Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Much is Said of the First Kiss. What About the Last Kiss?

It was early. Too early. The orange glow of the street light backlit the windows and Greg's eyes squinted as they adjusted to the bright overhead light within the bedroom.

"Time to go," whispered Andrew as sped into the bathroom to make a last minute change to his cologne selection. He carefully placed the glass bottle into his Dopp kit and zipped it closed.

"I'm up!" Greg replied as he slid on a pair of jeans that had been crumpled in a pile beside the bed. Just where he had stepped out of them the night before. As he buttoned them, he walked into the other room to find socks and a sweatshirt. He trudged down the stairs, still blinking sleep from his eyes, yawning. Rounding the corner into the kitchen, he observed Andrew zipping up his large rectangular rolling luggage, jacket and boots already on.

The boots were a surprise and focused Greg's mind on the purpose of his early arousal. Normally Andrew wore sandals at all times when leaving the house. Not even the cold of winter could change his footwear. Only severe weather like cold rain or snow would necessitate closed shoes. Although the ground was clear outside, Andrew was going to visit family back in the Northeast who warned him that there were already inches of snow coating the ground. More was to be expected during his visit.

Greg had grabbed his jacket from the den and was working on lacing up his sneakers as Andrew packed a few prescription and vitamin bottles into the outer pocket of his carry-on bag. The pair prepared in a comfortable silence. Neither were very good at goodbyes, even for short separations such as this. Greg found his keys next to the plant pot on the dining room table and opened the front door allowing a luggage laden Andrew to stumble through.

Six short days and Andrew would be back home. Greg would be working two of those days and his head was full of errands to keep the other few days busy. He needed to go to the bank to deposit those checks, visit his little brother, go to the post office to mail presents back east to his own family, and there was always cleaning to be down around the house. He wanted to have everything in order so he could sneak extra time with Andrew in the days leading up to Christmas. He had taken some vacation time and wanted to spend as much of it as he could with his boyfriend without two work schedules conspiring to keep them apart.

Greg locked the front door and Andrew waited patiently at the passenger side of the silver Subaru. Running down the footpath and around the front of the car, Greg unlocked the car doors and climbed in to warm it up. Andrew piled his luggage into the back seat, shut the door, and descended into the passenger seat.

"You have everything?" Greg cautioned.

"Umm...yes!" smiled Andrew confidently.

"Ok," and the car pulled away from the curb and drove down to the end of their quiet street.

Another quiet street brought them to the main road. Two lights later and they were turning onto the highway. The airport was only ten minutes away from that point. Only a few cars dotted the six lanes. Still early.

"How am I going to survive six days alone with me family? How?"

"You will be fine! You will be busy enough trying to visit friends as well. It will fly by before you know it."

"Why can't you come with me? Please?! I need a mom buffer!"

"It's a little late for that, kiddo." laughed Greg. "But I really do wish I was coming with you if only to save myself from being alone for the next week."

Andrew sighed as his mind settled into the commitment of traveling to see his family, alone.

"You're flying Southwest, right?"

The car pulled off the exit which led to the departure curb. Andrew confirmed the airline and they slowed as other travelers jockeyed their cars into prime unloading position in front of them. They stopped at the first crosswalk to allow people walking from the parking garage and buses to wheel their luggage past on their way to the ticket desks. A brief break in the passenger parade allowed Greg to ease over the speed bump. Andrew pointed to an open space along the curb.

"Right here is fine, don't worry about pulling right up to the sign," travel tension apparent in his voice.

Greg signaled and pulled up to the curb. He parked the car and looked over at Andrew. The large revolving door spun behind his head and passengers and airport staff walked briskly past in both directions. Bags were being unloaded from the black SUV behind their Subaru and hazard lights flashed golden from the red compact in front. The world around them buzzed as their eyes locked, both smiling weakly.

"Bye," whispered Andrew.

"Remember, you can do it. It's only six days. Bye," Greg said as he leaned across the car, pulling Andrew's head to him with his right hand.

Noses grazed and lips met, lingered, parted.

Andrew's hand immediately flung open the door and he leaped out in one fluid motion. The front door closed as the rear opened and out slid one bag, another, from the back seat. Slam. Tiny waves of hands exchanged through the glass. As Andrew turned to leave, Greg signaled and watched for his chance to reenter the traffic flow. A white sedan let him pull away from the curb. He paused almost immediately to let an elderly couple cross the road to the revolving doors, then eased onto the road that took him away from the airport and back to the dark highway home.

1 comment:

Jen Taylor said...

This is such a beautiful slice of life story. Also quite heart-wrenching.