“October will be here before you know it.”
He whispered in my ear as I stood there with my arms wrapped around him in the street. begging myself not to cry. We had spent the night knowing that this moment for goodbyes would come and yet, in this moment, I felt completely unprepared for it.
“Everything will be alright.”
His voice calmed me and I knew he was just as hesitant to let me go as I was to actually get in my car and drive away. We had pushed the night as long as it would go; I hadn’t packed a thing and he had tons of work to do; and yet dinner had turned into dessert, a random trip to Ross, beers, and then coffee. All leading up to the goodbye — sitting parked outside his apartment just long enough to realize it was 1am.
“I know.” I said warmly. I felt weak in the knees, and my breathing had started to become shallow and hard to come by from the moment we arrived at our drop off location. I kept taking slow, deep breaths trying to grasp that sooner or later he’d need to say goodnight. I just hadn’t accepted that later would be so soon. It wasn’t ever meant to get this far. We had entered into it with few expectations because neither of was looking to jump in to a relationship and further still I was moving out of state and a long distance romance was more than either of us had bargained for. But as days turned into weeks and early June turned to late July our connection only grew stronger despite our efforts to the contrary. We talked about visiting each other over the fall but decided to forgo any labels or classification of what we were only to realize we didn’t need one because we were crazy about one another.
He lifted my chin to kiss me again and I pressed into him hard soaking in every sensation as we leaned against my pick up truck. We laughed about how it felt like the beginning of a country song and the summer night breeze rolling through only highlighted the point. I was scared of missing him and he was nervous about disappointing me. Both of us admitted that while we’d be fine if the other one dated other people, we acknowledged that it would sting a little if we found happiness with someone else. I told him that I wasn’t going to be looking for love while I was away, that I was more interested in dating myself so that when, and if the time came for us to get more serious came, I’d be ready. More importantly I lamented over the fact that right now he made me happy and I was okay with the way things were, I didn’t need anything past that.
“I …” My voice trailed off as I searched for the words to articulate how bittersweet this moment felt for me. I was happy and sad all at the same time. I desperately wanted this part to be over and to skip to the part where I wasn’t consumed with thoughts of him. I knew intuitively that I would try to keep myself busy with work, and new adventures, and yoga, and writing because I wouldn’t be able to call him and say, “do you wanna grab dinner tonight?” and have it happen. I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep busy forever, eventually I’d have to slow down long enough to realize that I’d be longing for him – for this, until we met again.
“What are you thinking?” I managed to choke out instead. It was a cliche girl question to ask but I was stalling, and hoping he’d answer me with something that would make me smile so that I wouldn’t start crying on the spot.
“Nothing.” He replied with a grin. I squeezed his hand as I began to pull away. I was satisfied with his response because I knew in this moment he was totally and completely here with me and nothing else mattered. His ability to appreciate being in the present made me feel in awe of him all over again and without even trying he had pulled me into the moment with him and I savored it.
“I’ll see you soon.” I said as I finally left his embrace to get into the car.
“You will.” He responded turning to walk away.
It didn’t feel like goodbye, it felt like it was the start of something new, which in the end made leaving easier because I trusted that it was true. Our summer romance was a collection of vignettes that unfolded over sprawling sunshine and late night conversations, but as I drove away the first chapter in the story of us was really just beginning.