflection that the boats made in the darkness of this abyss. We were continuing our conversation and as the topic moved towards our practical existence together I reaffirmed my commitment by sliding a ring onto her finger. It is to symbolize physically my desire to be with her and to promise something more in the future. We have many adventures ahead of us and this winter solstice represents the beginning of another year. From this night the days get longer as the nights get shorter. We are beginning our four seasons of living together and getting deeper beneath the surface. We are continuing a journey together, a journey that we are both longing for having sought for it near and far.
My poetic sense with words failed me at a critical time. Maybe it was the moment maybe it was the gravity of the situation but I had to do it again to get it right. I was glad to get the opportunity we clarified with each other what we were getting ourselves into. This is serious but at the same time it is also fun and enjoyable. We are partnering in order to fulfill a biological and physical need, a cultural and psychological desire to coexist in a space that we share in order to hopefully sometime in the future…. it is something that both of us will be a part of as part of this season. To be with family in order to share in the joy of the season with those individuals that are the closest to us. We are both after all these years with someone with whom the concept of prolonged co-existence sounds like a great idea. We laughed together as we toasted to us with little individual bottles of sparkling wine we bought for the occasion. We enjoyed the moment embraced as we looked over the city from our fifteenth floor window. We are facing a future that is away from all of this in a cold, cold part of the country out on the praries. I can go on but won’t.
We woke in the morning both enjoying our space. It’s luxury was felt in the softness of the linen and comfort of the bed. The shower was a pleasure to enjoy all of those gleaming and functional plumbing fixtures directing water to both a functional and pleasurable conclusion when it hits the skin. Something felt different as we sat downstairs across from each other trying to decide what we were going to eat for breakfast. We had that smirk and we both moved in our stereotypical movements that expressed non-verbally how we felt inside. We had a bit of time before we had to check out and meet up with another Ruth, this time it’s one of Chrl’s aunts. Yesterday I asked Chrl’s dad:
“Which one is more ruthless?” to bowels of laughter.
We were meeting Ruth at an Indian restaurant that just happens to be directly across the street from the Chinese restaurant we ate at yesterday. There was concern that we were going to have to wait for a seat as there are many offices in the area. This can make or break our lunch plans. We walked to one of the coffee shops we went to yesterday and picked up some coffee for Christmas at my parents place. Right next door to it was a jewelry shop and Chrl went in to have the ring resized and polished to a nice finish. We got the price and luckily for us the shop does all of the work onsite. This means that we could pick it up after lunch.
We were rolling with our suitcases through the city. People moved out of the way. In London there are people with rollie cases all over the place. Some people use them as a daily carrier. Most people can fit a few days worth of travel stuff inside of them. London is a city of transients, some stay for a few days while some only leave for a few days. The sound of the wheels over the lines in the pavement as regular as our pace. The rough finish of the concrete produced a loud sound that made it impossible to carry on a conversation. We arrived a few minutes early but as soon as Ruth showed up we entered and found a seat in the back of the restaurant. Our luggage fit nicely in our nook.
Ruth is Chrl’s mom sister. There is a remarkable resemblance although many years separate them. She is a bit more fire-yee and with a sense of humor. Chrl and I have introduced each other to many people that are close to us in our lives. These include friends and family. We are becoming an increasingly complex tapestry in each other’s eyes. As much as she knows about me I am also learning about her. We have to know what each other are getting ourselves into. I picked up lunch and said that Ruth will have to pick up the next one when we are in town. We talked about how we met and what we are planning to do as well as what we feel about it all.
After lunch we sat at a coffee shop. A fairly new coffee place that is set up for meeting and internet surfing. The chairs were big and comfortable and the walls had both electrical and ethernet plugs to hardware oneself into the matrix. We sat there updating our statuses and catching up on happenings that have been happening all over the place. We figured out how we were going to make it to Rachel’s as well as finalizing our plans for the next day when we were going to go back to the mainland. It was time to go to the jewelry shop. From there we went to the bus stop and sat there as this overly friendly older lady tried to make conversation with everyone around her.
Rachel lives outside of Victoria in one of the surrounding communities. She has two daughters one of whom is a bit challenged. They have all been a huge part of Chrl’s life from the beginning of the girls lives. Chrl has grown close to them and she wanted to spend at least one night with them. The other Ruth was already there as was the dog. Harley is being taken care of temporarily while his owner, the girls father recovers from a workplace accident that just recently happened. The dog is a rottie and it is just a giant ball of muscle that loves the kids and licks them any chance it gets. Chrl and I settled in and began another set of introductions and stories. Rachel is well acquainted with what has happened between Chrl and I. She is evaluating me to an extent but I passed in Ruth’s eyes so I must be doing something right.
We had some dinner and afterwards Rachel and Chrl went to the hospital for a visit. Ruth and I stayed behind with the kids and that forced me to interact with a tween. What to say and how do we connect so that we are not sitting there engrossed in our phones screen. Well she had a game that she wanted me to play. I ain’t good at video games and there aren’t many on my phone but it is how we connected. She could play and hold a conversation at the same time. Who says people can’t multitask. The dog Harley provided some much needed comic relief when he started chasing his tail scaring Ruth but also making us laugh. Chasing your own tail… how much more can you ask from a dog?
When they came back from the hospital we chatted for a bit longer but eventually after the kids fell asleep us adults followed them. I had to sleep in one of the kids rooms as Chrl slept with the girls. It’s to maintain a closeness that is slowly becoming diluted by time. Chrl wants to maintain it. She sees the impossibility of that ideal amidst the direction that her life has taken currently. Life is long however and in time these connections will blossom and bear fruit accordingly.
In the morning my brother was going to pick us up at nine. I was up and spent the morning with Rachel. It’s just easiest to be myself. There isn’t anything that I have to hide and by being genuine Chrl’s friends can more accurately present their opinion of me. I know that there isn’t many people that I can’t get along with. Soon the kids were up and we had time for a coffee as well as a good group photo. The message that my brother made it reached my phone. I can only communicate through the interwebs as cellular data would be too expensive. It was a short but impactful visit and we quickly said our goodbyes. It was time for the next part of our journey to begin.