It was supposed to be a quick, easy trip last week. Out on Sunday, back on Wednesday. I took Jeff to the airport as part of a small gaggle of guys who needed to get back to the airport (which, I might add, is a story in its own right). Back on Wednesday, we figured.Except that, as business trips are wont to do, things changed. Wednesday became Thursday, which became a cross-country flight home on Friday so that he could put his affairs in order to pick up a flight back on Monday, with the understanding that this trip might be as long as 14 days.
It is Wednesday evening. He is still there. As of today we now know that Jeff will need to stay for a third week.
The quiet has been—aching. Leaden. In my adult years, I have moved four hundred miles from the place of my birth only to recreate the same sort of home life I had growing up: quiet little binary stars that revolve around each other. While I've always loved my peace and quiet, I did not realize how much I have taken for granted in the past seven years that the peace and quiet could be stopped merely by walking into another room and saying, "Hey, Jeff, got a sec?"
So he is there, and I am here. Edmund, the chubby-but-airheaded cat, doesn't really understand what is different about this week, and doesn't really care. As long as he is fed and gets his ears scratched occasionally, life is good. Tenzing, however, has surprised me; since Jeff flew off and away, he has paced this house, restless and meowing, trying to figure out what it is that he is missing so much. He may not be the most affectionate of cats, but his house is neither complete nor right without Jeff, and he wants things back to normal.
So here we are, ten days after Jeff's original departure, and I am faced with a new and intriguing question, one of the best questions I've had to ask myself in a long time:
"If you were suddenly given the opportunity to spend five days in San Francisco, five days in which you would be completely on your own, what would you do?"
A small question, but one whose answers will likely be indicative of my life. This trip - albeit not 100% confirmed, but whose tickets are hopefully being booked tonight by a kind co-worker of Jeff's with frequent flyer miles to burn - is a gift. The kind of gift you can't possibly anticipate or prepare for. I have no trip budget, virtually no knowledge of the city, no guidebooks, no maps … just the knowledge that as of Saturday afternoon, I'm likely going to be there.