Friday, June 29, 2012

How I Met Your Father


Of course, I'm way overdue on those Cali blogs but they require more work and photoshopping than I've had time to do lately.  Coming soon to a blog near you.  Promise.  

As I prepare to leave and visit Jason in Houston, it brings me back to another time I flew to see Jason.  It was, oh, about 12 years ago.  This is one of those stories that defines "us".  I think it's worth at least the boys knowing it.  
Jason and I had been dating for about 5 months.  I was in college at Auburn and he was at West Point.  We had decided after flirting over the last year or so that we should try out this long distance relationship stuff.  What did we have to loose?  
I had actually met him about a year earlier.  I was introduced to him by our mutual friend Jack.  Yes, Jack as in the namesake of our first child.  Jack was his best friend from high school. He was also a great friend of mine in the shoals before my move to Auburn.  He told me once, "I wish you could meet my best friend Jason, I think you guys would be perfect together!"  I said I was totally game and then he said, "well, he's in New York."  Yeah, right.  This girl has hardly ever left Alabama, much less ever seen New York!  But after a few phone calls and a chance meeting on Spring Break in PCB we were an exclusive couple.  

Jason had booked (and paid for on cadet salary of $300 a month) me a flight to visit him in New York.  I was flying from Atlanta to Newark and he would pick me up there.    I was aware that there would be a delay in him picking me up; he had to rent a car to get me. 
I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of seeing him again.  I was also feeling pretty important to be getting on a flight alone.  Previous to this, I had never traveled anywhere alone in my whole life.  I had never even touched foot outside of the 4 states that border Alabama.  True story. My parents were also unaware of my travel plans.  My roommates knew but I had a good feeling that my parents would have prevented me from flying to another state ALONE to meet a guy that they had yet to meet due to his location.  Its funny now, knowing how much they love him but then, I’m not so sure they were his biggest fans.  I can’t blame them.  It was our understanding that he was going to meet me at the food court nearest my gate.  This was pre-9/11 flying when your party could come straight to the gate to meet you!  My flight was uneventful and I got my baggage and headed back upstairs dragging it behind me.  I sat and waited for a while, studied some A&P from my summer classes and waited more.  I fully understood that he had to attend the USMA graduation ceremony, get out of post, rent a car then drive 45 minutes to the airport.  After a while, I got a little bit worried so I pulled out the calling card and used the payphone to dial up his cadet room phone.  Much to my dismay, all the cadet phones had been discontinued because it was cadet summer.  So, I had no way to get in touch with him.  I waited patiently for another few hours before I really began to get worried. 
I dared to wonder if he’d changed his mind and didn’t want to pick up that girl he’d been dating from Alabama and decided to stand me up in the airport.  I began to think I’d flown to New York for nothing.  As I wandered around the airport, I must have looked worried.  I had several concerned Middle Eastern taxi drivers offer, “where he live?  I take you there.”  To which I had to politely decline because other that at West Point, I had no idea where he lived.  I had resigned myself to the ultimate stand up of all times.  I broke down and called my roommates in AU.  I requested they get online and find out how to book me a flight home.  I would call them back when they could figure it out.  Obviously, this was a pre-“everyone has a cell phone” age.  I was in college and had an emergency only phone provided by the parents that didn’t know I was there.  I waited much longer than I had told my roommates in hopes that something would change, that he would show up for me after all.  As I wandered around dragging 2 weeks worth of wardrobe, I began to cry at my stupidity.  How could I fly somewhere and never even leave the airport? 
My despair caught the eye of many but one guy in particular was short but had a very crew cut hairstyle.  I knew it wasn’t Jason but maybe he knew Jason, knew how I could find him.  I soon realized he was walking toward me and as he approached he asked “Are you Jamie?”  He knew me?!  I said yes and before I could say another word, he said Jason has been looking for you everywhere! 
He was?  He was here?  He didn’t stand me up?  About that time, I see him round the corner and a knowing smile spread across his face.  He knew I was upset but I’m pretty sure the discontent disappeared with one hug and kiss.  It turns out, he had left graduation but with traffic, a ride to the rental car place and difficulty renting a car to a kid under age 25, he’d been longer than he expected.  My frustration faded as I finally made the call to my roommates and told them that I had in fact been picked up.  I think they were still a bit skeptical of him but knew I was in love. 
We spent the rest of the evening at Palisades Mall outside NYC.  Our first stop?  To get Jason his first cell phone so there would never again be any miscommunications to that effect. 

Here’s to the happily ever after!

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