When I first met R, I was happy being single. I avoided anything near committment because of a failed marriage that had ended horribly. So I dated.
But on the night we met, I was just hanging out with friends. We had gone to the Carol of Lights on the Texas Tech campus and decided to hit a bar -- one of those trendy upscale yuppie bars of the 80s. I ran into a friend who knew someone I was with, and that person happened to be with R. As the evening progressed, R and I started a conversation. It was a mutually, unspoken switching of dates as the evening wore on. R gave me a ride home, and asked for my number. Could he call? Sure. What time? Time? I'd never exactly had a guy ask me what time he could call. How about 2 p.m.? Sure, he said.
The next day friends and I hung around my apartment because I had told them about the guy I'd met the night before who had asked what time he could call. He called. 2 p.m. on the dot.
On our second official date, we were in the car heading to a restaurant for dinner. He started talking, telling me that he had been single for a long time, and never thought he would meet the girl he knew he would want to spend the rest of his life with. Wow. I thought. He's giving me the old kiss off, BEFORE dinner. Uh, not exactly. R was talking about me. I freaked. I want to go home, I said. He took me home, but kept calling every day.
I'd tell my friends to answer the phone. I'd been introduced to R by his first name. So I instructed my friends to tell him I was not there. He called and said, this is R. My friend gave me the phone. He was charming. We went out again. And again, and again. We got married four months after we met. That was more than 23 years ago.
The only time we've been apart was when he was in the Air Force. The last year of active duty, he was gone almost a whole year, stateside, to Germany, to Saudi Arabia. When he came back, he left the military and we went to Mizzou. We took classes together, we worked together, we hung out. We still do that. We both work at the same place, we go on all trips together.
Except this week he took a solo trip for the campaign. He's in Iowa. He left Monday. We'll meet up again Tuesday in Chicago. I'm counting the days, hours and minutes.
His absence has left a vacuum in my daily life. He called me this morning as soon as he woke up. He still sounded groggy from sleep. Hey, he said. I just wanted to hear your voice. It made me happy and sad at the same time.
I miss my buddy, my love, my best friend. Can't wait til Tuesday.
Liberating Plankton, part 1
6 days ago