There’s something about living in the house that you grew up in that’s unexplainable.
It’s amazing and wonderful and poignant all at the same time.
It’s like you are living in the middle of a chapter, and yet? You can see all the chapters that have gone before.
Each room has a thousand stories.
Each room has a thousand steps.
And sometimes? Every so often?
You open a door.
And right then.
In the middle of an ordinary day, something happens that reminds you of all the steps you have taken before.
Last Thursday, I had an argument with my husband.
It was over nothing.
It was silly.
But as most silly, ridiculous arguments over nothing go sometimes. It started small and ended with frustration and hurt feelings and he left for work without it being resolved. My husband is a hospital pharmacist and he’d been called in for extra shifts and he’s been working a lot lately and as soon as he walked out the door?
I realized I was wrong.
And I missed him.
I stared at the door as tears welled up in my eyes. And in that moment? I remembered something.
I remembered those same steps with those same tears staring at that same door all those years ago.
The day he left for boot camp.
I stood at this exact door and hugged him tight and wished him well and waved good-bye and told him to have a wonderful life and I thought I would never see him again.
He was nice and sweet and kind with twinkling brown eyes, but you see my friend…
….I had big plans.
I was 21 and single with a prairie skirt and high heels with lace socks.
Watch out world.
And as he walked through that door, he turned back before he got into the truck and waved. Then he smiled the smile I knew so well and his eyes twinkled one last time for me….
…and my heart gave a little leap.
But I ignored it.
I didn’t have time for distractions or boot camps or sailors or twinkling eyes.
I had plans.
So my plans and my prairie skirt and I returned to college. We clicked our high-heeled-lace-sock-pumps together and scheduled dates and parties and tail-gating events and barbeques and moonlit walks by the river.
And it was fun.
For a while.
Until I heard a joke or a funny story or had a fashion emergency or received an A on a test or came up with a brilliant idea…..
….that only a pair of twinkling eyes would understand.
I tried to ignore it.
I tried to shake it off.
I tried to remember my plans.
But I couldn’t.
So I distracted myself with long phone calls to my mother and brownie fudge sundaes and episodes of Oprah.
Bless my heart.
And somewhere between 27 bites of chocolate and the Phil Donahue show and Oprah lugging in a giant wagon full of lard…..
….I fell in love.
I fell in love with a sailor.
Who I had already said good-bye to.
Who I had just broken up with.
Who at the present moment was halfway across the country at boot camp without a single solitary means of communication.
There wasn’t a cell phone or e-mail or internet or any way to tell someone that you were silly and you had totally changed your mind and you never wanted to be away from them again and you were totally, absolutely, positively 100%…..
……in love with them.
Weeks went by and then one day the phone rang.
A pair of brown eyes twinkled from the payphone at the other end. He told me he had waited an hour in line at boot camp and he only had five minutes and he knew I was probably busy….
…but he missed me.
The girl with the big plans.
I said nothing.
I wanted to but I was sobbing.
So my heart spoke for me.
And right then on a cold gray February morning on a payphone with a tender note in his voice, a twinkling eyed sailor told a girl he loved her…..
…..and she told him she loved him right back.
PS Five minutes after this door closed?
My phone rang.
It was my husband.
He called to tell me he missed me and I told him I was wrong and what was I thinking and that I was sorry and silly and ridiculous.
And that when he walked back through this door tonight?
I’d be there.
Just like all those years ago.
Waiting with open arms. 🙂