Yesterday was quite draining. I was on a business trip, and mind you, this was the first one I have been on since N left that required me to fly. I felt like I had PTSD when I went inside of the airport. The last time I saw him in person was obviously at the airport, and while I wasn’t in Terminal E where his flight took off, we did have to go through Terminal C to retrieve my lost book bag which contained the journal I wrote for him. Naturally, I had to pass that corridor to get to where I was going.
I was going to Arlington, VA doing a training. I woke up the morning of early as usual. I did my routine, ate, put on a face, did my hair (and managed that without a brush because I totally forgot to pack one), and off I went. I was joined by two other educators, and I’m glad they were there to help out. The training itself went off without a hitch, and once it was completed, I was headed to the airport back home.
What was supposed to be a quick trip ended up with me stuck at the BWI airport for nine hours due to delays. Clearly, I was reads to be homes (and yes, I did mean to type “reads.” I’m trying so that my voice comes out through my writing. Pronounce it like “reds.”) While stuck there, I listened to a playlist of songs I made which were designed to help me process things better. What that is doing, I’m finding, is bringing me back to a somewhat negative space I already feel I am in. While a song about being addicted to someone is oh-so-relatable for me at this time, it isn’t really helping me to move in the direction I would like to. I keep preaching about peace; wanting peace… finding peace… How is that going to happen when I can’t escape these thoughts?
Everywhere I turn, I see him. I feel him. I want him here. I want to rewind the clock and go back a month and two weeks to the moment he just arrived and have a do-over. I tell myself, “if I could just go back in time, things would be different.” I would act differently, feel differently, think of him differently.
But we all know that isn’t the case. If I had the ability to go back, I would more than likely do, say and feel everything I did the first time all over again. Then I would have to mourn and rage and feel like I was dying all over again. I don’t want to do that to myself anymore. It’s exhausting to feel, and I imagine, it’s exhausting to read about, blog after blog. I try telling myself to be the Mathieu I project on this page, and then I slip into a haze where I don’t know how I’m ever going to pick up the pieces of my heart and move on.
I have been trying this method where every time I feel really depressed, I take out my journal and write down things that I am grateful for. It could be a person, a memory, an actual object. Whatever comes to mind, I write it down. Then I write an entry about what is going on inside of my head, you know, the thoughts I don’t post on here. My hope is one day, my list of things I’m grateful for continues to grow larger, and I’ll be able to look back at the journal entries with a sense of relief. That I was able to kick this shitty time of exaggerated emotions in my life to the curb!
While at the gate, I ended up noticing somebody. He was on the same flight I was. I noticed him walking while I was writing down what I was thankful for. He just caught my eye. He is so handsome: dark brown hair, brown eyes, athletic build. For a split-second, I forgot what I was writing down and just gazed at him. Our eyes locked for a moment, and I smiled, as I usually do when my eyes meet with another’s. He smiled and walked on. I noticed he was pacing back and forth, but I didn’t want to be that creeper that completely contorted his body like Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist, so I went back to my writing.
Long story short, after three delays with our flight over the span of two hours, it gets cancelled. I am on the phone booking my next flight when the assistant comes up to a bunch of us and tells us where we can go so we don’t have to stand in line. There were about 18 people in front of me, so I’m willing to take her instructions anywhere. As I’m walking out, he approaches me. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I just noticed how warm his smile was. Of course, this is my opportunity, so I grab it! I start conversing with him, flash my pearly whites and my goal is to not let him walk off without at least getting his name.
After we exchange names, we end up at the check-in counter for our airline, and the conversation continues. I notice he has an accent and ask where he’s from. He says, “Europe,” and I assume if he doesn’t want to specifically say where, that’s his prerogative. Hey, I get it. Times is crazy, y’all. You can’t be out there soliciting all your information so freely. He eventually comes back to the subject and says, “You never asked where in Europe I am from.” So I ask, and he tells me to guess.
“Well, do you speak another language?” I ask him.
“Yes, I do,” he replies.
“Okay, say something to me in your native language, and I will guess from there.” I mean, he doesn’t have discernable qualities about him that suggest he’s from anywhere in particular, at least, not to me. He tells me, “That would be very easy for you, then.”
I think for a minute and guess Spain. “Correct, you got it!” he says. What a relief. He then proceeds to tell me that many guess he’s Italian or French. As it turns out, I am on the next flight at nine-something and he is checking into a hotel with a voucher the airline gave him because he will fly out the next day. We decide to have dinner together at the airport since he and I both have time. We are recommended a place by a woman with ghost earrings who takes notice of and compliments my puzzle piece earrings. I trust her on that fact alone.
At dinner, I learn that my new friend is not only straight (damn), but married (double-damn) and has a child (for real, now?) In the end, however, we both shared some personal things about each other, talked about Europe and places we’ve traveled (of course, my list is rather small compared to his). Nevertheless, I find myself totally comfortable conversing with this man and it helps me to realize that things happen in your life with purpose. (I hate saying, “Things happen for a reason,” so I change the verbiage a touch.)
At dinner, we exchange numbers so we can keep in touch. After dinner, we say goodbye and I am off to catch my new flight bringing me in after 11 PM. I’m exhausted when we land, the airport is practically empty except for this couple in front of me on the escalator. They are hugging, kissing, holding hands, and I think, “That will be me one day. I wanted it, oh, a month ago, but another day will be good, too.” I get to my car, belt out an hour’s worth of songs pretending I can carry a tune, get home, wash my face, change clothes and go to bed.
I woke up this morning with a gnarly sore throat and my head feeling quite warm. I decided to sleep in as long as I could, which was only 10:15 AM, but hey, these days, that’s late for me! It wasn’t until this evening where I think everything finally hit me.
Yes, I’ve talked about being sad. I have discussed being angry. But even when N left the last day, I didn’t cry once he was out of sight. I cried all morning and afternoon leading up to him leaving. He even texted me when he was at his gate that he was with another woman who was crying, and they both ended up crying together. I told myself, “just make it to the car and then you can bawl. Just, let it out!” I never did.
I spoke to him through text right before he left, and I also talked to my friends and family who wanted me to call and check in. I was very rational and collected with what I was saying about his and my relationship. I was very hopeful, but not under any illusion that this was our happily ever after. I felt content in how we left things and excited to see what was to come. Through the ups and downs, we both had shared how we really felt about each other.
We were being real and honest, and like I’ve mentioned before, the memory I have of him at the airport that last day will be with me for the rest of my life. I have never had someone cry so much over me before. I had never cried over someone like that. It was truly wonderful and touching. He may not know it, but that was the moment I knew I would always hold him near and dear to my heart regardless of what happened to us in the future. Even now, I’ll forever be thankful for our time together.
Once N returned home, things still went well for me. No tears fell though I did have trouble coming home and not seeing his suitcase in my room. It took me a while to face the side of my bed where he lay (which was particularly challenging since I got two new piercings in both ears and need to switch up my positions). And even when we had our falling out, I choked up and asked him to listen to me and to look at me through FaceTime, and while pleading with him, sad beyond belief, tears did not fall.
The moment I felt we truly said goodbye, we hung up and my stomach immediately plunged. I panicked and laid on the floor, kickick and crying out, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I called probably nine friends, none of which picked up until the 10th call. My mind was running in circles. This was it. We said goodbye. Whatever we had was gone. Our relationship as we knew it, over. Yet, I still could not cry.
Not until tonight, that is. Tonight was my night to really let it out. I grabbed the box I have with all of the physical memories left from our trip, opened it and looked through the contents. Pictures of us together, notes written to each other, promises, even a journal entry I wrote to him after the goodbye letter that I intended for him to read in the future so that he knew I wasn’t giving up; I was just hurt and wanted some distance between us so we could both grow.
All of these belongings are in this box of these platform shoes he had me purchase from Amazon while he was here (and yes, he paid for them). I have a similar box from my trip to Japan. I kept my journal from that time in; all my receipts, pictures, whatever came from that time is in there. I don’t look in the Japan box often, but when I do, I find myself remembering things of the past I had forgotten. Maybe one day, I’ll do the same with N’s box. Or maybe, I’ll do what I did tonight and remind myself how beautiful some of our memories together were.
I didn’t think one negative thought when I looked at the items. I smelled the shirt he left for me, and it still smells like him. I read these lovely notes he hid around my house the day he was leaving. I looked at our photos together I had printed, both of us with the same set. There’s a shot from our time in the Smokies where I wrote in the guestbook about our trip. I left that there for whomever else goes to that cabin to read, but I really wanted to just remember how I felt in those moments with him. I saw us together. I saw him alone, with those beautiful brown eyes and sweet smile I fell for in the beginning. I finally felt a sense of peace I hadn’t felt yet.
I saw this scene in a show tonight where two characters kissed. It makes me miss kissing his lips. It makes me miss how the first time I kissed him over two years ago, I was so nervous to do it. He even told me that kissing on the lips isn’t a big deal to him, really. At the time, I was just smitten with him. But when I kissed him while he was here last month, it was the first time I had ever been so in love with someone that it felt beyond magical for me. I knew at that moment that I always wanted to feel that way when I kissed someone in the future, and obviously, I wanted that person to be him.
I am so unbelievably happy about my experience with N now. I feel a sense of movement happening in me where I won’t dread when someone asks me, “How are you, really?” My first thoughts were usually, “How do you think I am, dipshit? Heartbroken,” but only, “I’m doing well, thanks,” would be muttered. Now, I can see that I can have these feelings all over again in due time. With the right person at the right time, I will find someone who gives me those butterflies. I will find someone who tells me he loves me and know it’s true. I will find someone who wants to travel the world with me. I will kiss the lips of someone and feel like it’s the first time I’ve ever been in love all over again. I will grow and learn with him, and he with me. It will be such an experience.
Shedding those tears tonight was a sign. I am ready to stop attaching every moment of every day to memories. Instead, I’m here in the now, and I want to be present. I’m really excited about where my life is headed once again. I’m taking it slow, but for God’s sakes, mourning time is over. Time to be happy again!
Goodbye, doom and gloom! Mathieu is coming back!