I spent 6 non-stop days with Mr. Darcy and fell even more in love with him.
That’s the mark of a solid relationship. We, thankfully, are excellent travel companions. He handles my pre-travel freak outs with compassionate consideration. And I? Bring snacks so he doesn’t go hungry. What? Snacks are important! Hungry travelers trapped on a cross-country flight are dangerous. They should security scan for it.
Getting from Seattle to Philadelphia is a looooooong flight. My butt fell asleep. Around the 8th hour of travel I started to go a little batshitcrazy from being cooped up. I took extra time in the lavatory just so I could stand up and stretch my legs. I never once fell asleep on the flights. But of course Mr. Darcy did. As evidenced in our previous travels, my boyfriend is one good sleeper.
We shared a double bed at his parents house. If that’s not togetherness I don’t know what is. It was also one of those beds where if he moved, I moved. But there were no cats to wake us up at 5am so I slept past 8am most mornings. Hallelujah! He wasn’t kidding when he told me that he grew up in the country. Man oh man there are a lot of trees (and corn!). And when we arrived past midnight that first day of our trip, the crickets were loudly welcoming us as were the stars. Without streetlights, they brightly twinkled hello.
I adore his parents. They are such wonderful people- his mom making me a pot of Earl Grey tea that they got on a trip to London and his dad regaling me with story after story of their ancestors. I am certain I was told a story with every single photo hanging in the house (that’s a lot). And when that tour was over? He brought out these big scrolls of paper that showed the family tree. Upon our departure he made me write down my full name, date of birth and where I was born because he’s adding me to the tree.
I think he likes me.
Maybe because when he hugged Mr. Darcy good-bye he told him, “She’s a keeper.” And his mom whispered, “Don’t screw this up!” then asked me if there are any special dishes I like at Thanksgiving.
Throughout the trip though, I felt more and more close to Mr. Darcy. Maybe it was being embraced into his family by his parents or so welcomed by his closest friends. Maybe it was seeing his dorky little self in childhood photos and glimpsing the man I love in the child he once was. A little boy who made a makeshift motorcycle out of couch cushions, wearing big gloves and sunglasses, pretending to be one of the officers from CHiPs. Maybe it was how happy he was to introduce me to the most important people to him or to show me around the neighborhoods he used to live. Maybe it was attending the wedding of two of my dearest friends, seeing how happy they are together and in turn, how happy they are for us.
I was sitting with the groom for a brief moment of quiet togetherness amidst the clamor of the reception. We talked about their honeymoon and the wedding and how, WOW, here we are all these years later him getting married and me with someone special. We’ve traveled a long distance from that time we were a couple and I was falling apart and he was trying to keep me together. Not just in miles- me to Seattle, him to North Carolina- but in emotional distance. And yet here I am at his wedding, crying as he exchanges vows with someone so perfect for him. He asked me about Mr. Darcy moving in. He knows this is a leap of faith for me, a mark of the depth of my feeling. He was, after all, the last man I fathomed doing that with. I shook my head a bit in amazement and said to him, “I’m going to marry him.” I know this deep down inside myself as an unwavering truth. Then I got all teary and we hugged because holy shit! we’ve both found our person.
So maybe it was all of those experiences rolled into one big amazing feeling. Or maybe it was dancing with Mr. Darcy, laughing and smiling and quietly planning our future together while Frank Sinatra crooned. I think my father would have approved.