Two years ago yesterday, I sat outside Bella Napoli's waiting for Michael to show up for our first date. I was early. I am always early. Any way, I sat on a bench texting with Chad to kill the time when suddenly the very last thing I wanted to do in the whole world was meet this man for dinner. I sat there and thought "I could just leave. I could leave and he'd never know the difference." I sent a text to Chad that read "I think I've made a terrible mistake.", but Michael showed up before Chad could reply. Suddenly, there he was introducing himself and I had no other choice but to reach out and shake his hand in greeting. Yes. I shook his hand in that "hello pleased to meet you" kind of way. Then we had a nice dinner followed by a walk around the neighborhood. He kissed me with my scooter helmet half on my head before we parted ways.
That was just two years ago. If I think about it too hard I fall into a time warp of how has it only been two years and it's only been two years. Then my brain explodes over how it's even possible that so much and so little has happened in my almost forty years of life. Just a few days ago a bubble of grief welled up inside me so fast, all I could do was just sit down and cry. Which I did. I'm getting baggies of ashes together for traveling. That's become the summer thing. Pack Chris up and leave him somewhere. Dingle Peninsula. Statue of Liberty. Mount Rushmore. This summer it will be the beach, some where in Chattanooga, and Portland. It's the Portland trip that conjures the most ghosts. And this explains the bubble. This was followed up with a grin over something Michael texted that day (he hates the word "texted"). My life has become a great big mish mesh of deep grief and blinding joy. I am not complaining. Even though there are times when it all is a bit too sharp and bright.
Monday night, Michael stood in the kitchen doorway as I washed dishes from dinner. He said he was going to the gas station and then asked if I needed ice cream. I thought about this for a minute and what ice cream choices I'd have from the gas station. "Maybe an ice cream sandwich or a Klondike Bar, because they're the same thing." There was a pause as Michael looked at me and then he said "Klondike Bars and Ice cream sandwiches are not the same thing." So then we debated the differences for five minutes where I was sure that a Klondike Bar was an ice cream sandwich and Michael was like "no way it is totally not an ice cream sandwich." Finally Michael said "I'm bringing you back a Klondike Bar." And you guys? It turns out I have never in my life eaten a Klondike Bar before now. My whole life I've been eating ice cream sandwiches thinking they were just like Klondike Bars. I thought Mom just got the box of generic ice cream sandwiches because it was cheaper than getting the name brand fancy Klondike Bars. No. It's because Dad liked ice cream sandwiches, not vanilla ice cream coated in delicious hard shell chocolate.
Michael's the one who insists I get that T-shirt with R2D2 on the front and that sundress that reminds us both of the 4th of July. He is always amazed that I am so smart, yet I still buy chairs that are too big for the space intended and I cannot open a package of any sorts. He stops when I hesitate and waits until I'm ready whether it be for taking a picture or writing something down. I feel like he's been part of my life for more than two years and I don't mean that in a negative way. He's made it easy to lose track of the quantity of time and only notice the quality of time.
And he knows the difference between an ice cream sandwich and a Klondike Bar. Happy Love Thursday!