I was so worried that something would happen before I went to ruin my trip. Like a work emergency. Or some gross physical ailment like a cold sore. Or getting my period. Or a bladder infection. Or hemorrhoids flare-up. Or getting a bad sniffling cold with a cough. Or breaking my leg. Or my flight being cancelled. Or my dad dying. But the fates were kind!
Day 1 – Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I woke up feeling fine, finished all the prep and was raring to go. I even felt like it was good hair day, my dark tresses cascading down my back in just right way! I thanked my lucky stars that I had the coiffure I’d rocked as a teenager. I’d had a number of hairstyles over the years but was back to the same look he remembered. I was as ready as possible to go meet Phil again!
I wore a casual work outfit – blue print top and silk scarf, dark blue dress pants, dark sweater and comfortable shoes – that made me look like a professional traveling on business. My husband drove me to the airport, and dropped me off with a cheery wave. There was no line at security. The security regulations requiring “fluids in little bottles in a plastic bag,” and “take your shoes off” and full body scan were new since I’d flown six years ago, but I made it through with ease. I bought bottled water and sat fidgeting at the gate, scoping out the crowd and listening to the CNN news blaring from the monitor slanting down from the ceiling. We boarded on time. I had a window seat.
My JetBlue flight down to Dulles was easy. They know how to make passengers happy! It was beautiful clear October day and I entertained myself watching the foliage and other scenery miles below as we made our way down the Eastern seaboard. I chatted with the passenger in the aisle seat – a lady scientist headed to an NIH conference. Without giving many details, I admitted to her that I was meeting my high school sweetheart for the first time in forever, and that I was very nervous. She giggled and patted my arm, telling me I gave her a good first impression so she had a great feeling about how it would work out. We arrived a little early, about 5:00 pm.
Phil had agreed to meet me at the baggage claim area. As I got off the plane, I was so nervous I forgot where they said we should go to get luggage, so I was puzzling over that as I took the train to the escalators and cleared the secure area.
I saw him before he saw me. I was so relieved to see him, standing against a pillar just outside the security checkpoint, checking his phone, looking around anxiously, dressed in a football fleece and jeans. I knew who he was right away. I had studied the photos he texted me, and the ones on Facebook. He looked up as the crowd pushed toward him and when he saw me, his smile lit up his entire face and he rushed toward me.
The first hug was amazing! We fit together just as I remembered – I felt the old chemistry immediately. He looked much better in person! I had the urge to stay in his arms forever, but he let go after about 5 seconds and started chatting nervously, asking about the flight. His voice was even sexier in person! He tried to take my rolling suitcase, but I didn’t let him. I wanted to show him I am strong and independent – my own person, not some girl to be taken care of. But he looked like he needed something to do, so I relented and gave him my laptop computer bag.
We walked side by side out to his car – a modest sedan. I hoped to grab him or have him do something there, but he kept his distance as he stowed my bags in the trunk. He opened my door and pointed me into the passenger seat, and closed the door quickly. I put on my seat belt as he got settled, and turned to him, but he started the car, rolling out of the short term lot without a glance at me. I could not take my eyes off him. He’s gorgeous! Beautiful thick head of hair, muscular shoulders, trim figure… yummy. He had lost weight since many of the photos online were taken. I started to tingle all over!
He watched the road and didn’t do anything but chat as the car inched through rush hour highway traffic for over an hour as we made our way to the district. I twitched in my seat, desperate to touch him, but not wanting to initiate anything without some sign from him. He drove down through the center of D.C. past the monuments and the Capitol while he waxed poetical about the majesty of the historic architecture and how you should see where you are visiting. I told him about my last trip to D.C. on business many years ago. I loved the scenery but squirmed with the effort of not touching him. It took every ounce of control not to grab him at every stop light! I stared at him, hoping he would turn my way and give some indication of his feelings….but he didn’t.
We talked easily, but I grew more and more convinced that he was disappointed in my appearance and didn’t feel the chemistry. I was so sad I was right that he would not be interested in me in any way beyond friendship. I was very curious as to where we were going to dinner, but decided not to question him, to stay in the moment and go with the flow, trusting him to make the decisions. I was resigned to a platonic visit and concentrated on making conversation.