West of Buffalo
I chronicled the courtship of a not-so-young man and beautiful Colombian woman by way of California who lived out the plot of one of those Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy movies during a day in the Hub. At least I assume it was kind of like one of those movies, even though the last Ethan Hawke movie I saw was Training Day. It really wasn't like Training Day, unless you consider me to have the smoldering sexuality of Denzel Washington on top of the puppy dog eyes of Ethan Hawke. And with less shooting of gang members.
And since that time, I'm sure most of you who come here by the way of the Facebook are just thrilled to itty bitty pieces by the cutesie wutsie banter and smoldering cyber glances between myself and previously mentioned beautiful Miss Leslie. I kind of apologize for that without really apologizing. After all, it is a huge jump to take for the former kid who used to cover up his bedroom walls with the largest Joy Division posters he could find. Like, Love Will Tear Us Apart, man.
But between that magical day and the current state of jetting back and forth from coast to coast and plans of a future with something more, there were the bittersweet couple of days, when mostly I was thinking -
What the hell is going to happen next?
That Sunday when I drove Leslie to Logan Airport, after passing Tewksbury, and getting the requisite giggles over seeing the word Tewksbury, I was kind of quiet. Not shocking, really, for anyone who knows me, but this was a different quiet. Mostly, my quiet comes from a place where my mind just kind of hums along, nothing to see here. This time my mind was buzzing, driving over the Zakim Bridge, holding Leslie's hand as I pretty much had been doing for the past four days, not wanting to let go, but knowing the airport was coming closer and closer. The one damn day I actually wanted there to be traffic in the city and I was zipping along with hardly another car in site.
Feeling a little twitch in the back of my throat, a little moistness in the corner of my eyes. Couple words kept repeating in my head, louder and louder.
Stay. Don't Go. Come Back. Come Live Here.
I knew Leslie had fallen in love with Boston. As for what she felt for me, well, it seemed a little nuts but I thought I had an idea.
But sometimes my nobility gets the best of me. I couldn't shout it. Leslie has a life 3,000 miles away, I thought, family, a job, 3000 miles away. We talked about meeting in Las Vegas. Her coming back. Me visiting there.
I didn't know what to think.
I've never been further west than Buffalo.
I know people travel all over the country all the time like it's no big deal. But that's never been me. For over 40 years, the thought of even visiting the west coast seemed only slightly less realistic than taking a covered wagon to the Moon.
Almost at the airport, I mutter something like, "well, you know, we had the most wonderful, magical long weekend ever, we will always have that." Because we did, and I had no idea when it would ever happen again. Later, I found out the Leslie thought this might have been something I said because I didn't have that much of an intention of seeing her anytime soon.
That's not what I meant at all.
We get to the airport, I pull up to the curb and I help Leslie get out her bag (still amazed she made it to Boston with only one bag and two pairs of shoes, I was warned to never expect this again). I hug her on the sidewalk, I give it everything I have. For the first time, I think she can tell the silence isn't because I'm looking to dump her off to head home so I can get home and watch the ballgame. Tears come. I choke up. Her eyes start to leak. I hold her tighter.
I think she starts to get it. I leave, she texts that she is crying as I am on the road. Apparently they are playing Danny Boy in the airport. What the hell kind of a sick sadist plays Danny Boy as people are leaving loved ones at the airport. Remind me to write a strongly worded letter to the Airport Authority.
I get home. Through the magic of science, Leslie and I Facebook message during her entire flight home. god, I missed her already. There are seeds of her wanting to be here, like to live and such. I would like that too, I think, but don't let it sink in that it could be a thing that really happens.
The next day, Leslie is back at work. She tells me it is on. Before talking to anyone else (sorry Breton family) she tells me it is on. She is in love with Boston. This is where she is meant to be. And I am in Boston. Or close enough for 3,000 miles away.
I want this, but tell her to make sure she thinks this through, her job, her family, her friends, etc. Sometimes I tend to be noble in spite of what I really want. And what I really want is Leslie next to me.
And then things start to happen. I know there are still more things that have to happen, but a dream starts to resemble something more like a plan. Leslie is coming for New Year's. It still seems far away.
Then one day I discover I will be going to California. On a plane, not a covered moon wagon.
I've never been further west than Buffalo.
Thursday, that changes.