How many times had I imagined this moment? Too many to count. So many months had passed. Thousands of messages exchanged. Cherished phone calls where our voices gave life to the words that ran through our heads all day. But to lay eyes on one another at last? That was a day long in waiting but anticipated with racing hearts.
There were many nights where I laid awake, different scenarios playing out in my imagination. A quiet knock on the door. Me opening it to find her standing there, smiling at me. She would reach out and grab my hand, pulling me towards her while her other arm quickly wrapped itself around my waist.
In another, I would drive across the country to surprise her. As I pull up to her house, I would see her standing in the kitchen window. Before I even open the car door, she’s running out to meet me. We collide in the middle of the driveway, a tangle of legs and arms that have no desire to separate.
My imagination has done a good job of keeping me occupied, keeping me sane. Before I met her, my imagination took me away from the hell that I was living in. Life with a woman who could tear you down with her words and laugh while she was doing it. I used my imagination to escape my prison. I imagined meeting a woman who would love me and be kind. Who would appreciate all that I had to offer. Who would make me feel alive again. After four years of existing in the land of the living dead, I was finally free. And that’s when I met her.
Lucy was a goddess to me. Smart, beautiful, funny, kind. She got through my normal defenses before I even had a chance to blink. I was completely enthralled by her. Who was I kidding? I was completely and totally in love. All I wanted now was a life with her. The pain I had endured in my last relationship no longer mattered. I was still scared as hell at times, but when I thought about sitting next to Lucy, watching the sun set, all the fear and doubts disappeared.
Now, I stood waiting. Waiting to finally see her. To touch her hand. To look into her eyes. To feel her lips. The airport had a frenzy that day that matched my heart. People rushing by to make their flights or pick up their luggage, while I stood near the bottom of the escalator, waiting. I wanted to meet her at the gate, but ever since 9/11 nobody without a ticket was allowed past luggage claim.
I checked my watch, then the flight statuses on the screens ahead of me. Her flight was at the gate. Any minute now, she’d be coming down that escalator. Shuffling on my feet as I waited, I kept my eyes ahead. Small crowds formed ahead of the escalator, which would make it harder for her to see me. I carefully weaved my way through the crowd, never taking my eyes off the place of her entrance.
There she was. I felt my face flush and my pulse quicken as I saw my love descending towards me. A smile broke out across my face as I watched her. She was scanning the crowd below, but hadn’t yet seen me. I walked closer to her and that’s when she saw me. Our eyes locked and her cheeks blushed. She gave me a coy smile as we both waited for her to reach the bottom.
What was merely seconds seemed like hours. I continued to walk towards her to shorten the distance between us. When she was finally off the escalator, I practically ran to her. We wrapped our arms around each other in an embrace neither of us wanted to break. Holding her felt like nothing I had ever imagined. I pulled back just enough to look into those beautiful, brown eyes.
“You ready?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I said.
Arm in arm, we walked off into our future.