|Ignoring that danglin' preposition, I thought I'd post something I wrote in an email to a friend. The experience related to something about which we had been talking. Sometimes, when I can think about my past with this kind of clarity, I feel proud of myself and the woman I am constantly becoming.
I remember the first time Ben and I met after, well, at least 3 years of talking. I picked him up at the airport. I don’t think I’d ever been so nervous in my entire life. I felt like I knew him inside out already, but what if I couldn’t recognize him as he came out of the gate (this was pre-9/11 and you could stand right at the gate). I think he was the last person to come out of the airplane. But I would have known him anywhere. He was my Ben. He was wearing a black fleece shirt and he smelled like he’d been on an airplane for six hours. We didn’t immediately kiss, but we grabbed each other’s hands. I remember I just leaned against him for a second, like I was trying to prove to myself that he was real. We walked out of the airport holding hands, we didn’t really talk much. I think we were both in shock at finally being able to touch. Who needed to talk? As we were loading his things into my car I said, I dare you to ride on that cart (the luggage carts that you have to pay for at the airport). And so he plunked his tired body down on it and rode it down the hill in the parking garage. I knew then that I would love him.
I say a lot of bad things about him. But he’s a part of me. A lot of him made me who I am today. He did some wonderful things for me and with me. He was always gentle and complimentary of my body. If I knew that he was going to break my heart…well, I still don’t know the answer to that question. But life is what it is. He wasn't my novel; but he makes up quite a few chapters, and that's OK too.