Colorado #5: soft sequence

I had my seat belt unbuckled before we even came to a stop, safety be damned. I grabbed my books, yawned, and all but tumbled off the plane. I was halfway through the jetway when the altitude caught up with me. Denver air will do that, sapping your muscles of energy while your brain still thinks there should be more in the tank.My tank was empty. It had been for twelve days. All I had to do was fall forward onto the motorized walkways, keep falling forward into the inter-concourse trains and hope that I ended up ass somewhere near teakettle on the escalators to baggage claim.

I blessed the DIA motorized walkways. I bobbed and weaved while standing still, concentrating on breathing while the world scrolled by. Plans, beautiful plans, all scrubbed when I didn't see you when I took the last escalator up. I began to walk in the direction of baggage claim, figuring that I would see you there. I stopped to rearrange my belongings in my arms, travel penguin clutched in my arms, when the first familiar voice I'd heard in a few hours chuckled behind me and said, "It works better if you don't walk in the opposite direction from me."

There you were. Behind me, all the time.

Fall forward, into the car. "I got you a snack," you said. Even before I looked at the drink in my hand, I knew you would have remembered: Code Red, a legacy of previous trips, and the same drink I had every time.

Somewhere along I-25, the road sang me to sleep.

I awakened in time to walk in with you to the theatre to pick up Jake, who wasn't out front waiting for us like I expected. We asked for him, and the drone up front placed the radio to her mouth and said, "Mr. Theisen? There are two people to see you out front."

I expected the hug, but not its vehemence.

We unpacked my bag in the new apartment, and when you tapped the light switch, the purple lights I'd made for you began to glow in soft sequence. The futon was as I remembered, despite being in a new apartment, and Jake's white blanket held the comforting swaddle of previous Januaries spent curled up with ice cream and conversation in apartments past.

You insisted, rightly, on my taking my medication. Tussionex plus Lunesta guaranteed virtually immediate sleep. My last memory of that night was a soft hand stroking my hair back from my forehead, and gentle words in the dark: "You're here. You're really here."