We are mid-air on an excursion that began at 4 this morning. I got up, put on the clothes folded neatly beside my bed, brushed and flossed, straighened my bangs, reheated the last cup of yesterday's coffee. I put on several layers of concealer, plenty of mascara, a good swipe of lipgloss, and then I tucked my cosmetic bag into my suitcase. It was 4:35 a.m. by then and time to wake up Lil E.
He was cold, he said, coccooned in his blanket in the pitch dark room cluttered with chapter books and Legos and quarter=treasures and a 6-foot cardboard Chewbacca overseeing them all.
But five minutes later he was dressed and had his backpack on and was sitting patiently on the couch. His bedhead ws outrageous, and he was smiling.
This trip is our farewell to San Francisco. It's Lil E's first time there and could be my last for a long time. But what we are saying goodbye to is the time that has been, to the nearly three years that I have known and loved a man who has lived 2,100 miles away. In a month, the Not Boyfriend will be living in our city.
I am arriving to be at the Not Boyfriend's send-off barbecue in Crissy Field, to feel the protective arms of the Golden Gate Bridge stretch over me as we drive it one more time, to eat the most amazing fried Brussels sprouts at B Star again, to breathe in fresh air from open windows to curb the nausea while the car speeds up and down hilly streets. I will share a last round of complaints about the winter weather in August and skirt the shady side of the street in search of small stretches of sun where I can find them. I will see my friends -- the ones who I have seen on nearly every visit I've made to SF, those who I've somehow missed, and those who I have not seen enough even though I have made myself at home only blocks from their apartments when I've chosen to stay under covers and undercover with my love.
For Lil E, this last time will mean many firsts. Visiting Alcatraz, bouncing through House of Air, a streetcar ride, seeing the bridges in person, finally meeting the children of some of my favorite blogging friends.
And he will see where the Not Boyfriend has made his home all this time. This might be the most important reason for this trip -- so that Lil E can grasp how far the Not Boyfriend and I have come, and how far he will go next month for us. I want him to feel a part of it, to get what the mileage means.
Of course, this won't be the last time the three of us are in San Francisco. Business will always be bringing me back to the area. And the Not Boyfriend's friends and their babies will be here. I like to think that the Not Boyfriend and I will come back often enough so he still feels at home in the fog and at the bars and running his favorite paths by the bay.
I like to envision the two of us walking hand in hand there, pointing out the hotel lobby where we first kissed, the restaurants where we loved to cozy up to the bar and share entrees and bottles of wine, the Ferry Building farmers market where we sat on the sidewalk and ate scrambled eggs anddrank persnickety Blue Bottle coffee (he, a soy capp and me, a skim latte).
I hope one day when we are old and moving slower, we will take our time over these landmarks where we dared to let a crazy, far-off kind of love make its home in each of our frenetic lives.
For now, we will try this city out, the three of us together, an inaugural experience, a send-off that will propel us back to Chicago and on to a new adventure.
The goodbye to this city will really only be a "see you later". The farewell to the life and times is something much bigger that's only a few weeks and a final few-thousand miles away.
Need the backstory on our love story?