It was early the next morning when we head to the airport watching the city fade away through the cab windows. My entire being was conflicted with joy of going home and seeing Jake and battled with the knowledge that I was leaving France behind. Instead of the constant anguish and anger that I felt at the airport last time (on our way to France) was replaced with sadness and joy. Our last moments in France and on the plane flew by. We were home. The second our plane hit the ground my phone was in my hand and powering on. My phone had no time to even recognize it was on and connected to service and I was texting Jake.
Hey baby! You’re back!
I’m back. How are you?
I’m good. How are you? How was your trip?
It was good. I missed you so much. I can’t wait to see you.
Want to come over tonight?
Yes! I have to go get our luggage. I’ll text you when we are in the car. I love you.
I love you too.
“Texting Jake?” I heard my mom question me from the left.
“Yes, just telling him we are home.” I didn’t mention that we were already making plans and for this evening because I wasn’t sure how that would go and wanted to time it perfectly.
My mom was obviously missing France but was anxious to get home and be done traveling. Our luggage arrived with our plane this time and before we knew it we were on our way home and I was trying to plan how to ask her if I could go to Jake’s house tonight.
It had been about 30 minutes and we were slowly approaching home and I needed to ask my mom about going to Jake’s house. Jake and I had been texting each other the entire car ride talking about me coming over for dinner, how Jack was doing, and what time he should pick me up. Plans were set, but I still didn’t have the permission to go.
I kept trying to find the perfect moment to ask her if I could go to Jake’s but she kept talking about going home, unpacking, ordering pizza and watching movies. She kept talking about how we didn’t have to act like the vacation ended. I was about to pop her bubble but didn’t know how to do it without upsetting her. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the trip or enjoy myself, but I was home now and I wanted to see Jake.
Home kept getting closer as Jake and I kept texting and my mom kept talking. Finally, mom asked, “Are you talking to Jake?”
“Yes.” Was now the moment to ask? I thought.
“I bet he missed you.” I saw her smile.
“I think so.” I said while smiling and trying to hide it.
“Does he want to see you?” I paused, since when did my mom become a mind reader?
“Uh. Yeah. He uh. Well.. he… he wants me to come over.”
“I’m exhausted, I don’t think I’ll even be able to unpack tonight. What time does he want you to come over?”
“In about an hour. He can pick me up.”
“That should give you enough time to get the airplane and travel smell off of you. You should take the camera to show him pictures.”
“So, I can tell him I’ll go?”
“Yeah as long as your home by curfew.”
My fingers typed furiously. Although I spent most of my time at his house, my mom still wasn’t always receptive to the idea. In fact she was often angry and sad that I was leaving the house. This felt like a one-time-moment.
It took no time for us to get home and me to get ready. I didn’t look my best, but at least I didn’t smell like an airplane anymore. I saw headlights through the window and my heart skipped a beat. Jake was pulling in the driveway in his perfect Ford Truck. It was silver with a red line on the tailgate. The interior had two bucket seats in the front with a bench seat in the back. It was a manual transmission with the gear stick separating the front two seats. The entire interior was red and the seats were cloth. It was wonderfully old and just screamed Jake. With my heart in my throat I started walking to the door as I saw him walk out of his car and towards the front door. I met him at the door with a big kiss and hug as I slunk into his arms and soaked up his scent. God I missed him. My mom called from the kitchen, “Be home by curfew. Have fun.” I hollered my goodbye back to her and walked to the truck hand in hand with Jake.
I didn’t realize how much I had been scared that he would forget about me, or cheat on me, or decide he didn’t love me. I couldn’t take it if he had and being back in his car and hearing him talk to me put this part of me at ease. He had said it would be ok and it was. It seemed to me to be a miracle that I could be treated this way.
We made it to his house and he came and helped me out of the truck. Asking questions about the trip and everything we saw. I was filling him giving him a play by play of every night as we walked into his house. The second I entered my nose was filled with the smell of a home cooked dinner and his family was coming over to hug me and asking about my trip. I was fighting back tears at the sight of them and the amount of love I was being showered with. Being at his home was always like being part of a perfect sitcom loving family in the Twilight Zone to me and I loved them so much and had missed this whole environment so much that I was fighting back tears.
“Sit. Sit. Dinner’s ready!” Jake’s mom said.
We all sat around the table while she gave us all a helping of an amazing meal. Immediately they were all interested in my trip and what I had done and saw. I was sharing everything and passing around my mom’s camera for them to see pictures of the trip. Everyone was fascinated with my stories of architecture, art, and the experiences I had. They laughed when I told them how we had separated at the Louvre thinking we only a short amount of time to see everything and were amused at our getting lost in circles adventure. When I shared the moments we didn’t get along, his whole family listened and told me how loved I was and gave excuses for the behavior like, jet lag, exhaustion, trying to make everything perfect, missing my brother, they shared everything they could to make me feel better.
It wasn’t just Jake that showed me love, it was his whole family. Every moment with them felt like a giant hug that part of me had been missing.