It was a cold day in the middle of January. January 15th to be exact. My morning started with a long flight into Louisville. By now, I was very familiar with Louisville, having traveled there over a dozen times in the previous months. Louisville was nothing special...
But this trip was special. Or at least, I had hopes that it would be.
After I finished my work in Louisville I had to drive to another job, five hours away in a small mountain town in Kentucky. Knowing this, I had arranged to stop and visit you along the way.
I was excited. I was nervous. Our conversations had been becoming more frequent, and deeper. I wanted to meet you, to get to know you better than just lines of text could allow. You fascinated me. The words you sent me, the images you displayed – everything so magnificently crafted and meticulously presented. Your creativity, intelligence and elegance had always left me awestruck, as did your humble responses.
Offering to look at your malfunctioning computer was a good excuse as any to make the time to visit you, but it wasn’t the point.
We exchanged contact info and set the time. We discussed a restaurant to meet at – a neutral, safe location. Although you were going to have your significant other with you; I was ok with that, as long was we got to talk. As long as I had the chance to extend my hand to you in a greeting and feel the soft warmth of your skin. As long as our eyes got to meet and connect our souls for a second as we exchanged a friendly smile towards each other. To hear your voice say my name, even if it was only followed by “… pleased to meet you.”
I nervously dialed your number as I made the drive into town. Hearing your voice caused my heart to race like the wheels of my car as I sped down the dark, wet highway.
Going by a map, I missed an exit. I cursed myself for the lost time. I picked up the pace heading back to where I needed to be. I called you again to revise my arrival time.
I finally rolled into town and searched for the little Italian restaurant you suggested. Finding it, I parked in the mostly empty lot. The night air was damp and cold. I zipped my jacket and walked to the front door. Every nerve in my body responded to chill. My senses were on high; the needles on every gauge were pinned to the right.
What would I find when I walked in?
Would you be at a table, waiting? Standing by the front door so you wouldn’t miss me? Would I be there alone and have to wait for you? Would you show up at all?
I stepped inside. The restaurant was quiet. Italian music played overhead and an older lady with an accent greeted me to her establishment.
“Just one tonight?” she asked.
“Umm.. maybe three? I’m meeting some people here.” I responded with a bit of hesitation in my voice.
“Right this way, please.”
I followed her around the corner to another area of the restaurant. There were patrons in this area and I scanned every table to see if you were already waiting. I didn’t see you and my heart sank a little.
“Will this be alright?” she asked, placing a menu on a table near the wall partition.
“Sure, thank you.” I replied.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“Just some water right now.” I didn’t want to drink, not if I was going to end up alone for the night. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Starting with a drink might have led me into a rapid downward spiral.
A few minutes went by. It felt like hours. She returned with my water and asked if I was going to wait for my friends to order. I told her I was. I sat, anxiously. I sipped at the water. I spun quickly at every noise, to see if it was you. A couple walked around the corner of the partition, but it wasn’t you. My anticipation grew, as did some of those negative feelings I’ve grown accustomed to beating down.
She’s not going to show.
It’s something I hoped for too much. These things always end in disappointment.
Why am I here? Why do I do these things to myself?
I do them... for hope. I need to have hope in my life. I’ve been seeking... something… my whole life. And to that point, I hadn’t found it. I couldn’t tell you exactly what that something was… but I could say for sure, I hadn’t found it. Most days I wondered if I ever would.
I swirled the floating ice cubes in my glass. I debated shooting the straw wrapper across the room just for the fun of it.
Then, from the corner of my eye, through the stained, translucent glass of the partition… I saw you. My heart leapt! I quickly tried to compose myself. I am so horrible at these situations. The newness of meeting someone for the first time; I’m nervous, I’m uneasy, I trip over my words… you turned the corner. He was with you but for that instant in time everything froze and my mind focused on seeing you. Your long, dark hair was covering your face, but I could see your eyes and your smile… and a little bit of me melted.
I extended a hand to both of you and introduced myself.
Your companion dominated the conversation. I felt awkward. I felt too nervous to speak to you, and I can tell you felt the same. We had always had such great conversations through text, but here, we both seemed to feel we couldn’t… or shouldn’t… talk to each other.
We ordered dinner, and I ordered a glass of wine that the waitress never brought to me.
I was happy to meet you. I wondered if you were truly happy to meet me. I wondered what you were thinking, but I knew I couldn’t ask. I wanted to reach inside you and feel what you were feeling but I couldn’t even reach out to you with a word.
The three of us spent the evening, mostly that way. The distraction of trying to solve the computer issues… casual conversation separated by quiet awkwardness and… eventually, Ren & Stimpy… you sat across the room quietly. I wanted to sit next to you, take your hand and talk.
I wanted to hug you and squeeze you tight against me. I wanted to brush your hair away from your face and see all of you… but you know I couldn’t. And so did I.
I wondered if you were truly happy here. It didn't seem like it sometimes, but you never said you were unhappy...
I left with a casual good-bye and a hand shake. I drove to my hotel pondering this meeting. Something about wanting it… felt so much different that other times I’ve met people I’ve spoke with online. Something made it feel more urgent. Something made me want it more.
I tried to make sense of it, and make sense of the evening but the events of that night left me sitting in my hotel room with my head in my hands… wondering if I would ever find that something. Convincing myself that I have to accept my destiny and this was just another piece of it.
But never finding…
Like the forgotten glass of wine… even the little things I want tend to be out of my reach, and that is just the way my life is always going to be…
Little did I know what incredible surprises the next few months would have in store for me…
Figured it was long enough, I could at least clear out all the stuff more than 6 months old.... so here it is:
9/13/06 - Ok, the dark side of running my own business is really rearing it's ugly head this week. Delinquent customers, suppliers making demands, good customers having to wait because of the delinquents and suppliers... ugh... I'd like to say it's good to be home for a while, but, not with all this crap going on.
If you don't think things could have possibly gotten that bad in my home office.. well.. take a look at my office...
|World Visitor Map|