Our Story from Start to Beyond the Grave: Don’t Think of it as Goodbye (8)

As promised the sun rose once again, unfortunately time stands still for no man. It was Sunday, October 6th. We woke up in each other’s arms, just as we had fallen asleep the night before. Had we even moved during the night? It was apparent that he didn’t want to let each other go, even in our slumber. There was no alarm to wake us up.  There was no need for my love to rush off to work as he had Sunday’s off. Not intentionally, I had planned the day for my departure perfectly. If I had to leave, we could at least spend our last day together with no interruptions.

Jace*—- did not linger in bed that morning. He was up and about getting ready to take me to breakfast. His plans included taking me on a journey down memory lane in the town that had been where he grew up. His demeanor almost seemed like he felt a little awkward. Perhaps he didn’t know how to handle the emotions that we were both feeling that day. Myself, I was putting on a façade, trying to be cheerful and keeping my tears at bay. This day almost felt like a cruel joke to me. It felt as if happiness, the most amazing love I had ever experienced was being dangled in front of me like a carrot, if only to say, “it’s just out of your reach.”

I got dressed and off we went to a local Mom and Pop’s diner for breakfast. The gentleman he was, he took my hand and led me through the door to our table. For the first time since we had been together, Jace*—-did not sit across from me at the table. He moved into the booth and sat right beside me. This would become a regular routine and was so endearing to me. The food we ordered along with a cup of coffee came all too quickly.  I wished to savor this moment, next to him, forever. Breakfast was tasty, but I ate very little as I had lost my appetite due to the depression that came on all too quickly.

As we left the restaurant, Jace*—- walked me to my side of the truck, where he opened the door, gave me a kiss and helped me to get seated. He got in on the other side and put his keys into the ignition. As the car started, he put his arms on top of the steering wheel and glared through the windshield. I could see that he had something on his mind. I had come to learn that when Jace*—- had to think something through or was not certain how to present a thought to me, he would pause and contemplate how to proceed with what he wanted to say. Based on his behavior that day, it was obvious that he was having difficulty with my leaving as well. I knew that he sensed that I too, was suffering with it. Consequently, we danced around the subject, almost afraid of what would be the end result if were to speak about it.

He released a deep sigh, and said, “You know how I love to share my stories with you so I’ve decided it might be fun to take you to a few of the places that were part of my many adventures.” His stories always made me laugh. Jace*—- was always very animated in telling his tales, he was extremely mischievous and pushed the envelope to the very edge. For me, it was just one of the things I loved about him. So, in a way, it might be a welcome relief from the inevitable goodbye we had to face that day.  

So away we went… The first stop was the High School he attended. We drove around the whole campus, coming up to the football field. Jace*—- stopped at the gate, where he pointed to the track, “you remember Cindy, how I told you that I ran cross country.  This is where we would exit the field every day for our run.” He drove a little further down the street into the housing track that surrounded the school and continued his story, “my friend would wait to pick me up here where we would then drive around, go smoke a cigarette and drink a soda.” Jace*—- continued the tour, driving to yet another location on a main street near the school, “my friend would drop me off here and I’d run back into the school as if I had been running the whole distance. My coach was waiting in his car one afternoon, close to where my friend would drop me off. So, he called me over to the car. It was that moment, I was busted and kicked off the team.  Although I really didn’t much care,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “I would much rather have been hanging out with my friends anyway.”

The next location was the small three-unit apartment building where he lived temporarily during a break up with his ex-girlfriend. The one previous to our relationship. It was during this time; he took taking college classes for his BA and   met his good friend and cohort, a partner in his shenanigans if you will. He called her Tweeter although her given name was Julie.  

Tweeter was at his “pad” one night, when his crazy ex, Doreen, drove by.  She was checking up on his whereabouts and scoping who he was hanging out with. Doreen was jealous, and did not like Tweeter. These feelings were unfounded as Tweeter was happily married and her and Jace*— were just very good friends. Doreen realized the Tweeter was there and went into a rage. Making their great escape, Jace*—- and Tweeter jumped into her car located in the back-parking area behind his apartment. He chuckled as he described how she backed out her car in the extremely narrow, long driveway perfectly and they were on the run. They managed to get away and avoid her for the rest of the evening. He often would marvel at how well she was able to back out of there.

Driving into another neighborhood, he slowly passed by a house, telling me that this was the house he and Doreen had shared. Later I found out that they had bought it together and he gave it to her when they parted ways.

Time was growing close to when I would have to leave so we headed back to the Motel. We walked into the room with the door barely closed, when Jace*—- took me into his arms. His kisses where deep and they swept me away to a place that I didn’t want to leave. Passion over took us and we once again made love. It was magic, intense, like a need that had to be fulfilled. I was happy that we made that time for each other, it was something we both needed and wanted to badly. It was the perfect final embrace to leave with. We hurriedly got dressed.  He took my suitcase out to the car and we started on our short ride to the airport. I was trying to hold it together but as soon as we walked into the airport the flood gates were open.  There was just no holding back the tears I had kept inside all day. I wonder now if in my soul I knew that one day I would say goodbye at an airport and it would be the last time that I would ever see him alive. He held me as he told me that he loved me. Then he said the words that would resonate with me in our forever. He put his hands gently on my face and looked into my eyes saying, “don’t look at this as goodbye, an ending, look at it as a beginning.” It was those words that would play over and over in my mind at various times during our relationship.  Those are the words that still do.

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