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August 9, 1998

Parting with Ghosts

The morning dawned beautifully, and I woke up a bit when I heard sounds downstairs, snugged John warmly and then wandered down with my pillows, which have a t-shirt on 'em to keep 'em from being blue. I laughed when I found Mark curled up on the couch again, starting yet another episode of Buffy. I think the boy is utterly hooked. Yes.

So I plopped sleepily by him and then he laughed and said if it might not be better to just curl up in bed than out there. So we went back to his bed and just snuggled up close and warm. Yum.

Couldn't quite sleep, as the sunlight was so bright, but we could just be for a while. Quiet, nothing to do and no where we had to be for the moment. Slowly waking up in ways that made it much easier to wake up. Eventually we started talking through the plans for the day. We had to get him to the airport by 1:30 or 2 p.m. for his three o' clock flight and so we worked back from there. Leaving from the house at about 1 p.m., packing sometime before then, breakfast sometime before noon or else the good places would be really crowded. It was about 10 a.m. already. Could we fit in a Buffy episode?

I finally said that he could borrow the tapes, if he wanted to, as John and I weren't getting to them very quickly. He said he'd like to, and so that was set up. Eventually we managed to get up, get showered and then meet at the car to get breakfast. Breakfast was a little bit of an adventure, as I'd been thinking of the 12th St. Cafe, but they were so crowded they had a dozen people waiting outside. But on the way there I'd seen that Lombardi's had a nearly empty parking lot. They'd had great food for Mother's Day, but they service had been painfully slow because they'd been painfully overcrowded. They were nearly empty that morning.

So the two of us parked ourselves out in the sunshine, on the patio, and ordered breakfast. The lady was really fast, prompt and loved my hair. That was really cool. So we just sat and talked. Movies, philosophies, thoughts, and the gentle art of quiet conversation. It was very keen, and so completely different than my old expectations. Nice to have those things blown out of the water.

The food was absolutely excellent, not that I could finish it all, and the plates were laden with gorgeous, bright, and completely fresh and ripe fruit as well as the entres ordered. Yum. It was really, really good.

So that was fun, and we went back to the house to have Mark finish packing, and John was swearing at a nest of ants he'd found in a board under the door by the kitchen. Probably why we'd had ants in the house so frequently, so it was good that he found them, but they'd eaten right through the board and had nested there for the winter, likely. He was pulling the board out, spraying the nest, dirty and sweaty and happy that he was fixing such an obvious problem with the house, and about to put a new board into the messed up board's place. We said bye.

Then, as we walked out the door, Mark said, "I want to give John a hug." And he walked to the back and did so, and John laughed because he was so ooky, but was pretty happy about the extra effort. That was really cool.

Traffic wasn't too bad getting to the airport, but I'd forgotten just how balky the Stoat can be about freeways and running any faster than a certain speed is kinda a fight. We got there, a bit before 2 p.m. and the traffic to the metered parking had me remembering John's hour-long fight to get some parking when he'd come to pick me up before. Not good thoughts to have.

But we got into a parking space in reasonable time, and then got to the security gate, which had really, really long lines, and I jittered in line as we had to wait. I am sometimes bad at waiting. We got to the gate in plenty of time, and then joined the line for checking in at the desk. Just talking and waiting, occasionally linking hands.

When he was checked in we found a water fountain to drink at, and then settled down to sit by a wall until they started boarding. It was stark contrast to past good-byes. No tears, no angst, no terror, no desolation, no desperation. It was simply friends saying good-bye for a while. It was normal. It was friendly, and there was the small possibility that we'd see each other again, when he got sent back to Seattle to follow up on his Microsoft projects. But I'm not sure it mattered.

On the drive home, after breakfast, I'd told him about how the tiramisu no longer gave me a painful reminder of him, and he asked if it was because I'd finally gotten closure. I said that I'd tried to make closure for myself, all those years ago, and had attained some measure of peace. But I thought about it and nodded, yeah, it had given me closure on the past. Ending something and putting it away, finally, as definitely the past, definitely different, definitely something that no longer was anymore. Gave it an ending that wasn't painful anymore. Perhaps an ending that enabled other beginnings, but, certainly, an ending.

When his row's section was called, we hugged tight and then said good-bye and after I made sure which line he was in, I walked off, back to the car, just kinda grinning and half singing to myself.

Old ghosts laid to rest, indeed.

When I got back home, there was still a bit of shade to the back of the house, where John was working, so I asked him if he wanted to go to Theno's when the sun broke through the trees and he could use a break from the heat. He said, sure, but that he wanted to finish a few more things before then.

I thought about writing, but then picked up the PlayStation control and started playing Crash Bandicoot. I'd watched both John and Raven play through a bunch of the levels, and after seeing what they'd gotten through, I was pretty quickly able to do the levels, faster than I thought I'd be able to. I hit two bonus save rounds and got through a good half a dozen levels in about an hour. By the time John was finished with the stuff outside, my hands were sore enough for me to decide to quit.

What was cool next was that John was so tired that I got to drive us around. Yay! Usually John drives, but after a weekend of driving Mark around, I was in the habit of driving, and that was very fine indeed. So I drove us out to Theno's and we had ice cream in the parking lot with kids oggling my hair and the Stoat and it was marvelous, cool and creamy fun.

I like sharing food with John, it's always a fun adventure and we both get a lot out of it. The next thing we did was go to Larry's Market and wander about and get really keen food things. I had thought about doing a mushroom lasagna, but after not finding either the fresh lasagna noodles or the various cheeses I'd been thinking of or the mushrooms of all the kinds I wanted, it was a write-off. I had most of the things I needed for a penne bake, though, so I just got a big chunk of Italian spicy sausage and a bunch of very Larry-type gourmet items. Part of it was that we had a slew of freezer baguettes and they needed eating. So we bought some really ripe tomatos, a bucket of fresh mozarella in water, and looked for a bunch of basil, but they didn't have any.

So on the way home, we stopped by a Safeway and picked up garlic and a small bunch of fresh basil. I love tomatos, fresh mozarella and basil with a bit of olive oil served with good bread, so was planning on doing that for lunch the next day.

Once home, John decided to finish off what he needed to finish off, and I cooked a huge pot of tomato sauce, using the browned sausage as a base. Then cooked the penne and layered noodles, sauce, and ricotta with an egg and parsley beaten into it, with shredded mozarella. Then baked the whole mass until it was bubbling and hot and the cheese browned and melted. Yum. We ate it with some bread and salad and then watched another episode of the Iron Chef.

It was good to settle back into our daily lives, and so much better with the peace that the rest of the weekend had brought. It's good to go on living when the past is finally settled back into the past.

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