It has been more then twenty years since I had seen her but my mind was racing. My stomach was getting queasy, not from the plane ride but the butterflies squirming to escape. Questions pierced every corner of my mind. Would she even recognize me? Would she greet me with open arms or with one of those looks from the corner of her eye, you know...the looks only women can give you? Was I wasting my time? Her face was etched in my thoughts? What I wanted to do was carving its own designs in my fantasies. I was asking myself what the hell was taking this plane so long to get on the ground when the pilots obligatory "prepare for arrival" message came blaring across the speakers. It jarred me into the here and now, opened my eyes that all would be revealed shortly. It was supposed to be a nice day in Nashville...at least where the weather was concerned. How my day would turn out was still to be determined.
She was coming to pick me up. We talked about it online a bit. I just bought the tickets and made the leap. The next time we found ourselves in the chat room, we ribbed each other, teased and did the whole online flirting thing. She made some comment about "if you were only here" and the opportunity presented itself and I couldn't resist. I simply typed out "I'll be there Thursday." My phone rang almost before it showed up in my text box. The only thing I heard on the other end of the line was "are you serious?" I was smiling from ear to ear and replied "yes...or I just wasted $400" The silence after that was a bit scary....you know....the typical 'Oh Shit' thoughts started wandering. I was just tired of typing and figured I really didn't have anything to lose. Everything would be pretty clear in about 10 minutes....I just gripped the armrest on my chair and whispered to myself, "Here we go."
It was just sheer coincidence that we found each other again... and of all places... Facebook. We reconnected, chatting and catching up. We were both divorced, his more recent then mine, had kids and so on. We viewed each other's pictures and he hadn't changed much in the 20 plus years since I had seen him last. He still had those piercing eyes. When we first started talking, all the memories came flooding back. The nights we sat on my porch, the walks we would take, the things we would talk about. I wondered how much of it he really did remember.
When we would chat, we would flirt and tease each other. I happened to comment, one night..." if you were only here" and got the shock of my life with his "I'll be there Thursday." I called him immediately, honestly thinking he was teasing me. I was speechless... thoughts running through my head. OMG what was I going to do? What if he did not like what he saw? Would he still expect me to be the 18 year old he knew? 22 years is a long time. I agreed to pick him up at the airport. I had tried on so many outfits, searching for just the right one. Would he look at me and turn right around and get a return ticket? Would he paste a smile on and tough it out?
I had shared a few details about who I was now with him. I had changed over the years. I was no longer the shy girl he once knew and I could not help but wonder if that made a difference. I looked at the plane schedule and saw that it had landed. I was fixing to get the answers to my thoughts.
The wheels of the plane touched down and I could feel every sphincter tighten. "Oh shit...Oh shit" it's time...and in just a few minutes I would be pulling up to the gates. I thought feelings were just feelings and went away with time.....I was so wrong. Everything came rushing back. They way she made me feel. The affection she heaped on me. The smiles I felt from within were coming back as strong as if it were yesterday. What an eye opener. "Really...is all I could think". When you have loved someone...the feeling never really dies....merely is subdued with the sands of time. When the situation presents itself...the hourglass is shattered and the sands flow freely to the floor leaving nothing hidden. My heart was pounding, palms sweaty and stomach was making me feel ill. It was like I was 20 years old again and I feelings I had when I saw her then were all back with a vengeance. Where the hell was that life lesson....believe me...I was taking notes now and paying attention.
We pulled up to the gate and the typical scurrying began. People were scurrying around grabbing their carry-on's and I was stuck in my seat. "Oh Shit...Oh Shit" and the what if's started to flood my mind. What if she was not here. It would be my luck....and deservedly so. Holy hell...what if she was feeling the same way I was? My grip on the arm rest tightened...it was time to see where things were going to land...."no expectations I whispered to myself....no expectations." I grabbed my bag and walked off the plane unencumbered by the earlier hoard.
I walked off the plane with a confident stride, at least in my own mind. She would be waiting in baggage claim if anywhere...I'm not sure if I slowed down or sped up. I'm sure I followed the signs but felt like I was on autopilot. My eyes caught her as I walked through the last little passage. My heart skipped a beat. She hadn't caught me yet so I was able to take it all in. She was standing there waiting...unravaged by time as beautiful as I could remember. I felt my blood pressure rise and my face flush. She was here. She came. She...after so many years came to pick me up. She was beautiful. She was glowing and I simply couldn't restrain myself....I quietly made a direct line to her while shouldering my bag.
"Hey You" is all I could mutter as I took her face into my hands. "Thank you" is what came next as I first kissed her softly....feeling her lips with mine. I tasted her lips with another soft kiss. The memories flowing forward as I tightened my hold on her face just so slightly pulling a bit of her hair.....kissing her deeply, feeling our tongues meet in a joyous reunion. I didn't want to stop. I didn't care who was watching. Nothing else existed at that moment but her and this kiss. The kiss that was supposed to tell her I was sorry, I was wrong and I missed her and her being here now made me feel like the luckiest man on the planet. I continued the kiss...pulling her closer to me...I wanted to feel her heart beat.
The butterflies in my stomach would not stop. Since the moment he said he was coming, everything flooded my thoughts. The nights spent sitting on my porch, our talks, shared brief kisses... but most of all, our last night together. He was my high school first love, at least in my thoughts. OMG I even joined JROTC just to be with him. However, by the time the new school year had rolled around, we were no longer together. So class was hell. Every time he did inspection, I wanted so much to tell him how sorry I was, that I missed him, but my stubbornness won every time.
He graduated that year and joined the military. I did not think I would ever see him again, but he came back after boot camp. Those few short days were just like back when. It was the summer before my senior year and I was dating' a soldier. I was an Army brat myself and never considered myself a military girl, but I would have, for him. His last night home, I lied to my mom and said I was spending the night at a friend's house. He got us a room at the Ramada off of Riverside Drive.
I bought my first lingerie and was as nervous as I am now. That night was everything I had thought about and more. Damn... but I still compare men to him. The next morning I went home and waited. He was leaving that day and was going to come see me before he left. I waited under a tree in our front yard, all day, but he never showed. We exchanged a few letters and those drifted away.
He was here. The passengers were disembarking the plane. My palms were sweaty, my knees weak. I was in the baggage claim, by the windows, away from the crowd. I glanced at every face. My heart was sinking as most of the passengers gathered around the carousel, claiming their bags. The next instance, I hear a Hey you' and feel his hands on my face. A Thank you' as I looked into his eyes and our lips touched. One small brief kiss, then another... his hands tightened on my face as we deepened the kiss. My nails gripped his arms as our tongues intertwined. He pulled me closer, I stepped closer still and wound my arms around his waist. Hands flat against his back, wanting to be closer still. It did not matter where we were or who was watching... he was here, in my arms. I kissed him saying I was sorry, I was wrong and that I missed him. I whimpered and we broke the kiss. Both breathing heavily and still holding tight to each other. I rested my forehead against his and whispered, Hey you.'