I can actually feel the joy washing over my brain. like waves crashing onto a beach as the tide comes in.

It’s a physical sensation.

From the moment I hung up the phone, my heart has been pounding and my brain is awash in so much joy I cannot really remember every thing we said.

What I can remember, as I am still experiencing it, is this feeling of joy.

Everything I hoped he felt, he did.

Everything I hoped he heard, he did.

Everything I hoped he said to me, he did.

And over the course of 28 minutes, I realized . . . we’re in a relationship, and it’s serious.

For four weeks, I have envisioned what it would be like to have the Bon Vivant back in town, I have thought about how we left things, and I have been riddled with insecurity and self-doubt.

To cope, and in response to conversations we had before he left, I made significant life changes.

I knew he was coming home this weekend, but he had not called me. I was devastated, but tried to deal with it. Last night, walking to a party for my friend S’s birthday at the CHB, I glanced up, and saw his lights were on in his living room. I never look. Never. But I did, and I was devastated.

I had decided I would not call him until today when I would call to confirm whether he would be my plus one for this foodie party on Monday.

Today, I called him around 1. No answer. I called him around 7. No answer. I shot him a text that was polite and asking if he’d be joining me.

At 10, my phone rang.

He started by making fun of me and my need to always be super-polite to the point of ridiculousness.

He wanted to tell me real stuff, and, as always, until I read where his head is, I am giving him warm, but not loving responses.  And he mocks me.

And he is right.

I correct within a minute and switch from friend into girlfriend mode.

He told me how hard it had been. What a disaster.

He said, “[Planner], you are so beautiful, and I wasted four weeks of my life away from you for nothing.”

He told me it was worse than I knew, that his father had him on “suicide control.”  (Dad is a psychotherapist.)

He is not yet in town.  Rather, he’s not in town at the moment. He had flown back last night and then got up the next morning and drove to a city 90 miles away to see one of his best friends, who was speaking at a conference, and that friend’s wife and son.  He had been the best man at their wedding, and he felt he needed to go, despite the fact he’d just come back. They did touristy stuff, and I howled with laughter as he described a particular artifact as obviously fake, as it looked bedazzled: “there is no way [famous war hero from the 1800s] wore a bedazzled vest!”

I still don’t hear part of what he is trying to say to me, which slowly develops.

I don’t realize that the reason he’s upset that he’s out of town, is because he hasn’t seen me yet.

He asks: “did you miss me?”

I answered him completely honestly.

I’ve been calling him pet names throughout our conversation and he drifts into them also.  We rarely call each other sweetheart or darling, but this conversation is filled with terms of affection, and we mean them.  They are not just a lazy trope.

They are all of these ways we are building up to realizing and remembering . . . this is real, this is serious.

So I answer him yes, I’ve missed you with enough palpable emotion that it shifts the rest of the conversation.  It’s no longer me, nervously interpreting what he is saying, looking for signs, as he’s trying to figure out why I am being standoffish.  Now it’s us, from inside our relationship, readily expressing that we genuinely have missed each other, that we love each other, and that we cannot wait to see each other.

Everything I have been feeling since he left, every sign I thought I saw, every expression of emotion of love or pain from him was real.

Granted, this is a man who sings love songs to me, so it’s not as though he often hides his feelings from me, but everything I thought I saw and heard and read was true.  And I doubted myself over and over, and I drove myself crazy with insecurity, and it was all true.

He hates that he was gone — in part — because it kept him from me.

He’s mad that this horrible thing kept us apart.

“I have this beautiful, beautiful lady, and I can’t be with her because I am here, doing this shit.”

He is sitting at a hotel bar, I think.  It’s quiet but I can hear voices in the background.  Early on, I try to give him the out of “I don’t want to keep you from your friends,” but he tells me firmly, there is no rush and he wants to talk to me.

He despises talking on the phone.

But we have a leisurely chat.

Halfway through, he tells me: “on that Monday, when we went to [restaurant] across from our place, and we were sitting outside, and you told me how excited you were to see the man I would be when I got back in a month . . . that meant the world to me.”

I told him how much I found that conversation inspiring, and that I’ve made significant changes I couldn’t wait to share with him. He tells me he’s not ready to hear them yet, which is very honest.  He’s humbled that I find inspiration in him.

He mentions late in the conversation that his friends live in [a Southern city]: “. . . you know what that’s close to, right?” Our escape plan. It’s close to our “fuck it, let’s just get in the car and leave and find a little apartment and little jobs and live” escape plan.  The one we almost executed in November.  When I am stressed beyond stressed, I think of that small town we each love.  I think, I can go there, and work in a coffee shop.

We know we are going at some point.  It’s our place.  It is as significant to me as it is to him, and I understand the import of what he is saying.

We speak the same language in the same code and everything I think he ignores or forgets . . . he’s just as in this as I am.  Maybe more.

We are similar in so many ways.


We are beyond excited to see each other.  It’s almost a mantra.

I ask when he’s back in the afternoon.  He thinks three and says somewhat sadly, “but you won’t be there.” I tell him, I will be there.  Call me when you’re leaving and I will be at your building when you arrive.  I tell him I will be there.

For the past couple of weeks, I have thought about walking up to him in his building’s lobby and wrapping my arms around him and never letting go.  And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

He asks if I will do a specific sex act, I laugh and tell him, of course.

He rarely mentions sex to me, but, as he’s been gone for a month, it’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about for days.  I don’t tell him that, but I am happy to know it’s on his mind.

I tell him that were he here in town, I’d be doing it right now.

He promises he will call me in the morning — knowing he is notorious for never calling.

He repeats a few times that he’s sorry he’s gone because he needs to be with me, but this was important.  And it was.  I totally understand, but I miss him so much.  He misses me and I can hear in his voice just how much . . . and just how hard this physical separation has been.

The very end of the conversation is us making plans, and then he tells me “I love you.”  A few times.  It’s how we leave the conversation as well: he finally has to run, and rather than say goodbye, he says “I love you.”  I tell him, I love you too, sweetheart, and I will see you tomorrow.

And I will.

I hang up, and I feel my pulse everywhere and I am crying tears of joy.

It takes me more than an hour to begin to even put thoughts into words.  All I can hear is his voice, telling me that I am beautiful, that he misses me, that he loves me.