Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Love You So Much...Laura (Part Two)

Two weeks of multiple daily emails turned in to two weeks of multiple daily phone calls. I was, for lack of a better descriptor, floating on cloud nine, and then one day, it happened. Pete asked me to visit him. That's when I came crashing back down to earth. What if he didn't find me attractive anymore? Nine years had passed, for Chrissakes. What if we had nothing to talk about in person? What if he gained fifty pounds and lost all of his hair? Should I risk it? In the end, I decided to suck it up, and I said "What the hell. Why not?"

Since graduating college, Pete had moved to a tiny town in southern Illinois. He'd taken a job in community development and quickly became a big fish in a very small pond. He had made a handful of close friends, enjoyed his career immensely, and decided to make his home in "Smallville." He wanted me to see what kind of life he had made for himself. So, I boarded the Amtrak and made the four hour journey from Chicago.

I was nervous on the train, so I spent most of my time in the bar car. When I wasn't downing Heinekens, I was in the bathroom applying and re-applying my makeup. When we were allowed to hop off & stretch our legs, I chain-smoked three cigarettes in five minutes. I was sure I was making a huge mistake.

When my stop came, I nearly puked, and I was barely able to walk. I managed to get off the train, and I made the long walk up to the station. When I got to the entry door, I only had to look around for a few seconds. There he was, right in front of me - my big high school crush - and he was grinning from ear-to-ear at ME.

It was all cliche romance movie moments from that point forward...

He ran towards her, arms open for the impending embrace. She drops her luggage and throws her arms around his neck. Instinctively, one of her leg lifts, bent at the knee behind her, shoe dangling from her toe...

We spent a wonderful weekend together. Correction, we spent several months of wonderful weekends together. I met all of his friends at the Bearclaw Lounge that first night, and I'd never felt so welcome. Kevin & Jess, who have since married, Tubs, the bartender, Laura, the nurse and many, many more. Pete showered me with attention and allowed me in to every aspect of his life. And the sex? Don't get me started. I was one happy, happy girl.

As I spent more time in Pete's town, Laura and I, in particular, became very close. She was sweet and funny, and so similar to me in tastes and personality that I was certain she and I were practically soul mates. Pete thought so highly of her, and he was constantly trying to set her up with his friends and business associates.

I saw a future for the first time in a very long time. A home, good friends, dinner parties, and hell, maybe even a few kids. My life, it seemed, had finally started to fall in to place. And then, Pete said 3 more perfect words:

"I love you."

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