I sat outside my favorite coffee spot this morning awaiting his arrival. I didn’t eat breakfast, afraid nerves may get the best of me and induce physical vomiting in addition to the emotional I anticipated, so my stomach growled a bit as I watched cars pass, wondering if one might be his. Wondering if perhaps he drove by the shop, saw me sitting outside and chose to continue driving, back home, back to his life, back to the safe place that is away from my eyes, and my words. I text him “I’m out front” more out of sheer anxiety than anything, I felt shaky as I typed the 10 letters, hesitating on the send button. If I press this than he will know I’m here, he will know I’m outside, that I’ve made good on my word, and I really do want to see him. If I sit here, and let fate decide whether or not he finds me, then there is the chance that I can continue holding on to this feeling of disgust, the feeling of self-loathing I’ve been carrying for the past four and a half years. A chance I may remain comfortably uncomfortable with my self, which would allow for continued fantasies of accidental meetings on sidewalks or restaurants, it would allow me to continue the dialogue I’ve created in my head. The conversation I’ve planned on having with him since April 6th, 2009, the admission of guilt, his hateful response (one I’ve told myself he would spew at me over and over since I left him standing on my porch all those years ago), my awkward inability to say anything that would make him see me in a new light, as a new and recovering woman. As a woman worth forgiving.
He came around the corner, and I stood. There was a pause as we tried to believe, is what we are seeing true? Is he really standing here? In front of me? Can I touch him? Can I hug him? Will I wake up if I wrap my arms around his neck and cry? How to proceed when seeing someone you loved after years of hating yourself for things that cannot be undone. How do I open this can of worms, if it’s never been closed?
So I hugged him. I wrapped my arms around his body and he smelled the same, he smelled clean and fresh, and felt like I’d just been with him yesterday. I was afraid to let him go, afraid that if I did, that would be it, or that he wouldn’t have been hugging me back. But his arms were around me, just as tight, and in that moment, I thanked the heavens above that he’d given me this chance.
I told him everything I’ve been running through in my mind since becoming Jennie again, I told him how selfish I was and how wrong I treated him, and how wonderful and kind he’s always been. I cried when I looked in his eyes because I saw myself, I saw every moment I’d missed by running away from him. By lying to him. When he asked me why I didn’t tell him I’d started doing hardcore, I was honest: “I didn’t want to hurt you. I was selfish. Arrogant. I sabotage everything good in my life, and I felt so close to you I didn’t know what to do. You are the closest thing to intimacy I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t look you in the eye.”
We sat at that coffee shop and held hands. I cried and he brushed my tears away. We laughed and I touched his face. I didn’t realize just how much I’d loved him until I sat there, until I realized that his hands were exactly the same as I remember them, strong, soft hands of a man that works hard, but keeps his life and his home clean. I’d spent so much time looking at his fingers laced between mine, I’ve each crease and hair locked in my memory of him, I know those hands by heart. I know his face by heart. The way his fluffy hair falls, the sad smile when I’ve disappointed him, the way he leans back to laugh. I know this man, and even though all this time has passed, every feeling I had for him remains, and I feel like it’s the first time I touched him all over again.
The time to leave came and he walked me home. I showed him my walls covered in artwork, introduced him to Saucy, he said hello to kitty (they go way back). I threw my arms around his neck, buried my face into his shoulder, stood on my tiptoes and pressed myself into him. He had said he’d gone through waves of hating and loving me, and that he was glad all this time had passed. I told him I was glad he’d come today, glad that I could stand there looking into his smile. We walked Saucy and parted on a corner near my home and after another embrace, and we started walking away from each other, I turned around just to make sure it really is him walking away.
And it was him. The same kind hearted, compassionate gentleman he’s always been. The caring and selfless individual I met at 18 now grown and well on his way in life. The same walk. The same eyes. The same hands.