Saturday, August 26, 2017

Blink Of An Eye

Before I begin, I should mention the first two entries in this, my favorite story to tell.
The links are here:  Part 1  Part 2

Alas.  The good stuff.

The first stage of our growing friendship was clearly rooted in commonality.  The comfort yielded by so much balance in conversation, seemed to unexpectedly pull at some way down strings.  I soon discovered an increasing emotional response from otherwise surface level topics.  Her energy for the passions in her life amazed me.  To capture the value of an experience, while still surrounded by it, is something beautiful.  I believe most people aren't fully able to appreciate the significance of an event until it's already passed.  She possessed this awesome kind of intellect that drove her to soak in the today with clear vision and a healthy dose of affection for the little pleasures in life.

Her brand of optimism was very foreign to me.  It was different than blind fantasy or wishful dreaming.  Hers was much more about the embrace.  A good friend told me once that people generally respond to hard times and mistakes in one of two ways:  They'll either buckle down and work harder, or never work that hard again.  As it turns out, I've got a real weakness for resolve.  We had talked and talked and talked about many things work and school and kids and fun.  Every word seemed to fan the flames.

I was born with a particular tendency to purge whatever stirs inside me, to open atmosphere.  I can't help it.  I feel like thoughts and emotions need oxygen to thrive and it's on me to release them from captivity.  What is the benefit of so much feeling for another, if trapped behind the walls of communication?  Alas.  The more I learned of her own story, the more the words began to push against the wall.  I'm not one to fight it, so I finally just exhaled and opened the box.  It read something like this:

"You know what, I'll just say it.  And I have this funny kind of nervous feeling saying it, and I don't know why.  You are a beautiful person, inside and out.  And me, I barely know you outside a week's worth of tet messages.  (Literally about a week)  I have lived my entire life inspired by nearly no one.  I admire lots of great people past and present, but I always felt that, drive and motivation must come entirely from within.  And I made it this far in life seeing no flaw in that mentality.  ...  But you. You are truly something different.  And I admire you."

Nervousness quickly gave way to relief.  The exhale felt as good as I knew it would.  And now, I could breathe her in.  That was the real reward.  Now I wouldn't only weave around this growing circle of attraction.  Though, I do enjoy the dance.  Again, the pace of conversation quickened.  I soon gained a new appreciation for the synergistic nature of so many forms of attraction.  The lines blur and I feel them all at once.  I can't separate intellectual and physical magnetism. Even if I could, I wouldn't.  This is how nature intends.  Love doesn't follow flow charts.

To that point, our entire interaction had existed within the confines of text.  Though even so, we traveled a thousand miles together in what felt like the blink of an eye.  It occurred to me how the limits of time and distance had facilitated a unique kind of affection.  I felt like I knew so much more about her in a matter of weeks.  And she knew me.  The space allowed us to explore each other's minds in ways convention only serves to restrict.  Granted, a seven hundred mile distance between two souls wouldn't be a first choice.  But the resulting depth of attraction made it worth everything.  After all, we are all a product of our environment.  If the environment were different, even geographically, would we have connected in such a meaningful way?  I didn't care to find out.  I had arrived at a safe location emotionally and was learning to surrender my traditional notion of what made sense and didn't.  Because what I began to feel in my chest made perfect sense.  Circumstance be damned.  Desire has a way of empowering one to bend the world at his will.  I felt unafraid to step outside my comfort zone to pursue something so wholesome.

Talked a lot.  Shared pictures and mementos from work.  She was beautiful.  All of her.  I wanted to see her.  Hold her hand.  Walk with her.  Kiss her face.  Hell or high water.  Once the thought entered my mind, it never left.  This was worth it.  She was worth overcoming the logistics of time and space and bridging the gap.  Plane, train, car.  Whatever.  The thought of even a weekend with her was enough to move the earth and make it happen.  The thought of a face to face meeting was like jet fuel in my veins.  I could hardly focus on placing one foot in front of the other.  The next time we spoke, I asked her if she would like to spend the weekend with me.  I explained how I had accumulated more than enough frequent flyer miles on a credit card, and seeing her would be a great reason to use them.  I had religiously saved them for over a year and thought of all sorts of wild adventures I might cash them in for.  At this exact moment, I was glad I'd kept them on the shelf all along.

She immediately said she'd come to see me.  "Holy shit," I thought.  I don't think it even occurred to me that my crazy idea could be a real thing.  A woman with whom I'd grown remarkably close to in a matter of weeks, would travel seven hundred miles to see me.  Jake Welch.  Then I thought, "Holy shit," again.  Because, what?  A couple weeks?  Was that it?  I recounted a hundred conversations in my mind, and twice as many moments where I felt the gap between oceans and mountains inch a little closer. My mind exploded in a thousand directions at once. 

Nights and days came to pass as we counted down time.  The thrill of anticipation was electric.  I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, every day.  I felt like this kind of thing only happens in movies.  This couldn't be real life.  It began as a perfectly timed introduction to someone who seemed to understand me in a way I'd not yet experienced in my life.  The following days and weeks had facilitated the rebirth of a part of me not exposed to light in a very long time.  I only needed direction and she helped me find it.  And things became a blur.  My heart would pound out of my chest so hard sometimes I couldn't help look around to see if someone in the room might hear it.  And now, we would transcend imagination and meet face to face.

My hands shake just so, sitting at this desk, as I've finally arrived at the point of this story I've been thinking about since it began.  And now that I'm here, I can barely focus enough to continue writing.  My brain is everywhere at once.  But mostly, it is with her.  I can't blow it now so I'll keep going. PHEW.

  After a painfully long travel day full of canceled and re-booked flights, delays and a detour, I met the girl who'd not left my mind for what felt like a lifetime.  ...In Boston Logan Airport, at 12:45 am.  At the bottom of the escalator.  We were on the phone since her plane landed, trying to figure out where each of us were located in relation to the other.  I paced nervously between the two exits I thought she would be walking through any second.  Though, as it turned out, I was on the wrong floor anyway.  Once I realized she was below me, I headed down the stairs.  She was standing at the bottom.  I don't even have the words.  There weren't any words.  Then, and now.

I just wrapped her up in my arms.  It was the greatest feeling and sitting here writing about it now, I'm still swimming in it.  I didn't want to let go.  Neither did she.  But we were in the middle of the walkway at the bottom of the escalator so we had to move.  I picked her up and set her down beside the stairs.  Couldn't let go.  I thought of everything and nothing at all.  I remembered every spoken word every said to each other since the first, and not a single one of them.  Either way, if I had even one shred of control over my central nervous system, it all flew away with the first kiss that changed my entire life.  I'll never forget it because I'm still there.  It was perfect.  Every up and down I could recall, preceding that moment, now obtained a greater purpose.  I was grateful for all my failures and every lesson learned if they contributed to her kiss at the airport.  It was worth everything.

I remember pounding away in an engine room pouring over what it would be like.  How her face would feel on my finger tips and the way her eyes would control my breathing.  Until that moment, the best I could do was run away in my mind.  I wrote the little piece below, weeks before I picked her up in Boston.  It was one of the first things I thought of, standing there, immersed.  And since I can't possibly apply the focus to continue, I'm going to leave it right here.

I live for the long talks that hardly dissipate for hours beyond the last spoken word.  The ones where you wake up in the morning, feelings as though they ended only a moment before.  Saturated, in a lingering comfort borne of no more than the right words at the right time, and the canvas they've painted to remind you.
Every once in a lifetime or so, with a little help from forces unknown, you might just cross paths with another who hears all the words you needn't say; fills blank spaces with a certain clarity.  Someone out there is your emotional thesaurus.
I live for the sensations I can't describe; the reason my hands shake just so, and the air leaves my lungs in an umistakable flutter; for the moments that teach me a new language of feeling, because you only know what you know, at any given moment.  Until of course, you learn something mroe.  Maybe you turn a corner one day and see a new door, waiting to open.  You've seenit before and walked past, but not today.  Who knows why today's curiosity prevails, when other days it simply decorated your peripheral like the storefronts and streetlights along the way
Maybe you'd have opened the same door a thousand times before and seen nothing. But today you see everything. Sometimes we aren't ready to embrace the full weight of an opportunity until it happens at the right time.
For all the stuff no vessel can contain, no words can interpret; for the deepest rooted sensations and the hair that stands on end, I swoon.

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