Thursday, December 1, 2005

Ink: Prologue

By Jen

I pull my bags behind me as I board the airport train to Newark. The warm heat blasting through the car is a welcoming change from the gust of wind that pushes me along, whipping my long hair all over my face. Brushing the strands away from my eyes, I spot an empty row and settle in by the window.

The Jersey Shore townships fly past the window, their colors a fiery sunset. I'll be the first to admit that fall in any other part of the country pales in comparison to the foliage in the Northeast. All the beautiful shades of gold, red and orange burst against the crisp fall sky, almost to the point of sensory overload.

All that beauty is wasted on me today. My mind focuses on one thing.

I'm going to see Jason tomorrow.

Six years since I walked out his door, I still remember every vivid detail as if it were yesterday.
I close my eyes and try to imagine what he could look like today. Is he still as breathtaking as the day we met? Would my body still react so intensely to his touch, his mere presence placing every fiber of my being on high alert? Could he still take me to those amazing places -- the physical and emotional heights no one else knew to find?

How different would this story be if I hadn’t let everything unravel?

It took me months to get over Jason. Saying it's the hardest thing I've ever had to go through doesn't even begin to cover it. Looking back, though, Jason didn’t make most of the mistakes.  I caused far more damage to the relationship than he ever could.

I’m an international flight attendant, but these days I only fly about two trips a month, when Spencer stays with his dad. I could never say that marrying Michael was a mistake; having my son made every one of those days worth it. In the end, though, it took too much effort to force feelings that clearly didn’t exist.

In Michael, I’d found the sweetness and safety I thought I needed -- so different from the six-month rollercoaster ride I’d had with Jason. But safety won’t sustain a relationship. Not with me.

Still, I'm in the best place I've been emotionally in a long time. Most women don’t fantasize about being 33 years old and divorced with a child, but we’ve carved out a peaceable life, just blocks from each other on a quiet stretch of the Jersey Shore.

And yet...

No thing living on the water has taught me -  you can’t appreciate the ocean’s calm without a few crashing waves.

It's not like Jason hasn't been on my mind the last six years. On better days, I manage to push him to the back of my mind, just an occasional passing thought.

But other days it would weigh so heavy on me, every turn a reminder of our time together, that I'd even find it hard to breathe.

So it isn't the least bit surprising that the last two days have evoked such powerful emotions, giving me that final push I so desperately needed.

I want Jason back in my life.

It only took a few keystrokes to start this journey. I found myself staring at the faculty page of a village school, just outside London.  A proud smile spread across my face seeing Jason’s name and photo captioned “Head Coach, Rugby.” He’s running his own program now, just like he always dreamed.

Seeing him in person could not be logistically simpler -- or emotionally more complicated.

I could just pick up the phone, but he could hang up on me. I considered showing up at his house, but he could have moved. He could be living with a woman.

So I’ll work the London flight tonight, then take the safest (and most nerve-wracking) option: show up at his school. Who knows how he’ll respond?

No matter what happens, though, I know I’ll walk away happier. If I find out that he's married or in a relationship, at least I get the closure I've desperately longed for. At least I can walk away knowing I did everything in my power to change the ending of this story.

The steady motion of the train soothes me. I'm too wired to sleep, but I still put my head against the window and close my eyes, letting my memory take me back to the day our paths first crossed.

I remember how I sat on his lap in my hotel room, running my fingers up his neck into his soft blond hair. Electricity rippled through my body the first time he pressed his soft, full lips to mine. Just thinking of those moments gives me a secret, pulsating throb deep inside.

Once, long ago, I had passion in my life: fervor, desire.

It’s lain dormant for so long. But I know it’s still there.

I can deny my feelings all I want. I know I have to lay my cards on the table, betting all I have on one last chance that they’ll erupt with as much heat as they had before.

1 comment:

  1. Really great writing! I can't wait to read more, and it's nice to read something mentioning the Jersey Shore.. that's where I'm from :)