Wait...I forgot to tell you about my fabulous weekend in Washington with C!

The meetings on Wednesday and Thursday went well other than the fact that the pumps I wore were too tight around my heel and rubbed away part of the skin so that I have an attractive sore now. Otherwise, things went well.

I woke up Friday morning, determined to do a hour and 45 minute walk on the treadmill. I got dressed, brought my CD player and cell phone, and headed down to the gym. To my horror and annoyance, some guy was just starting his time on the treadmill when I walked into the gym! I was going to hit the elliptical when I realized that the marathon training schedule really requires walking, not aerobic equivalent, so I opted to head outside instead. Across the street from the hotel (and the intervening strip mall restaurants) was a mega mall, so I decided to walk a few laps around that, avoiding traffic and all that mess. As I stepped outside, I was hit by air colder than anything I've ever felt on my exposed skin. (I later checked the temperature on weather.com and it said that it was 40 degrees at that point of the day. I believe it.) I didn't bring anything except shorts and tshirts to work out in, so that's what I was wearing. Additionally, I'd left my hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen in the room because I was going to be in the gym where I wouldn't need them. Grump, grump, grump! I did about 48 minutes before retreating to the warmth of the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Yow!

After breakfast, showering, and checking out of the hotel, I headed over to the mall again, this time by car, to search for some warmer clothes. I brought nothing but short skirts and short sleeved shirts, so I needed a few long sleeved shirts and long trousers for the weekend in DC. I found some neat Land's End stuff at Sears (not a place I'd normally shop!) and then hit the highway for Reagan National Airport in DC.

I was noshing at the CPK (California Pizza Kitchen, for the uninitiated) when C called to say that his flight had landed early, so I was sitting at my table when he walked around the corner from the security desk. I cannot even tell you what it felt like to see him, to see his face light up with a huge smile when he spotted me. He actually stopped in his tracks, as though just looking at me was all he could manage. Quite a welcome, all in all. He came over to me, we hugged tightly, and then he sat down to order lunch.

When your relationship usually consists of phone calls and the occasional online chat with webcam, to sit next to someone and just talk about what they should order for lunch becomes almost sacred. It's as though I needed to memorize every second because I knew that they wouldn't last and that I would be alone in the big, scary world again after his plane left on Sunday. The mundane elevated to the sublime. You'd have had to be there to understand, so just trust me on this one.

So, what did we do with our (nearly) two days together? Not a whole lot, to be honest. The weather was a little inhospitable and I was really tired after the meetings, so we spent a lot of time together, talking and laughing, and showing our love for each other in ways both obvious and imperceptible. We went for a drive around DC, I saw National Cathedral, which I've always wanted to see, and we ate all of our meals at our hotel. The thing that I remembered, again, is that it just doesn't matter so much what we do together, it's the together that matters. Furthermore, C isn't one of my superficial, obsessed with appearances acquaintances who is impressed with the size of the restaurant's wine list or the snootiness of the wait staff, so going somewhere "impressive" just isn't important.

Waking next to his warm, somnolent body on Sunday was bittersweet. I drank in every part of the moment that I could before I had to get up, repack all of my junk, and shower. I waited as long as possible to wake C, both to let him rest, and because I didn't want the bubble to burst, but he was, eventually, roused and made ready, and we set off for Baltimore. I kept hearing this little voice inside me saying, "please don't leave me...come home with me and make me happy forever" and I wanted to say it out loud but I knew that it wouldn't be fair to either of us to do so. I went through the well known routine of travel, which kept me focused on those things I know how to do: return the rental car, go to the ticket counter, check in and turn in luggage, stand in line for security, walk to the gate. It wasn't until we got to the gate (his was 16, mine was 10, so we sat at 12, which was in between) that the pain became more than I could bear. I cried just a little before I spotted my co worker MJ and her boyfriend, L. They, too, were on my flight home, and joined us where we were sitting. I introduced them to C, which really made me feel a lot better, as though we would be a little more "real" if people around me knew him.

When they called his row, we walked slowly to his gate and I let slip, "please don't go..." as tears started sliding down my face. I knew it was unfair, and I knew there wasn't any response he could make, and I said it anyway. As he slipped away from me, walking down the hallway to the jetway, the tears flowed freely until I couldn't see him anymore. I cried silently for a few seconds, then wiped my eyes and walked back to my seat. Thank goodness MJ and L were waiting for me, because I had to pull myself together.

Now, it just feels like a dream, a wonderful, beautiful dream. He's back at work, calling me on his lunch break, and I'm here waiting to go home, and it's as if it never happened. Except, of course, for the wonderful memories of his smile, his laugh, and the way his hand felt in mine.


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