I remember the first time you went home for Thanksgiving. We’d only been dating a few months but you had already become the most important thing in my life, the most valuable. We made plans. In my room I kept a little stuffed mouse you’d given me, and when I was sad, or things at home were just too much, it comforted me to stroke his fur. It was like a small piece of you to have with me all the time (and I have it still).
So when you had to leave, I was upset. I hadn’t been apart from you for that long before, and I’d really been excited at the prospect of having a real boyfriend during a holiday. I knew it was silly, even trite. But I couldn’t help it. For me, nothing had lasted more than a month or two before you. I’d never had that experience, of being able to share those times with a man who meant something to me. I grudgingly accepted that I’d just have to wait a while longer, and asked you to call me as soon as your plane arrived. You took off.
And then, I don’t know why, I became convinced that you were about to be in an accident. Sometimes I get a gut feeling that something is about to happen, and it does. And sometimes I get a gut feeling and it turns out to be a paranoid fantasy. Usually, it’s the latter. So I sat in my kitchen by the phone, worrying and waiting. If I knew any better I could have looked up the airline and just checked on the flight status from time to time. But I didn’t know any better, and even if I had, I still would have been sick over it until you landed.
A dozen scenarios played out in my mind. The nose of the plane dipping into the runway, sending it cartwheeling down the black strip. The engines bursting into flames mid-air, for no good reason (Can that even happen?). It was before September 11th, otherwise I’m sure there would have been at least three hijackers involved. In any case, the result was losing the most precious person in the world. I cried. I cried thinking that after all that bullshit I’d finally found The One, and that he was about to be taken away. My savior, my future, my heart. My long-awaited Knight.
As it happened, your plane did not crash into an ocean (even though you weren’t flying over one). It was not attacked by gremlins. Lighting, hurricanes, and flocks of errant birds were all absent. Your flight landed safely and, although it was some time later than I’d expected, you called me. I don’t know if you remember that phone call, and to be honest I can’t recall whether I shared with you how anxious I’d been. Part of me thinks I wouldn’t have, because letting someone know how much it would mean to lose them is dangerous; it gives them so much power. But part of me remembers that I was different then, that I wasn’t so afraid. Maybe I did tell you. I don’t know. I do know I didn’t always express how much you meant to me, when I had the chance. I think a part of me was always waiting for the crash.