|Beach walk on the rocky shores of Maine. October 2012.|
This post is from January, 2009. My third date with the man who loves me. As I sit at his bedside, the pondering of the past five years is one of my comforts.
"I gave San Francisco to a woman," my ride from the airport says. I like it that he understands what I mean when I tell him I've had trouble being in L.A. "It's a problem when a freeway exit sign represents a person and the experiences you've had with that person," he says. He really gets it, I think as the 110 curves through downtown. "There's Mr. Ex's building," I say as the damn thing looms over us in the urban glow like a monolith that maybe has a mind of its own and just might want to tip over right now and crush us. He looks over at me and nods. This guy isn't a taxi driver. He's a Match. com guy and the ride from the airport is date #3. We've been emailing the whole while I've been away--not obsessively--just very few days or so and I like him even better than I did when I left. But the only thing I know about where our relationship is headed is simply that he's giving me a ride home from the airport. One date at a time. It's all I can manage.
I panicked in the jetway. What if I didn't recognize him? That last time I saw him, we'd sat in the dark at a dance concert. What if he didn't recognize me? Airport fluorescent isn't my best look. What if he recognized me and pretended he didn't and walked away? But when the escalator delivered me to the hallway outside of baggage claim he was there at the bottom--pretending to hold up a sign.
I had a fantasy for months after the marriage ended. Whenever I came back from a trip, I'd imagine Mr. Ex had changed his mind and there he was at the airport waiting for me. He was holding a sign and it said, Take Me Back or I'm Your Vehicle, Baby, a line from a Chicago song he'd always quote if he gave me a ride somewhere. Mr. Ex never showed up.
But now here I am in a car with a guy that did show up and we're driving through my past in the City of Angels.