J. travels for work and is away most days of the week. His time at home is determined by whether or not some manufacturing company needs their pollution control system repaired and so...impossible to predict. In my previous lives, time alone meant time to relax and recover and the time to do the things *I* wanted to do. There was never enough time alone.
Now, y'all know I keep busy with all my work and activities, but I find myself in uncharted territory. I genuinely miss him when he's gone. Things are fine in the big picture, but the need for that missing hug or laugh isn't entirely met by reading a book or stitching on something.
This summer there have been some especially long stretches apart, with time at home limited to a bunch of hurried home repairs or trips to buy more house paint. The day after he put in a new kitchen sink, J. watched nature shows all day and said, "I just need a day, you know?"
And I understood what he meant. We needed to have some fun. The last six months have been about hemorraging cash, I've been trying to stick around the house, work, and basically...do nothing. No meals out with friends in DC, no travel, no art classes. So, for the first time in a good long while, I rode along with J. to his job in Columbus, Ohio.
It's been fun. We rented a car to make the drive. Some kind of big, American thing with leather seats and XM Radio. It would be a six hour drive, point-to-point. We'd pass through Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Western Pennsylvania and then Ohio all in one afternoon. As we crossed the state line into West Virginia I told J. that it was my first time in that famous state of Deliverance. He looked over and put his hand on my knee, "I'm glad it was with me, baby."
Lots of good time for talking. I asked him a whole bunch of stupid, hypothetical girl questions like, "If we had met in Winchester and were just dating, what kind of dates would you take me on?" (Because we never really "dated," 20 years ago or now) I can't remember what all he said but he told me that on a first date he'd just ask me out for coffee. Cool. I love coffee.
So, we pull over in Cumberland, Maryland at Burger King for restroom break. It was kind of a weird town. Cumberland has seen better days - economically speaking - and the folks who are left behind are well...kind of odd. In a geographically isolated way.
So, we're sitting in our rental car in the Burger King parking lot when this dude walks by. And there is something not right about him in an Of Mice and Men kind of way. He's a little too big; his belly is oddly distended; his arms seem to hang a little too far. And sure enough? When he walks by the car, he lifts up both his monkey arms, hinging up at the elbows and flaps his hands at us. At just that moment, we are backing up the car and we're so gobsmacked by this guy that J. slams the rear end of the car into a light pole.
We check it and drive away but as we drive, we realize it's more than just a scrape. The car is not just scratched, it's f*cked up. It squeals and jerks and wobbles and people seem to be giving us a pretty wide berth, which suggests that all that squalling is also throwing off a few sparks. It isn't safe to drive. Long story short - two hours later, we have loaded all my vegan food, art supplies, work computer, and papers plus all of John's tools, computer, and suitcase into another rental and we're back on the road to Ohio. (Today, we're a little more relaxed knowing that his work has insurance that will handle this. Awesome)
Also awesome. Last night? We kinda went on a date right here in Columbus, Ohio. I worked all day in the hotel room and then when he finished up, we went out together. For fun, like. In the car on the way to the [vegan-friendly] Starliner Diner, I told him he was being a sport about all this vegan stuff, and I really appreciated it. And this is what he said,
"Baby, you're trying to do something for yourself, and I am glad to be supportive of that. Just like I know if I wanted to do something you would try and support me. I would have gone to that other place and eaten the all vegetable earth food and been glad to do it."
Which may not seem like anything to you, but it was a big deal for me to hear. I don't think I've *ever* had that and I know he genuinely meant it. So I'd appreciate a moment of silence in honor of that.
I enjoyed my grilled veggie cheeseless pizza at the Starliner and J. liked his steak burrito with black beans and rice. Dinner and drinks for two: $23. Can't beat that. After dinner, he took me to Jack's Aquarium and Pets. I told him, "You know, I'm pretty much a sure thing. You don't have to take me to a pet store." But it was really fun. It was Old School, family-owned, and you could reach in and pet everything. Score!
I liked these sparkly goldfish.
Just trying to capture the cute-ness.